This is the real story of Bonnie and Clyde and their troubled times, delivered with cinematic sweep by a masterful storyteller.
|Publisher:||Simon & Schuster|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)|
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The Platte City Shootout
N.D. Houser, the owner-operator of the Red Crown Tavern and its adjoining two-cabin motor court, was suspicious from the moment Blanche Barrow walked into his office on July 18 and asked to rent the cabins overnight for a party of three. For one thing, Blanche was wearing her beloved "riding breeches" jodhpurs was the correct fashion term that were skintight across the rear and flared out from the hip to the knee. Pants like that were seldom seen in Platte City, Missouri, and several people who saw Blanche there were still remarking about them decades later. Then she paid the $4 rent in loose change, undoubtedly looted earlier in the day from the cash registers and gum machines at the three service stations in Fort Dodge. Houser took the money and watched as the fellow driving the Ford V-8 pulled up to the cabins, opened the door of the garage between them, and backed his car in. Criminals were notorious for doing that so they could make fast getaways.
Clyde got Bonnie settled in the right-hand cabin. W. D. Jones joined them there as usual. Buck and Blanche took the cabin on the left. Almost as soon as everyone was inside, Clyde sent for Blanche. He gave her more loose change and told her to go over to the tavern and buy five dinners and beer. She was to bring the food back so they could eat in the cabins. Blanche reminded Clyde that they'd just checked in as a party of three. Buying five meals would be a tip-off that there were more of them than that. But Clyde said he didn't care she was to get five dinners, period, and he wanted chicken if they had it. Blanche did as she was told, and as she poured more coins into his palm Houser said he'd have to go back to the cabins with her. He'd forgotten to take down the license number of their car, and it was required information from all their guests. Feeling helpless, Blanche led him back to the right-hand cabin and called for Clyde to come out. He opened the garage door so Houser could jot down the V-8 sedan's license number: Oklahoma 75-782. Clyde didn't think it was an immediate problem as he routinely switched plates on stolen cars. But it should have served as a warning sign that the staff at the Red Crown was especially vigilant. Clyde apparently didn't care. He told his family later that he liked the Red Crown cabins. They had stone and brick walls, which made him feel secure. If they needed to get to their car in a hurry, there was an interior door in Clyde's cabin that opened directly into the garage. Buck and Blanche's cabin didn't have one. They could only go in and out through the front door.
After dinner, everyone went to bed. They slept late on the morning of July 19. When Buck woke up, he told Blanche to go over to the other cabin and see when Clyde, Bonnie, and W.D. would be ready to leave. Clyde said he'd decided they would stay another day. He wanted Blanche to fetch some more food and beer. Clyde felt relaxed about their situation. The cabins were nice. Bonnie needed rest. So Clyde gave Blanche yet another pile of change. After she brought the food, he sent her out to pay Houser $4 for a second night's stay. Blanche wasn't exaggerating in her memoir when she complained about having to run all the gang's errands. Houser took the money and told Blanche she could have a refund if her group decided to leave before nightfall. She thought it was an odd remark, and told Clyde that Houser "was the type that might tell the law we were there if he had the slightest suspicion about us." He was, and he didn't have to go far to do it.
The Barrow Gang had no idea that the Red Crown Tavern served as a gathering place for local cops and the state highway patrol. Two-way radios were still nonexistent for most lawmen in the region, so officers and supervisors would often meet somewhere at mealtimes to exchange messages and receive orders. The Red Crown was a favorite spot because the food was so good. On July 19, Missouri Highway Patrol captain William Baxter and some of his men met there for lunch. Either Houser or one of his employees mentioned to Baxter that the people in the two tourist cabins were acting awfully strange. The woman checking them in said they were a party of three, but she was buying meals for five. Besides paying for everything in loose change and parking backward in the garage the way crooks often did, whoever was in the right-hand cabin had taped paper across the windows to block anybody looking in. Houser described them to Baxter, and also gave him the Ford's license number. Baxter made a note to check the plate, and meanwhile put the cabins under surveillance.
Someone also passed the word about suspicious characters at the Red Crown cabins to Platte County sheriff Holt Coffey. Coffey and Baxter got along well. When they conferred early in the afternoon of the 19th, they concluded it was possible that the four or five people (they weren't entirely sure whether it was three men and two women, or two and two) might be the notorious Barrow Gang. Bonnie Parker was known to be badly injured, and a farmer in Iowa had recently reported finding used bandages at a campsite in the country. That meant the Barrows were probably somewhere in the region why not Platte City?
The Barrows packed BARs, and Coffey worried that his own officers and the members of Baxter's highway patrol only had handguns and a few low-caliber rifles to return fire if it really was the gang and they tried to arrest them. Determined not to be outgunned, he went to see Sheriff Tom Bash, whose Jackson County department had jurisdiction for Kansas City and whose available armaments included machine guns, steel bulletproof shields, tear gas launchers, and armored cars. When Coffey drove over to ask for Bash's help, he didn't get the hoped-for offer of cooperation. As Coffey recalled it later, Bash snarled that he was "getting pretty damn tired of every hick sheriff in the country coming in here telling me they have a bunch of desperadoes holed up and wanting help." When Coffey insisted that they might be able to corner the infamous Barrow Gang, Bash finally agreed to send along a few officers and one armored car. This was an ordinary sedan whose sides had been reinforced with extra metal.
While Coffey pleaded with Bash, Lieutenant Baxter of the highway patrol got a report back on his license check. The number matched the plate on a Ford V-8 stolen on June 26 from a Dr. Fields in Enid, Oklahoma. Clyde, of course, had long since left that vehicle behind, but he foolishly kept the plate and screwed it on the bumper of the V8 he stole outside Fort Dodge on July 18. The Barrow Gang was suspected of the car theft in Enid, so Baxter felt he had more proof that Clyde and his cohorts were holed up in the Red Crown cabins.
By midafternoon, Baxter and Coffey began planning their raid. They knew Blanche had paid for the gang to stay a second night, so they decided to attack well after dark. The lawmen did their best to keep a low profile, but customers at the service station, grocery, and tavern all noticed highway patrolmen and county cops gathering and watching the tourist cabins. Word spread, and it soon seemed as though everyone but the Barrow Gang knew a confrontation was imminent. The newspaper Clyde had taped to his cabin windows to keep people from looking inside also prevented him from seeing what was going on outside.
At some point, either Clyde or Blanche walked to a local drugstore to buy bandages and over-the-counter medical supplies for Bonnie. Witnesses subsequently disagreed about who it was. Apparently, the lawmen let him or her come and go freely, not wanting to alert the rest of the gang and risk letting them escape. The druggist, who'd heard the rumors about criminals being in town, contacted Coffey to tell him about the purchases. The sheriff now felt certain that Bonnie Parker was in one of the Red Crown cabins.
That night in the left-hand cabin, Buck and Blanche talked about what they wanted to do next. Both were ready to leave Clyde, Bonnie, and W.D. They were tired of being bossed around. While Buck shined Blanche's boots, he suggested that they go north to Canada and find an isolated cabin to hide in. Buck thought they could make a living as trappers. Blanche said it would be fine with her anything to get away from the others. Then Blanche walked over to the grocery across the road to buy some soap. When she went inside, she noticed there were quite a few people there, and all of them stopped talking as soon as she entered. While Blanche waited for her purchases, she stepped on a scale and discovered she weighed ninety-one pounds, almost twenty less than she had back in March when Buck was released from prison.
Back in the cabin, Blanche told Buck the people in the store had acted strangely. He suggested that she go tell Clyde about it. Buck added that he thought they'd be fine if they didn't leave until the morning. Clyde told her the same thing. He sent Blanche back to the left-hand cabin, and a few minutes later W.D. followed to say Clyde wanted her to return to the grocery for sandwiches and beer. She refused, so W.D. went. After he got back apparently, W.D. didn't notice anything suspicious going on everyone had some food and then went to bed.
Around 1 a.m. on July 20, Baxter and Coffey gathered their men together. Counting themselves, the highway patrolmen, county cops, and two officers sent by Sheriff Bash of Jackson County in the armored car, the posse numbered thirteen. Coffey's nineteen-year-old son, Clarence, was one of the highway patrolmen, along with Leonard Ellis and Thomas Whitecotton. Whitecotton had rushed from the department office to be there. He was still wearing the fancy seersucker suit and Panama hat he favored for days spent behind a desk instead of out on patrol. Baxter and Coffey had machine guns. They also had thick metal shields that they carried in front of them like medieval knights. The shields were supposed to protect them from even high-caliber bullets.
Coffey and Baxter were in the lead as the posse closed around the cabins. Jackson County officer George Highfill steered the armored car in front of the door of the garage connecting the cabins, effectively blocking the Ford V8 inside. Then he shone the car's lights directly on the left-hand cabin door. Crouching behind their shields, Coffey and Baxter moved forward. Coffey knocked on the door. Blanche jumped out of bed and began pulling on her jodhpurs and boots. Stalling for time, she asked who it was. Coffey yelled, "The sheriff open up!" From the right-hand cabin a man's voice replied, "Just a minute," and then the Barrow Gang started shooting, Clyde and W.D. from the right side and Buck from the left, blasting their bullets at the lawmen right through the cabin doors and windows.
Watching from behind, Clarence Coffey told reporters later that he saw his father "pushed him back like he was hit by a high-pressure hose" as the bullets from the BARs smashed into his metal shield. Baxter was knocked back, too. The high-caliber slugs couldn't penetrate the shields, but their impact was still staggering.
Except for the headlights of the armored car shining on the door of the left-hand cabin, the light in the area in front of the cabins was patchy. All highway patrolmen Whitecotton and Ellis could see were two shadowy figures lurching in front of the cabins while gunfire exploded everywhere. Whitecotton mistakenly thought Sheriff Coffey must be one of the Barrows and yelled to Ellis, "There's one of 'em! Get him!" Ellis, armed with a shotgun, raised his weapon and fired. A bit of buckshot scratched Holt Coffey's neck. Afterward, when Coffey bragged about being shot by the Barrow Gang and living to tell about it, Whitecotton and Ellis decided not to ruin the Platte County sheriff's story by revealing that he'd been hit by friendly fire.
Inside the cabins, Clyde yelled for W.D. to go into the garage through the interior door and start the Ford. Bonnie fished the keys out of Clyde's pocket and tossed them to the teenager. When W.D. had the engine engaged, Clyde yelled for him to pull the garage door open, but the posse was pouring tremendous fire into the cabins and W.D. was too scared to do it. Holding his BAR in one hand, Clyde ran into the garage through the interior door and began pulling the door open himself. W.D. tried to help. As the door rose, they saw the armored car about fifteen feet in front of them blocking the way out. Clyde opened up on the car with his BAR. The car's side armor was supposed to repel any bullets, but Clyde's slammed through, wounding driver George Highfill in both legs. Another bullet smashed the horn button on the steering wheel, and the shrill howl of the horn blended with the gunfire. If Highfill had held his ground, the rest of the posse could have tightened their circle around the cabins and eventually captured the whole gang, but the injured officer astounded both his fellow lawmen and Clyde by easing the much perforated armored car several dozen yards to the right, opening a way for Clyde to drive the V8 straight through the surrounding cops. Both sides realized what was about to happen, and for a few seconds there was no more shooting.
Using the interior door in the right-hand cabin that opened directly into the garage, Bonnie hobbled into the V8. Clyde and W.D. climbed in. But Buck and Blanche had to leave their cabin through the front door to get to the car, and as they slammed the door open and began running for the garage, the posse laid down a high-caliber fusillade. A bullet from Baxter's machine gun struck Buck in the left temple and exited out his forehead, taking away part of his skull and exposing his brain. He dropped between the cabin door and the car.
Ever since she unwillingly joined the gang back in late March, Blanche Barrow repeatedly engaged in whining and other petty behavior. But now she proved she had courage. With bullets flying all around her, Blanche stopped to loop her arm under Buck's waist. Skinny and scared as she was, Blanche still helped Clyde drag Buck into the car while W.D. provided covering fire.
Somewhere behind the cabins, one of the lawmen fired a tear gas rocket that overshot the Ford, sailed across the highway, and exploded next to the service station. Clouds of stinking smoke added to the chaos. Clyde floored the gas pedal of the V8 and drove straight out of the Crown Tavern lot, past Holt Coffey with his metal shield and onto Highway 71. Everyone in the posse was shooting and their bullets smashed into the Ford. In the back seat Blanche was bent over Buck, trying to shield him from further harm. Her face was turned toward the right, and that was the side where most of the posse were standing and firing. One of their bullets struck the car's back window. It exploded. Though her body protected her mortally wounded husband, glass splinters drove straight into both of Blanche's eyes. She screamed, "I can't see," but Clyde had to concentrate on getting them out of there and kept on going, around a sharp corner and then off into the night.
The posse didn't immediately pursue them. The armored car was a sieve. Besides Highfill's wounded legs and Holt Coffey's nicks, several other officers had been injured, though none seriously. The Barrow Gang hadn't added to their body count of lawmen this time. Baxter got to a phone and called in a description of the gang's Ford, which like the Jackson County armored car was riddled with bullet holes. He emphasized that his posse "had a shooting scrape with the Barrow brothers." The lawmen found some pistols and a BAR in one of the cabins, along with syringes and morphine. The latter discoveries sparked rumors that the Barrow Gang were junkies, but the needles and dope were just the last remnants of booty from the doctor's bag Clyde had stolen back in Enid.
While the posse poked about the Red Crown cabins, Clyde was finding it tough to get away from Platte City. He spent several hours lost on backcountry roads. At one point a tire went flat, and the V8 had to bounce along on the rim until Clyde found a suitable place to stop and change it. They encountered several locals but no police. Clyde assured Blanche that despite the glass slivers driven into them, her eyeballs weren't "busted." The right eye was less damaged than the left she could discern light and movement through it, but very little else.
Buck faded in and out of consciousness. Blanche tried to keep her fingers pressed tightly against the hole in his head. The floor by the back seat was soaked with Buck's blood. He asked for water they had none to give him and even in his dire condition Buck tried to comfort Blanche by telling her his head only hurt a little.
At dawn they stopped for gas at a service station north of Kansas City. Clyde told Blanche to cover Buck with a blanket, hoping the attendant wouldn't notice anything was wrong. Apparently he didn't think the man would see dozens of bullet holes in the car. But as soon as the attendant walked over, Buck began vomiting loudly, and the fellow looked in and saw the blood and carnage. Shaken by his brother's condition, Clyde simply drove away, telling Blanche he was sure the attendant would call the Kansas City cops to report seeing them. There was still enough fuel in the tank so that they could keep driving for a while.
Clyde headed north into Iowa with no particular destination in mind. He just wanted to find a place where the gang could rest and get a better idea of everyone's physical condition. Buck was clearly doomed you could look right inside his head but it was hard to tell how much damage had been done to Blanche's eyes. W.D. had suffered some minor wounds in the shootout, and Bonnie was still in terrible shape. They stopped for gas again, and Clyde bought bandages, Mercurochrome, hydrogen peroxide, and aspirin. That was all they had to treat their injuries. They poured the hydrogen peroxide directly into the hole in Buck's skull, and then did their best to wrap his head. A pair of sunglasses helped protect Blanche's eyes. They drove toward Des Moines, pausing occasionally to change the bandages on Buck's head and Bonnie's leg, tossing the soiled ones to the side of the road and not realizing they were leaving a clear trail for pursuers. All day other motorists reported finding used bandages to the police. These Iowa lawmen knew about the shootout the night before Platte City police had issued regional bulletins so they were already on the lookout for the Barrow Gang, with injured Bonnie Parker and now at least one other member badly hurt and bleeding hard.
Late on July 20, just west of Des Moines, Clyde decided they had to stop. They needed rest, food, and to give Buck the chance to die a little more comfortably than he could in the back seat of a car. Staying at a motor court was out there was no way they could check in without someone noticing their pitiful, bloody condition. That meant camping in the country, someplace off the main road where no one would see them. Then, like a miracle, off to the right of the road not far past the town of Dexter there appeared what seemed to be a perfect spot, lush rolling woods bisected by a wide river. Dexfield Park named for its location between the towns of Dexter and Redfield, and ringed by local farms had once been a popular gathering place, opened in 1915 and featuring carnival rides, softball diamonds, a dance hall, a massive swimming pool, and lots of wooded areas for picnicking and camping. But the Depression had left few who could afford admission, and the park closed in early 1933. By the time the Barrow Gang arrived six months later, the abandoned park's green acres still attracted lovers, local berry pickers, and occasional indigent campers. Clyde pulled off the road and drove back into a grove of trees. He used seat cushions from the car to make a bed of sorts for Buck. Clyde, Bonnie, W.D., and a weeping Blanche expected Buck to die any minute. He was suffering greatly. They waited, hoping they were far enough away from cities and prying eyes to be safe, but they weren't.
Copyright 2009 by 24 Words LLC
Table of Contents
1 Henry and Cumie 9
2 The Devil's Back Porch 21
3 Clyde 29
4 Bonnie 44
5 Dumbbells 55
6 The Bloody 'Ham 68
7 Decision 82
The Barrow Gang
8 A Stumbling Start 93
9 Bonnie in Jail 105
10 Murder in Stringtown 114
11 Clyde and Bonnie on the Run 124
12 The Price of Fame 135
13 Raymond and W.D. 144
14 "It Gets Mixed Up" 155
15 The Shootout in Joplin 162
16 Shooting Stars 177
17 Disaster in Wellington, Murder in Arkansas 191
18 The Last Interlude 205
19 The Platte City Shootout 211
20 The Battle of Dexfield Park 220
21 Buck and Blanche 228
22 Struggling to Survive 234
23 The Eastham Breakout 245
24 Harrier 251
25 The New Barrow Gang 259
26 Hamer on the Trail 267
27 The Methvins Make a Deal 272
28 Bloody Easter 278
29 Hamer Forms a Posse 287
30 Another Murder 291
31 The Letters of April 296
32 The Noose Tightens 303
33 Final Meetings 309
34 A New Line of Work 315
35 Haven 320
36 The Beginning of the End 325
37 "Do You Know Any Bank Robbers?" 329
38 The Setup 334
39 The Ambush 338
40 "Well, We Got Them" 342
41 Consequences 351
42 The Legend of Bonnie and Clyde 361
Note on Sources 367
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
You probably have seen the 1967 movie about Bonnie & Clyde, with Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway...this book has their true story, and it shows just how inaccurate the movie itself really was, and how inaccurately the Barrow Gang was being portrayed. Their true story is really much more interesting, and you won't be able to put this book down. I highly recommend this book!
I highly recommend this book to anyone that has an interest in Bonnie and Clyde. It tells the story of how hard life really was in thier era. Minute details of thier lives are brought out as no other book,movie or publicatation I have ever read ( and I have read many ) or saw does. Do not expect some Hollywood version of thier lives here,
The background of the West Dallas slums is interesting, and the research based stories of how the Barrow and Parker families survived the Great Depression is riveting. Readers of true crime histories may be disappointed to find that two of the best known public enemies were simply antisocial outcasts, unwilling to deal with the nationwide events impacting almost everyone, and who were otherwise not special in any way except their desire for glory and propensity to commit violence without conscience. The author debunks much of the common knowledge created by Warren Beaty's 1967 movie, "Bonnie and Clyde."
This book is great. It is written very well and full of facts about Bonnie & Clyde. It's hard to put down. For anyone that is interested in these two people and their life in crime it's a must read! It shows them as human beings that made some really bad decisions.
What a tremendous book. I have become a fan of the writing of Jeff Guinn. His writing style is almost like that of a historical novel. He is meticulous with the facts but spins them into the book in a way that isn't dry. Probably his best talent is his ability to immerse you in the time period and setting that is the focus of the book. I have never been a "true crime" genre fan overall (didn't hate it but just never cared for it either) but this book was fascinating. I came away with a picture of who the real Bonnie and Clyde were. He does it in a way that while not in the slightest apologizing for their behaviour you actuallly like (perhaps too strong a word) or understand how they got to the point they did. I don't give a lot of 5 stars but this one deserves it.
This is a great book providing not only the exploits of two legendary people, but goes in to the socioeconomic structures which prompted the two to take such drastic actions. Whereas the Beatty and Dunaway film takes incredible license with the story and combine different people into one character, the book flushes out the story and gives greater detail as to what happened.
A must read. This book states the true facts and shows what was gossip and fiction about Bonnie & Clyde. Everyone should read this even if you think you already know everything about their story.
Thorough, well-written, detailed study of Clyde and Bonnie, their personalities, relationships, ideals. WOW! Can't say enough good about it. Must read for anyone interested in historic crimes or the people behind them. My entire opinion of these two changed after reading this book; Mr. Guinn even had family members' opinions included, and these alone are surprising. Wow. Loved it.
GO DOWN TOGETHER: THE TRUE, UNTOLD STORY OF BONNIE AND CLYDE by Jeff Guinn is a well researched and thorough account of the lives of this notorious couple. It takes us back to the depression-era Texas and we learn about whom they were and how they became to be what history has portrayed them to be. This book is filled with all the information you ever wanted to know and a few surprises to boot.
I had thought that I knew alot about the Bonnie and Clyde saga, boy was I wrong! I absolutely loved this book. The details about their early lives and the conditions that they lived in were eye opening. It really set up the whole story and helps you understand how two young people could end up as the most wanted criminals in the country. The research in this book is incrediable, to be able to reproduce Clyde and Bonnie's lives on a day to day basis over the few years they were together was amazing. It made me feel like I was right there with them on the back roads of Texas, Oklahoma, etc. I also the liked the pictures that were included in the book, besides the popular ones that everyone uses there were some unique ones that I had never seen before. I would have loved to seen more pictures. I absolutely love true crime books especially ones about the "gangster" types, Dillinger, Capone, etc. This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. Thank you. I will be looking forward to your next effort.
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Mr Guinn and discussing his objective for this book. His goal was to reveal the TRUE story of Bonnie and Clyde instead of retelling the Hollywood version everyone is so familiar with, and he did an excellent job. You can tell he really put effort and research into this book for it is nothing like what I knew-or thought I knew-about the real Bonnie and Clyde. You see them in a whole new light. Though it's honest and straight-forward and not embellished, it is not boring in the least. I was enthralled the whole time. I originally started reading this book because my class required it, but soon found that I thoroughly enjoyed it. I've never had so much fun with a class reading assignment. I'm not a huge fan of nonfiction, but this is an amazing piece of literature, one that everyone should read (especially those interested in individuals like Jessie James, John Dillinger and the likes). Excellent work, Guinn! I can't wait to read your other books.
Fascinating and straight forward are the words I would use to describe this book. The author presents us with the facts, but in a very readable and interesting way. Even though they were criminals and murderers, the author takes you into their minds and why they did it. The author does not make excuses or glamorize their lives. In fact, quite the opposite. These were desperate people who came from desperate conditions. Their life on the run was not romantic and they knew things would not end well for them. They knew they would pay with their lives. It is interesting how the author contrasts these two with the "big" names of the time (Pretty Boy Floyd, John Dillinger). I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys nonfiction / biographies / history.
This book is very well written. It is very informative yet very easy to read. Even if you don't like nonfiction or history type books you will like this one. The author makes a great effort to tell the true story and his research is the best of any B&C book.
This is a masterpiece that even in knowing the ultimate outcome, kept me turning the pages at a fever pitch. Mr. McGuinn's attention to detail is extensive yet never gets bogged down with inconsequential data. This book reads like a Grisham novel but with a realism that captures the essence of the horrible dust bowl/depression era that made me see and understand that desperate people take desperate measures and, in fateful irony towards the end, the duo ultimately find themselves more desperate than when it all began in the festering West Dallas slums. These were not Dillingeresque, professional bankrobbers, but a pair of bungling kids...sleeping in their(stolen)car, pilferring gumball machines and holding up gas stations and grocery stores to live in the bushes. Their only "successful" bank jobs (save 1) were in the last three months of their short lives. Clyde and Bonnie are portayed as very real people...and not what legend, lore and Hollywood have depicted. It was especially profound to me to read how family oriented they truly were..."coming home" whenever they could to give their impoverished families some clothing, gifts for holidays and monies for food. Clyde's character shone through (despite the obvious murders) in his quest to live up to his word and his co-inmate/friends in "bustin 'em outta jail"...a little different today, but I think Mr. McGuinn also showed that times have not changed as much as we think they have....the law and the media create and haunt us. The inhumane prison system created a frightened and angry man who was now capable of ANYTHING before ever being sent back to the "death farm". Families are harrassed and divided and in Clyde's case,he never had a chance at keeping a "decent job" with the "laws" continual presence at his workplace....nowadays it's criminal background and credit checks. Mind your Pees and Qs America...someone is watching and wishing to make a name for themselves. This book is a real eye opener.
I enjoyed this book.. informative and entertaining. I have a better understanding of the duo than I did before. If your looking for a book about Clyde and Bonnie I believe you will not be disapointed with this one!
The late 1920s and 1930s were a unique time for criminals. Law enforcement was still locally controlled and criminals could easily escape by crossing jurisdictional lines, and gangsters like Pretty Boy Floyd and John Dillinger captured the imagination of folks suffering from economic hard times, until they met their end at the hands of a posse. Clyde Barrow was a small-time car thief and robber of gas stations in the slums of West Dallas when he met Bonnie Parker at a party. They instantly formed a relationship that took them through the next several years of robbery, shoot-outs with police, living on the run, and a love/hate relationship with the press until May 23, 1934 when a posse of former Texas Rangers, Dallas police and a Louisiana sheriff ambushed them on a country road outside Shreveport, Louisiana. But the story could never end that simply, and the legend of Bonnie and Clyde grew out of any semblance to reality.Jeff Guinn has put together a well-researched, well-written history of Clyde and Bonnie and the rest of the Barrow gang by going back to the source material and digging into the unpublished stories and interviews given by family members and others involved in the actual events. In doing so, he really clears away the built-up detritus from the efforts of magazines like True Crime, sensationalist books, and wildly inaccurate Hollywood productions that have clouded the actual events. For instance, the Barrow gang wasn't particularly successful as a criminals. Clyde was a pretty good car thief and could drive a mean get-away car, but he never scored more than a few thousand dollars robbing banks and lived hand-to-mouth on the run by robbing country gas stations and grocery stores. Bonnie wasn't the vicious mastermind of the gang portrayed by Faye Dunaway, but was devoted to Clyde and never to anyone's knowledge was an actual participant in a robbery or a killing. As Guinn ably demonstrates, much of what we "know" about Bonnie and Clyde is wrong.Go Down Together is well worth the time to get a sense of what the Depression era - and the gangsters who were so prominent during that time - was really like.
This is the most recent addition to the many bio's of Bonnie and Clyde. The author has done some outstanding research that has added some interesting points to their story that I have not seen before. This is a very readable biography and I look forward to any new books by Jeff Guinn.
This is a comprehensive account of the lives of Bonnie and Clyde. Unfortunately, it's not an especially exciting account, because it turns out the lives Bonnie and Clyde led was anything but exciting. Bonnie and Clyde spent most of their time together stealing cars, committing penny ante robberies and sleeping in their car while fugitives from the law. Rather than being daring bank robbers, they lived more like drifters. The only exciting part of their story was Clyde's amazing ability to elude the authorities when cornered. It turns out that the legend of Bonnie and Clyde is far more exciting than the true untold story.
Go Down Together: the True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde is a new (early 2009) book by Jeff Guinn, a Fort Worth resident. This non-fiction book brings to light almost every detail of Bonnie and Clyde's "adventures."Guinn has a team of what I would call world-class researchers. The details in this book are so specific that you can almost imagine yourself as an eye-witness. Guinn was able to write such a vivid account of Bonnie and Clyde because of "surviving Barrow and Parker family members and collectors of criminal memorabilia who provided Guinn with access to never-before-published material."The reader will get a history lesson of both the Parker and Barrow families, what life was like in West Dallas in the 1920's and 1930's, the strong familial bond Bonnie and Clyde had with their families, and a look into the personalities of Bonnie and Clyde, as well as other members of the Barrow gang and "the laws" that were after them.I enjoyed this book so much that I'm thinking of signing up for the Dallas Historical Society's Running with Bonnie and Clyde tour!
An interesting history of the famous 30s outlaws. Bonnie & Clyde (or Clyde & Bonnie as they were known then) were essentially small time crooks who made a big name for themselves. They robbed many more gas stations, grocery stores and gum ball machines than they did banks. The 30s criminal aristocracy such as Pretty Boy Floyd and John DIllinger were contemptuous of them. Although Clyde could be very violent (he did not hesitate to kill when he felt threatened) he was not a mad dog killer and would frequently give his released hostages travel money to get back home. Readers from the ArkLaTex might be particularly interested in the book since the Barrow gang spent a good bit of time in the area.
Guinn takes all the old research, sifts out the myth and errors, and adds his own fresh findings to deliver what will probably be the last word on the infamous duo (note the "Untold" of the title). Even if you've already read enough about them to have stripped away the myth, you'll learn plenty of fascinating new information and come away understanding Bonnie, Clyde, their families, and their times much better. It's also exciting because so many significant incidents of their brief (and wildly incompetent) criminal career happened in Missouri!Submitted by:Phil OvereemLanguage Arts teacher
This book is very well written and offers a true glimpse into the time and events that shaped Bonnie and Clyde’s life in a fair and accurate as possible portrayal. I highly recommend this book.
Well written and researched, debunking previously filmed and written myth and folklore. I appreciated the fact he includes other historical facts about the time period.
If you have anything else to do, do not start this book because you wont get anythibg else done.