Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde

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Simon and Schuster, 2009 M03 10 - 368 pages
15 Reviews
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Forget everything you think you know about Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker—previous books and films, including the brilliant 1967 movie starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, have emphasized the supposed glamour of America's most notorious criminal couple, thus contributing to ongoing mythology. The real story is completely different—and far more fascinating.

In Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde, bestselling author Jeff Guinn combines exhaustive research with surprising, newly discovered material to tell the real tale of two kids from a filthy Dallas slum who fell in love and then willingly traded their lives for a brief interlude of excitement and, more important, fame. Their timing could not have been better—the Barrow Gang pulled its first heist in 1932 when most Americans, reeling from the Great Depression, were desperate for escapist entertainment. Thanks to newsreels, true crime magazines, and new-fangled wire services that transmitted scandalous photos of Bonnie smoking a cigar to every newspaper in the nation, the Barrow Gang members almost instantly became household names on a par with Charles Lindbergh, Jack Dempsey, and Babe Ruth. In the minds of the public, they were cool, calculating bandits who robbed banks and killed cops with equal impunity.

Nothing could have been further from the truth. Clyde and Bonnie were perhaps the most inept crooks ever, and their two-year crime spree was as much a reign of error as it was of terror. Lacking the sophistication to plot robberies of big-city banks, the Barrow Gang preyed mostly on small mom-and-pop groceries and service stations. Even at that, they often came up empty-handed and were reduced to breaking into gum machines for meal money. Both were crippled, Clyde from cutting off two of his toes while in prison and Bonnie from a terrible car crash caused by Clyde's reckless driving. Constantly on the run from the law, they lived like animals, camping out in their latest stolen car, bathing in creeks, and dining on cans of cold beans and Vienna sausages. Yet theirs was a genuine love story. Their devotion to each other was as real as their overblown reputation as criminal masterminds was not.

Go Down Together has it all—true romance, rebellion against authority, bullets flying, cars crashing, and, in the end, a dramatic death at the hands of a celebrity lawman hired to hunt them down. Thanks in great part to surviving Barrow and Parker family members and collectors of criminal memorabilia who provided Jeff Guinn with access to never-before-published material, we finally have the real story of Bonnie and Clyde and their troubled times, delivered with cinematic sweep and unprecedented insight by a masterful storyteller.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - LibraryCin - LibraryThing

4.25 stars Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker (later known as “Bonnie and Clyde”) both grew up extremely poor in the slum of West Dallas, Texas. They both loved their families very much and visited as ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - hobbitprincess - LibraryThing

I read this book for my book club, so it isn't something I would normally have read. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I knew so little about Bonnie and Clyde that almost all of this book was a learning ... Read full review

Contents

Before Contents
7
Henry and Cumie
9
The Devils Back Porch
21
Clyde
29
Bonnie
44
Dumbbells
55
The Bloody Ham
68
Decision
82
The New Barrow Gang
259
Hamer on the Trail
267
The Methvins Make a Deal
272
Bloody Easter
278
Hamer Forms a Posse
287
Another Murder
291
The Letters of April
296
The Noose Tightens
303

The Barrow GanG 8 A Stumbling Start
93
Bonnie in Jail
105
Murder in Stringtown
114
Clyde and Bonnie on the Run
124
The Price of Fame
135
Raymond and W D
144
It Gets Mixed Up
155
The Shootout in Joplin
162
Shooting Stars
177
Disaster in Wellington Murder in Arkansas
191
The Last Interlude
205
The Platte City Shootout
211
The Battle of Dexfield Park
220
Buck and Blanche
228
Struggling to Survive
234
The Eastham Breakout
245
Hamer
251
The hunT
257
Final Meetings
309
A New Line of Work
315
Haven
320
The Beginning of the End
325
Do You Know Any Bank Robbers?
329
The Setup
334
The Ambush
338
Well We Got Them
342
afTerward
349
Consequences
351
The Legend of Bonnie and Clyde
361
Note on Sources
367
Notes
371
Bibliography
430
Acknowledgments
447
Index
449
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Jeff Guinn is the bestselling author of numerous books, including Go Down Together, The Last Gunfight, Manson, The Road to Jonestown, War on the Border, and Waco. He lives in Fort Worth, Texas, and is a member of the Texas Literary Hall of Fame.

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