Go Down Together by Jeff Guinn
The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde

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Forget everything you think you know about Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker. Previous books and films, including the brilliant 1967 movie starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, have emphasized the supposed glamour of America's most notorious criminal couple, thus contributing to ongoing mythology. The real story is completely different -- and far more fascinating.

In Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde, bestselling author Jeff Guinn combines exhaustive research with surprising, newly discovered material to tell the real tale of two kids 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. Their timing could not have been better -- the Barrow Gang pulled its first heist in 1932 when most Americans, reeling from the Great Depression, were desperate for escapist entertainment. Thanks to newsreels, true crime magazines, and new-fangled wire services that transmitted scandalous photos of Bonnie smoking a cigar to every newspaper in the nation, the Barrow Gang members almost instantly became household names on a par with Charles Lindbergh, Jack Dempsey, and Babe Ruth. In the minds of the public, they were cool, calculating bandits who robbed banks and killed cops with equal impunity.

Nothing could have been further from the truth. Clyde and Bonnie were perhaps the most inept crooks ever, and their two-year crime spree was as much a reign of error as it was of terror. Lacking the sophistication to plot robberies of big-city banks, the Barrow Gang preyed mostly on small mom-and-pop groceries and service stations. Even at that, they often came up empty-handed and were reduced to breaking into gum machines for meal money. Both were crippled, Clyde from cutting off two of his toes while in prison and Bonnie from a terrible car crash caused by Clyde's reckless driving. Constantly on the run from the law, they lived like animals, camping out in their latest stolen car, bathing in creeks, and dining on cans of cold beans and Vienna sausages. Yet theirs was a genuine love story. Their devotion to each other was as real as their overblown reputation as criminal masterminds was not.

Go Down Together has it all -- true romance, rebellion against authority, bullets flying, cars crashing, and, in the end, a dramatic death at the hands of a celebrity lawman hired to hunt them down. Thanks in great part to surviving Barrow and Parker family members and collectors of criminal memorabilia who provided Jeff Guinn with access to never-before-published material, we finally have the real story of Bonnie and Clyde and their troubled times, delivered with cinematic sweep and unprecedented insight by a masterful storyteller.

About Jeff Guinn

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Jeff Guinn is the bestselling author of several books of fiction and nonfiction, including The Last Gunfight and Go Down Together, which was a finalist for an Edgar Award in 2010. Formerly an award-winning investigative journalist and now a frequent guest on national radio and TV programs, he lives in Fort Worth, Texas.
Published February 24, 2009 by Simon & Schuster. 481 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Crime. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Texas journalist Guinn (co-author: The Sixteenth Minute: Life in the Aftermath of Fame, 2005, etc.) has bones aplenty to pick with Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Arthur Penn and the other principals involved in the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde.

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The Guardian

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In fact, Barrow only rarely managed to pull off a bank job and invariably for small amounts - big bank heists required police collusion or insider help, neither of which Barrow could access.

May 24 2009 | Read Full Review of Go Down Together: The True, U...

Publishers Weekly

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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.

Jan 19 2009 | Read Full Review of Go Down Together: The True, U...

Book Reporter

Whether as a tale of two doomed lovers or two blood-thirsty criminals, the story of Bonnie and Clyde stands as a poignant, human saga about desperate outlaws who “know the law always wins” as Bonnie wrote in the above mentioned poem, which she titled “The End of the Line.” Guinn, an award-winning...

Jan 22 2011 | Read Full Review of Go Down Together: The True, U...

The Washington Post

On April 1, 1933, Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker rented a two-bedroom apartment in the small town of Joplin, Mo.

Apr 12 2009 | Read Full Review of Go Down Together: The True, U...

Tampa Bay Times

Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde By Jeff Guinn Simon & Schuster, 480 pages, $27 Bonnie and Clyde: The Lives Behind the Legend By Paul Schneider Henry Holt, 320 pages, $25

May 15 2009 | Read Full Review of Go Down Together: The True, U...

Review (Barnes & Noble)

Impeccably researched and drawing on interviews with surviving family members and those who came in contact with Bonnie and Clyde, Go Down Together chips through the layers of legend and outright fabrications (both from the prevaricating Clyde and self-aggrandizing lawmen) to get as close to the ...

Mar 23 2009 | Read Full Review of Go Down Together: The True, U...

London Review of Books

Unlike Dunaway’s Bonnie, whose confidence seems to emasculate Clyde (in the film he is depicted as impotent), the real Bonnie was clingy.

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Bookmarks Magazine

The Topic: Almost everyone knows the story of Bonnie and Clyde—their 1930s romance, their crime sprees, their deaths—or at least some version of it, whether it’s the film starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway or maybe the eerie vocal duet by Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot.

Mar 09 2009 | Read Full Review of Go Down Together: The True, U...

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Michael Manley 18 Aug 2013

Rated the book as 4 out of 5