Journalist Guinn (Our Land Before We Die), in this intensely readable account, deromanticizes two of America's most notorious outlaws (they were "never... particularly competent crooks") without undermining the mystique of the Depression-era gunslingers. Clyde Barrow, a scrawny kid in poverty-stricken West Dallasin the late 1920s, stole chickens before moving on to cars, following in the footsteps of his older brother, Buck. In 1930, he met 19-year-old Bonnie Parker, and during the next four years Clyde, Bonnie and the ever-revolving members of the Barrow Gang robbed banks and armories all over the South, murdering at least seven people. Bonnie, who fancied herself a poet, wrote, "Some day they'll go down together," and they did, in a Louisiana ambush led by famed ex-Texas Ranger Frank Hamer. With the brisk pacing of a novel, Guinn's richly detailed history will leave readers breathless until the final hail of bullets. 16 pages of b&w photos. (Mar.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
Who hasn't heard of Bonnie and Clyde Barrow? The story of their murderous crime spree during the Great Depression has been told numerous times in both print and film. These new books provide lengthy, detailed descriptions of their many crimes, as well as comprehensive reviews of their backgrounds. Schneider (Brutal Journey), in particular, emphasizes the social climate of the era, as encountered especially by Clyde-oddly, the book is composed in the second person, as addressed empathetically to Clyde himself, leading the author into language that is impressionistic and somewhat disconcerting to encounter in sourced nonfiction. Although Schneider does not justify the criminal lives of the Barrows, his aim may be to show that their story is relevant today, when members of modern street gangs sometimes view a life of crime as their best way out of poverty. Relying on unpublished manuscripts and testimonies and written sources that he deems reliable, Guinn (former book editor, Fort Worth Star-Telegram; The Christmas Chronicles) reminds us that many stories of Bonnie and Clyde were exaggerated in the news, resulting in myths he challenges here. For example, they were very inept crooks. Although he does not provide as comprehensive a review of the era's social climate as Schneider, Guinn explains how celebrities reflect the needs of their particular time. In addition, his coverage of the law enforcement effort to bring down Bonnie and Clyde is more detailed than Schneider's. He accurately points out that the general public idolized Bonnie and Clyde because of their rebel image of sticking it to bankers and the law during a period of economic and social struggles. Ultimately, the public adoration changed when Bonnie and Clyde killed two motorcycle cops. Many readers may feel that they've already had enough of these two, but both books are fine additions to the literature, although Schneider's approach takes some getting used to. Guinn's is more strongly recommended if one must choose.-Tim Delaney, SUNY at Oswego Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
"The true story of Bonnie and Clyde.... Intense but fascinating...rubs the gloss from the mythos and replaces it with a patina of true grit.... Guinn succeeds marvelously in re-creating the spirit of the times, the desperation of unemployment and financial ruin. It's a zeitgeist becoming chillingly familiar today, and that gives this book a wallop." -- Jackie Loohauis-Bennett, "Milwaukee Journal Sentinel" ""Go Down Together" is a richly detailed dual biography.... Guinn, a Texas-based journalist, has researched their lives and times with the kind of thoroughness generally reserved for politicians and captains of industry." -- Allen Barra, "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution" "Forget what you've heard or read (or seen in the laughable 1967 movie) about a glamorous young couple pulling off brilliant bank robberies, outsmarting and killing their pursuers.... Jeff Guinn relates Bonnie and Clyde's heyday of robbery and killing, their remarkable flight from justice and their grisly ending in such careful detail that you might wonder if he's making it up. He isn't. "Go Down Together" is the product of remarkable research through letters, diaries, memoirs, police and FBI reports, and interviews with family members. Much of the material has never been made public before." -- Bob Simmons, "The Seattle Times" ""Go Down Together" is a rollicking read, an astonishing story of perseverance in the face of hopelessness, and a perverse tale of two lovers whom only death could part.... Jeff Guinn strips away the glamour...to reveal the desperadoes as they really were.... His exhaustively researched chronicle of their misadventures seems definitive." -- Mark Dunkelman, "The Providence Journal" "This is the best Bonnie and Clyde book I've ever seen. Three-quarters of a century after their deaths, and following a multitude of contradictory accounts by surviving participants, "Go Down Together" still manages to lift the veil and uncover surprising new stories and details and fresh insights into both the famous outlaw lovers and the team of manhunters who brought them down. An eye-opener that will set historians and crime buffs alike talking for a long time to come." -- Rick Mattix, coauthor of "The Complete Public Enemy Almanac " ""Go Down Together" is thorough, precise, beautifully written, and compulsively readable. It shines a brilliant lamp on two very unusual people, and, a bonus, it richly illuminates middle America between the wars. Completely fascinating." -- Robert B. Parker, author of the Spenser novels ""Go Down Together" casts a brilliant new light, not just on two hapless criminals but on the creation and then the devouring of the first American media darlings. Jeff Guinn is a great storyteller." -- Richard Ben Cramer, author of "Joe DiMaggio: The Hero's Life" "An embracing biography of the Barrow Gang that draws us in like an old wanted poster.... Not only does Guinn maintain control of the mayhem.... the author manages to humanize the characters...while inserting them into the historical context of the times." -- Steve Bennett, "San Antonio Express-News" "This intensely readable account de-romanticizes two of America's most notorious outlaws without undermining the mystique of the Depression-era gunslingers.... With the brisk pacing of a novel, Guinn's richly detailed history will leave readers breathless until the final hail of bullets." -- "Publishers Weekly" (starred review) "Engaging. . . reads like a road story--two kids from the Dallas slums in a fast car, headed to nowhere good." 9 781416 557074 --The New Yorker Engaging. . . reads like a road story two kids from the Dallas slums in a fast car, headed to nowhere good. 9 781416 557074 The New Yorker" "Guinn has deftly restored the humanity of America's best known crime couple, stripping away the Hollywood glamour and hype with the unvarnished but equally compelling truth." --Kathleen Krog, The Miami Herald "Guinn cuts through the sex and gunsmoke surrounding the gangster love story of Bonnie and Clyde. . . . A welcome corrective." --J. Lynn Lunsford, The Wall Street Journal "A rollicking read, an astonishing story of perseverance in the face of hopelessness, and a perverse tale of two lovers whom only death could part." --Mark Dunkelman, The Providence Journal "A fine work of history. . . . Easily readable and includes much of the last two decades' new scholarship. . . . Especially good at . . . placing Bonnie and Clyde in context." --Bryan Burrough, The New York Times Book Review Guinn has deftly restored the humanity of America s best known crime couple, stripping away the Hollywood glamour and hype with the unvarnished but equally compelling truth. Kathleen Krog, The Miami Herald" Guinn cuts through the sex and gunsmoke surrounding the gangster love story of Bonnie and Clyde. . . . A welcome corrective. J. Lynn Lunsford, The Wall Street Journal" A rollicking read, an astonishing story of perseverance in the face of hopelessness, and a perverse tale of two lovers whom only death could part. Mark Dunkelman, The Providence Journal" A fine work of history. . . . Easily readable and includes much of the last two decades new scholarship. . . . Especially good at . . . placing Bonnie and Clyde in context. Bryan Burrough, The New York Times Book Review"