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Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde [Kindle Edition]

Jeff Guinn
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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.

Product Description

About the Author

Jeff Guinn, bestselling author of the three books in 'The Christmas Chronicles,' is an award-winning journalist and writer

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1240 KB
  • Print Length: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (25 Dec. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00AHEKO64
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #197,812 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impossible to put down... 24 April 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I never really knew anything about Bonnie and Clyde beyond the fact that they were Depression-Era bank robbers, they died in a bullet-riddled ambush and they were played by Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway in the film. That was literally the sum total of my knowledge, so this book was a real revelation and I thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact, I couldn't put it down.

There's always been a certain glamour attached to the celebrity criminals of this era - Bonnie and Clyde themselves, John Dillinger, Pretty Boy Floyd - so it's quite interesting to read just how unglamourous the reality was, how dangerous, dirty and painful Bonnie and Clyde's lives were, how they were attracted to the criminal life by the harshness and impossibility of the Depression, how they never intended to set out to kill anyone and how often they kidnapped law enforcements officers instead of killing them, mostly treating them fairly and kindly along the way, how devoted they were to their families and each other, and how resigned to their fate they were.

In this book neither Bonnie and Clyde come across as anything close to criminal masterminds, more like desperate and unimaginative kids from a dirt poor background who couldn't (or perhaps refused to) see any other to make a living than by turning to crime. It's almost enough to make you pity them. If nothing else, you certainly come away from this book understanding them and the choices they made a little better.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Never the most glamorous of the War on Crime legends (Dillinger, etc - in fact most of their peers thought them beneath them), and immortalised by a largely fictional 1967 biopic, its high time a thorough, sober assessment of B&C was attempted, and here it is.

Guinn has written a detailed, superbly paced biography that takes you from the slums of West Dallas to the final days of B&C. A lot of crime writers view B&C as scummy fame hungry thrill killers, which Guinn explodes. While there's no doubt Clyde killed whenever he felt he had too, and there is no doubt too that the couple loved the legend that was building around them, Guinn is careful to explore the hard reality of their lives and what led them to their spree.

Despite all of this, the book is clear too that their lives were their choices, and their choices could have involved hard work and honest lives but that instead they went a criminal route that led them to their fates. This is an excellent, informative book that, whilst not making you 'like' them (more or less impossible, I'd imagine), is definitely a proper attempt at understanding them through a modern perspective.

If you're interested in that period of US history, and want to know more about B&C and sort through the legends and the misinformation then this is the book for you. The only thing people might take against this book is that it is dense and full of detail, perhaps too much for some, but Guinn is an excellent writer and handles all the details very well. As highly recommended as can be.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Meticulous Account 29 Mar. 2011
In Go Down Together Jeff Guinn has created what is probably the definitive account of the lives and careers of Clyde Barrett and Bonnie Parker. Guinn has done his best to sift the truth from numerous conflicting accounts and testimonies and provides an almost day by day record of what the Barrow Gang (in its numerous different incarnations) was doing during one of the most notorious crime sprees in US history.
The story is told in a calm, sensible way, which invites the reader to see both the best and worst of the people involved - not only Bonnie and Clyde, but also their families and various law enforcement officers, emerge as real people, with rational - if not always admirable - motives for their various behaviour.
Guinn does not glamorise or sensationalise his lead characters or their actions and where he is unsure about what actually happened, he makes this clear in notes or text - an admirable approach which many true crime authors would do well to emulate. He provides copious notes and refences, which never intrude, but provide worthwhile reading in themselves. This book would have deserved to win a non-fiction award for both research and writing - unfortunately I don't think it did.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sad and Bad 22 Feb. 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have just finished reading this book, and to use a much over used cliche, I could not put it down.
It follows the lives of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow from their early upbringing in the slums of West Dallas to their eventual demise on a backroad in Louisiana.
The narrative moves along at steady pace, significant details are woven into the story but without drowning out the personalities of Bonnie and Clyde and the various members of the Barrow gang. You gradually get drawn into the social and cultural feel of the depression era by the mention significant details, but once again these do not detract from the main characters and their lives.
I read this after reading Dary Materas book on John Dillinger (which I have also reviewed). Despite the two stories taking place at the same time the contrasts could not be more pronounced. Dillinger comes across as smart, successful gangster. Where as Bonnie and Clyde were a rather unsuccessful, inept and small time pair of criminals who barely survived from one day to the next.
At the end of the Dillinger book I had grown to like the charismatic outlaw. In contrast, after coming to the end of Bonnie and Clyde I felt so sorry for them. There is no doubt in my mind that Clyde loved Bonnie, the evidence presented in the book strongly indicates this through Clydes actions and Bonnies reluctance to leave him.
Ultimately John Dillinger and Bonnie and Clyde were products of an era where social, political and economic upheaval was taking place. Both chose a criminal path to overcome what at the time would have been lives without much hope. However, despite the comparisons this book shows that the lives of criminals at this time and place could be nasty,depressing and ultimately have a violent outcome. So unlike the Dillinger book this has left me feeling sorry for the two outlaws and their victims. However, as the heading on Clydes headstone reads "Gone but not forgotten".
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