• In the Spotlight:
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Biographies

Posted by on Apr. 8, 2009 at 9:06 AM
  • 1 Replies
  • 182 Total Views


by on Apr. 8, 2009 at 9:06 AM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-1):
mom2mads
by Group Owner on May. 6, 2009 at 10:30 AM

"Go Down Together:  The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde" by Jeff Guinn, published by Simon & Schuster.

I just finished this book and it was amazing.  I've read other Bonnie and Clyde books but this was the first book I'd read that cut through the "legends" and folklore and gave you the truth, no matter how ugly.  Bonnie and Clyde were both born to poverty stricken families in West Dallas, Texas.  It would have taken a small miracle for Clyde to NOT have turned to crime as a way of life.  There were no jobs, no money and everyone around him stole chickens just to survive.  Even though Clyde and his older brother Buck grew up with the criminal element they were raised by their mother Cumie Barrow in a fundamentalist Christian home.  As a result, these outlaw brothers read the Bible, prayed and went to church when they were able.

Bonnie's mother, Emma Parker, also raised her children to be God fearing, respectable ladies and gentlemen.  Unfortunately the lesson was lost on Bonnie, who although she had a good heart was fond of whiskey, men and a good time.  Bonnie married at 15 years of age to a 16 year old hoodlum from the neighborhood.  They would never divorce, although her young husband abandoned her soon after they married.

When Bonnie and Clyde met it was love at first sight.  Though they never married they were attached at the hip from the get go, destined to be together forever.  Clyde had progressed to auto theft by the time he and Bonnie met and spent time in prison.  Several times he tried to go straight but the constant harrassment by the West Dallas police made holding down any decent job impossible.  It was easier to rob small businesses and steal cars and Clyde, with Bonnie acting as a getaway driver wasn't too bad at those things.  But when he tried his hand at robbing banks that was another story.  He often failed to do his homework, picking banks that had recently failed and came away with nothing.  The only times he was successful at bank robbery was when he teamed up with other crooks but those partnerships never lasted long and Bonnie and Clyde always returned to their old stand bys, gas stations, grocery stores, auto theft and armories to get their weapons.

Clyde was a fast driver and drove his way out of numerous sticky spots with the law.  He earned a reputation as a notorious outlaw even though in reality he was nothing more than a small town crook.  Bonnie, unfairly was saddled with the rep as Clyde's "cigar smoking moll" when a photo was shot of her smoking a cigar, holding a gun.  In reality while Bonnie did drink, she smoked only cigerettes and she was furious that newspaper reporters continued to claim she smoked cigars, was loose, and had venereal disease. 

Clyde DID murder several men, including one while in prison (at the time another inmate took responsibility as a favor to Clyde).  Most of the time though Clyde's murders were not pre-meditated and happened during robberies gone wrong.  Deep down Clyde was deeply religious, deeply remorseful about hurting anyone and was known to treat any victims who did manage to survive his robberies with courtesy and respect.  Once during a bank robbery he even allowed a customer to keep his just cashed paycheck, noting that he knew the man had worked very hard for the money.

Bonnie was a people person and would often engage their victims in chit chat about their lives.  She loved children and was devasted that she was never able to have any of her own.

Bonnie and Clyde were very close to their families, visiting with them any time they could even though doing so put them at risk of capture.  Their families loved them though it broke Cumie Barrow and Emma Parker's hearts that their children had turned out the way they did.  Emma Parker hated Clyde and blamed him for leading Bonnie astray.  Bonnie begged her mother to not say an ugly word about Clyde after they had died (Bonnie and Clyde always said they knew they were going to die soon).  She also told her mother she wanted to be buried next to Clyde.  Emma Parker would not honor either of these requests.

Bonnie and Clyde were very young, only 22 and 23 years old but in the two years they were on the run they lived a life most of us can't even imagine.  Along the way Buck, Clyde's older brother was killed in a shootout with the police and with each passing day Bonnie and Clyde accepted and came to terms with the fact that their own death's were imminent.  Clyde did try to get Bonnie to turn herself in but she refused, saying she would go down with Clyde.  And Clyde knew he'd never surrender but would go down in a hail of bullets.

The ambush that killed Bonnie and Clyde was led by 6 "lawmen" who basically trapped them, shot them down in cold blood (an earlier plan to allow them a chance to surrender was quickly abandoned when one of the officers fired prematurely) and then took all of Bonnie and Clyde's belongings and money for themselves.  (apparently this was legal back then!)  Bonnie and Clyde were set up by  one of their gang members fathers, who the duo trusted explicitely.  They never knew what hit them, never laid a hand on a weapon, even though later the 6 man posse would claim that Bonnie and Clyde reached for their guns and that's why they were gunned down. 

Clyde was killed with the first shot that pierced his skull and drove into his brain.  Poor Bonnie didn't die at first, she had just enough time to realize that Clyde was dead, that she was going to die too and then she did.  Apparently her screams haunted the 6 man posse for the rest of their lives.  The leader of the posse stepped up to the car once the barrage of bullets had stopped and pumped a dozen more shots into Bonnie at close range, even though it was quite obvious the 85 lb woman was by that time, quite dead.

Bonnie and Clyde were criminals, what they did was wrong, several men who were just doing their jobs died at Clyde's hand.  Yes they were wrong, but they weren't "bad" people who deserved to die such a horrible death, even though it was, they believed, in their "destiny".

Bonnie and Clyde were laid to rest in separate graves because Emma Parker refused to let them be together in death as they had been in life.  But they will always be linked together no matter what. 

What an awesome book, a sad, sad story!  You can't help but wonder what would have happened had Bonnie and Clyde been given the chance to surrender.  They'd still be in prison no doubt, but wow, what great stories they could have told us!

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)