The Newton Boys: Portrait of an Outlaw Gang

The Newton Boys: Portrait of an Outlaw Gang

by Willis Newton, Joe Newton

Misdeeds of early 20th-century bank and train robbers. Now a major motion picture starring Matthew McConaughley, Ethan Hawke and Julia Margulies. See more details below


Misdeeds of early 20th-century bank and train robbers. Now a major motion picture starring Matthew McConaughley, Ethan Hawke and Julia Margulies.

Editorial Reviews

". . . fascinating social history . . . the publisher deserves praise for allowing "social outcasts" to recount their lives and perceptions in their own words."
— Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Texas Monthly
"The book is a rollicking read and even more quirky than the film version of the Newtons' story."
Brock Sledge
"Some of the richest Western history in existence has come from the books of State House Press . . . I'd like to add The Newton Boys to that long and splendid list."
The Book World
Review of Texas Books
". . . this book would make a nice addition to public and academic libraries and to collections focusing on oral history, sociology, and criminology."-
Midwest Book Review
". . . history and autobiography in a compelling format."
Texas Books in Review
". . . lively narrative enhanced by photos . . . solid oral history."
Neshoba Democrat
"A good book. More than that. A fine book."
Books of the Southwest
"Compelling, sometimes hilarious, reading."
The Dallas Morning News
"Oral history at its best."-
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Roaring '20s-era bank robbers Willis and Joe Newton were the subject of a 1976 documentary film by Stanush and Middleton; this oral history--based, they say, on the same interviews--offers an unusual portrait of Texas and the Southwest, especially because of the brothers' belief in the essential corruption of business and government institutions. The book, dominated by older brother Willis, is unwieldly, but should interest Texas history buffs. ``We wasn't thugs like Bonnie and Clyde . . . we was just quiet businessmen,'' declares Willis of the four-brother gang; he goes on to explain how his initial false imprisonment on a theft charge led him to disregard the law. Joe, on the other hand, ``was kind of following the leader.'' In 1924, after many successes, the gang's $3 million Illinois train robbery led to their capture. Amid the book's wealth of detail about their movements and tactics emerges some homespun wisdom; Willis declares that prisons are more schools for crime than for reform. Willis died in 1979 at 90, and Joe died in 1989 at 88; the informative epilogue indicates that some more authorial interpolation might have made for a smoother read. Photos not seen by PW. (Feb.)

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Product Details

State House Press
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Read an Excerpt

From the book: "Bonnie and Clyde was just silly kids bound to get themselves killed. We wasn't at all like them. We wasn't thugs. All we wanted was the money, just like doctors, lawyers and other businessmen. Robbing banks and trains was our way of getting it. That was our business." (Willis Newton)

What People are saying about this

Austin American Statesman
"a fascinating look into the minds of two early 20th century outlaws . . . an entertaining read and compelling social document."

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