Recommended Reading: Bonnie And Clyde

“Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde” by Jeff Guinn Reviewed by Larry Cox

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Straight up, this is the best book ever written about Bonnie and Clyde.

In 1934, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were killed in an ambush on a country road in Louisiana. Since then, there have been countless articles about them in true-crime magazines, dozens of books and even an Oscar-winning film that featured Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway.

Myths quickly overtook the facts, leaving most Americans believing that Bonnie and Clyde epitomized glamour, coolness under fire and criminal brilliance as they wreaked havoc upon Middle America during the early years of the Great Depression.

In reality, according to author Jeff Guinn, Bonnie and Clyde were two poor kids from a Dallas slum. They were both cripples, and far from living the good life in luxurious hotels, they spent much of their time camping out in their car, eating cans of cold beans and bathing in streams. Far from being criminal masterminds, they bungled almost every stickup they attempted. Guinn contends they killed mostly out of panic, and their doom was sealed when a pragmatic lawman was hired to hunt them down. Their story ended in an ambush on a dirt road outside a no-place town on May 23, 1934.

Drawing on the memoirs of Frank Hamer, the lawman who was determined to bring Bonnie and Clyde down, FBI documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and other rare original source materials, the author re-creates the event-filled 102 days during which Hamer and his posse stalked and eventually killed the couple.

Much like today’s cable TV news networks, the newspapers of the period served up outrageous stories about them in order to boost circulation — making it difficult for the historians that followed. This highly readable biography presents Bonnie and Clyde as they really were and comes as close to the actual truth as we are likely to get, especially after the passage of nearly 75 years.

© 2009 King Features Synd., Inc.

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