Everything for Your Home's
Beauty, Comfort & Convenience 384-2123
704 Jamestown St, Columbia
Dr. Ronald P. Rogers
Support for your body's natural healing capabilities
Click here for details
Click here for information
Real Estate & Auction Co.
Duo County Telecom
Now Available Through
Your Cable Service!
GUN & PAWN
What's Going On
Info about the
Janice Holt Giles
and Henry Giles Society
Columbia Gas Dept.
GAS LEAK or GAS SMELL
24 hrs/ 365 days
270-384-2006 or 9-1-1
Call before you dig
Directory of Churches
phone numbers and more
for churches in Adair County
Tom Chaney: We Rob Banks
Of Writers And Their Books: We Rob Banks. Tom discusses the 'true' and sad lives of Bonnie and Clyde as told in Go Down Together by Jeff Guinn. This column first appeared 27 September 2009.
The next earlier Tom Chaney column: At the Dusk of Dawn
By Tom Chaney
We Rob Banks
Those of us of a certain age remember Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway as the dashing 1920's desperados Bonnie and Clyde in a 1967 movie by that name. Despite the bloodshed, violence and gore, the movie was fun. We left the theatre siding with the outlaws and despising the cops who brought them ingloriously down with 150 bullets in about sixteen seconds.
The reality of their two-year rampage was a bit different.
Critic Bryan Woolley in the Dallas Morning News describes Clyde Barrow as "a scrawny punk who liked flashy clothes, fast cars and guns. Bonnie Parker was a tiny, almost-pretty waitress and sometime prostitute who wanted to be an actress or maybe a poet. They loved each other. They killed people. They got famous."
Both were products of the desperate poverty rampant in Texas following World War I. Clyde lived near a tent city in the outskirts of Dallas made up of refugees from failed farms -- except that his family didn't even have a tent. Clyde slept under the cart that his father used by day to collect junk.
Bonnie had some better chance until her mason father died suddenly tipping the family over the last little edge of poverty.
Now comes Jeff Guinn with a new and exhaustive account of the infamous couple. His Go Down Together: the True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde, [Simon and Schuster, 2009] makes good use of sources heretofore untapped. He uses family records and the collections of those who accumulate crime records to flesh out the tale.
They wanted to rob banks, but more often than not found themselves robbing grocery stores for the bologna, crackers, and beans upon which they frequently existed.
In Eastham prison for his first robbery, Clyde commits his first murder when he kills a jail yard bully who had persistently raped him.
Out of jail, employment was difficult with the cops always harassing him on the job.
Bonnie and Clyde took to the high road and a life of crime. During the two years they were on the loose they stuck up around a dozen small banks as well as grocery stores and gas stations. They killed nine officers of the law and a few citizens who tried to halt their robbing.
Clyde was best at hot wiring automobiles. He was particular in this matter. Allegedly he wrote a satisfied customer letter to Henry Ford.
Dear Sir,On the other hand Bonnie wrote romantic doggerel about their life on the road. These pieces made their way into the papers, and the criminal pair became celebrities.
Until, that is, half dozen lawmen led by former Texas ranger Frank Hamer laid a trap for them on a lonely Louisiana three-rut road on May 23, 1934.
Bonnie and Clyde died ignominiously in a hail of bullets and shotgun blasts. They met their end in the front seat of the latest stolen Ford V-8 -- guns out of reach in the back seat.
Mr. Guinn's book may not be as immediately exciting as the movie version. It is, however, more reliable, based as it is on hundreds of sources. The reader need not wonder where a certain fact comes from.
Go Down Together bids fair to become the definitive account of the desperadoes Clyde Barrow and his lady fair Bonnie Parker.
Tom Chaney can be found telling stories, planning his next meal, and occasionally selling books at
Box 73 / 111 Water Street
Horse Cave, Kentucky 42749
Email: Tom Chaney
This story was posted on 2014-09-28 06:28:15
Have comments or corrections for this story? Use our contact form and let us know.
To sponsor news and features on ColumbiaMagazine, please use our contact form.
More articles from topic Tom Chaney: Of Writers and Their Books:
Tom Chaney: At the Dusk of Dawn
Tom Chaney: The Lighted Torch of the Secesh
Tom Chaney: Fenton Johnson, A Fine Voice from New Haven
Tom Chaney: How Many Biscuits Can You Eat?
Tom Chaney: When the Guns Are Turned
Tom Chaney: Someone's in the Kitchen with Julia
Tom Chaney: James Lee Burke
Tom Chaney: There Is No God and We Are His Prophets
Tom Chaney: Early Visitors to the Horse Cave
Tom Chaney: Ice Cold Thriller
View even more articles in topic Tom Chaney: Of Writers and Their Books
Click for Info
Bank of Columbia
Let Us Do the Yelling
Principal Broker & Auctioneer
Burton Real Estate
& Auction Service
Call Us For Appraisals
Click for Listings
On This Site
or Click Here
Columbia in the Movies
from the archives of
Click for Stories
The Best of
Local Stories of
The Greatest Generation
Order Book or e-Book
See who's celebrating
Birthdays and Anniversaries
Special Events List
Find Great Stuff in
Antiques, Help Wanted,
Autos, Real Estate,
Legal Notices, More...