From the moment they first cut a swathe of crime across 1930s America, Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker have been glamorised in print, on screen and in legend. The reality of their brief and catastrophic lives is very different -- and far more fascinating. Combining exhaustive research with surprising, newly discovered material, author Jeff Guinn tells the real story of two youngsters 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. Thanks in great part to surviving relatives of Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker, who provided Guinn with access to never-before-published family documents and photographs, this book reveals the truth behind the myth, told with cinematic sweep and unprecedented insight by a master storyteller.
May 23, 2009, will be the 75th anniversary of the bloody deaths of the Depression's dynamic crime duo.Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and ClydeJeff Guinn. Simon & Schuster, $27 (480p) 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.