Cover image for Go down together : the true, untold story of Bonnie and Clyde
Title:
Go down together : the true, untold story of Bonnie and Clyde
Author:
Edition:
1st Simon & Schuster hardcover ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster, 2009.
ISBN:
9781416557067
Physical Description:
viii, 467 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. ; 25 cm.
Language:
English
Contents:
Henry and Cumie -- The devil's back porch -- Clyde -- Bonnie -- Dumbbells -- The bloody 'ham -- Decision -- A stumbling start -- Bonnie in jail -- Murder in Stringtown -- Clyde and Bonnie on the run -- The price of fame -- Raymond and W.D. -- "It gets mixed up" -- The shootout in Joplin -- Shooting stars -- Disaster in Wellington, murder in Arkansas -- The last interlude -- The Platte City shootout -- The battle of Dexfield Park -- Buck and Blanche -- Struggling to survive -- The Eastham breakout -- Hamer -- The new Barrow Gang -- Hamer on the trail -- The Methvins make a deal -- Bloody Easter -- Hamer forms a posse -- Another murder -- The letters of April -- The noose tightens -- Final meetings -- A new line of work -- Haven -- The beginning of the end -- "Do you know any bank robbers?" -- The setup -- The ambush -- "Well, we got them" -- Consequences -- The legend of Bonnie and Clyde.
Abstract:
An account of the exploits of Bonnie and Clyde explores the ways in which they captured the imaginations of people during and after their time, reveals the role of youth and luck in their two-year crime spree, and recounts the events that led to their deaths.
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Book 364.15 GUI 1 .SOURCE. 4/09 B&T
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Summary

Summary

Bestselling author Guinn combines exhaustive research with surprising, newly discovered material to tell the real tale of Bonnie and Clyde--two kids from a filthy Dallas slum who fell in love and willingly traded their lives for a brief interlude of excitement and, more important, fame.


Reviews 5

Publisher's Weekly Review

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. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Booklist Review

Almost 75 years ago, the four-year murder and robbery spree of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow ended in a hail of bullets on a desolate Louisiana road. During those four years, the Barrow Gang held up a few banks, knocked over numerous grocery stores, killed several police officers, and successfully cast themselves as latter-day Robin Hoods struggling against an unjust social order. This work strives, successfully for the most part, to strip away the sensationalism and view the couple and their exploits accurately. Less lyrical than Paul Schneider in Bonnie and Clyde: The Legend behind Their Lives (2009), Guinn, an investigative journalist, uses a conventional narrative approach and utilizes primary sources effectively. Here, Bonnie is revealed as a petite, intelligent, but frustrated young woman whose thirst for excitement made her vulnerable to a more worldly and big-talking Clyde. Despite her image as a gun-toting moll, she apparently never fired a shot at anyone. Guinn describes Barrow as an almost comically inept thief who was physically weak, belligerent, and out to avenge himself upon a system that he believed mistreated him. For both crime aficionados and general readers with an interest in the era, this book is of great value.--Freeman, Jay Copyright 2009 Booklist


New York Review of Books Review

Two new books on the lives and deaths of Bonnie and Clyde. AMERICANS have a long tradition of celebrating our antiheroes, from Jesse James to John Gotti. Rarely, however, have we embraced as rancid a pair of ne'er-do-wells as the bumbling Depression-era stickup artist Clyde Barrow and his girlfriend Bonnie Parker. As Dallas-based robbers of drugstores, supermarkets and the odd bank, Barrow and Parker were aimless, clueless and utterly ruthless. About the only thing they did well was shoot people, which Clyde and his partners attempted often, murdering at least 10 men. Finally tracked down and killed themselves on May 23, 1934, Bonnie and Clyde remained all but forgotten, relegated to pulp magazines and a B movie or two, for 30 years. The infamy they enjoy today can be traced almost exclusively to the wonderfully filmed, if thematically wrongheaded, 1967 movie "Bonnie and Clyde," a paean to hippie-era themes of anti-authoritarianism and youth rebellion. When Americans express an interest in Bonnie and Clyde now, I wager, their curiosity lies less with the grimy, smelly, murderous Bonnie and Clyde of history than with the glamorous, dashing Bonnie and Clyde portrayed by Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty - polite, persecuted mannequins whose only fault could be solved, the film suggests, with a dose of Cialis. Whatever its precise focus, the public fascination with Bonnie and Clyde appears boundless. Just count the books. Before the movie, there had been precisely one substantial biography. In the last nine years alone, by my count, there have been 10. And now, in time for the 75th anniversary of the pair's deaths on a Louisiana road, come 11 and 12. The one to pick up is "Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde," by Jeff Guinn, which is easily readable and includes much of the last two decades' new scholarship. The one to avoid is "Bonnie and Clyde: The Lives Behind the Legend," by Paul Schneider, a book whose idiosyncrasies include the author's devotion to such italicized gun sounds as, on Page 8 alone, Pop! Pop! and Blam! and Rata rata rat. On Page 277 an automatic rifle is quoted as saying, Rata rata rata rata rata bang pow rata blam. Two pages later it remarks, Blam pow bangbangbang pow. At any moment one half-expects thought bubbles, or maybe Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk, to leap from the text. By now this story is familiar to anyone who cares to inquire; neither book alters the narrative, though Guinn has far more detail to add. Bonnie and Clyde were poor kids from the dusty slums of West Dallas, both in their early 20s, scrawny (Clyde was barely 5-foot-6) and possessing a sense of entitlement far beyond their meager talents. Clyde, whose family lived in a tent for much of his youth, was a high school dropout who followed his older brother Buck into life as a car thief, cat burglar and armed robber; Clyde thought so highly of himself that he changed his middle name from Chestnut to Champion. Bonnie had been a teenage bride whose husband abandoned her to a life of baby-sitting, glamour magazines and boredom. All she wanted was excitement, and on meeting Clyde at a party in January 1930, she found it. There followed two years of prologue: Clyde's arrest and jailing in the Central Texas city of Waco; Bonnie's smuggling a pistol to him; Clyde's escape and recapture in far-off Ohio; his sentencing to the brutal Eastham Prison Farm; the toes he chopped off to avoid a work detail. (Schneider quotes the ax: Thwack.) Clyde was paroled and reunited with Bonnie, and in the summer of 1932 the two finally began their new lives as "Bonnie and Clyde." Their career, such as it was, was essentially a series of road trips through an area loosely defined by Minnesota to the north, New Mexico to the west and Memphis to the east. They drove till they ran out of money, then robbed something to get some. If anyone objected, Clyde or one of his flunkies opened fire. Along the way they endured a series of misadventures the movie ignores, including a prison breakout and a car wreck in which Bonnie's legs were burned to the bone. At the end of every trip, Bonnie and Clyde would circle back to West Dallas to see their families. "Go Down Together" is especially good at parsing the relatives and their roles, placing Bonnie and Clyde in context and showing how all the family members worked together to clothe and feed them and basically keep them operating for months. A good amount of new detail about Bonnie and Clyde has emerged in the last 20 years, much of it unearthed by the Dallas historian John Neal Phillips and a small army of dedicated hobbyists, not to mention the information contained in two books by Clyde's sister Marie. Guinn packages this material, plus some nuggets he himself discovered, into a fine work of history. As thorough as it is, "Go Down Together" is not without minor annoyances. The subtitle calls this an "untold" story, even though Guinn, a Texas writer, explicitly notes the many books and numerous other authors and researchers he relies heavily on. And given how thin the source base is for a book like this, Guinn accepts too readily a far-fetched tale or two, like a story told by Blanche Barrow (Buck's wife) that J. Edgar Hoover visited her in jail. Or the self-serving tale Clyde told friends of being raped in prison and gaining his revenge by killing the rapist; both books milk this questionable anecdote for every conceivable ounce of melodrama. (CRACK! goes Schneider's lead pipe when it strikes the rapist's skull.) Guinn also asserts that most major Depression-era bank robberies were inside jobs, aided by bribed employees or the local police, even though Bonnie and Clyde themselves, or for that matter John Dillinger, never appeared to benefit from such an arrangement. One would think the repeated appearance of bullets whizzing by their ears would obviate this question. Still, these are quibbles about what is otherwise a nice book. The same cannot be said for Schneider's "Bonnie and Clyde." It's difficult to say where this book goes wrong, but one might start on the first page, with the author's decision to write in the present tense, a sure sign that the history you are reading is being imagined, not written from research. Worse, Schneider, the author of several books, inexplicably resorts to narrating in the second person. Thus we are fed dozens of sentences like these, all from Clyde's viewpoint: "Oh Lordy, here we go. You look out the window and, sure enough, laws are everywhere and they've got a car parked blocking your way out of the driveway. You start giving orders." Any reader can guess what happens next. To quote the gun itself: Rata rata rata rata rata rata. And who can forget the cop car's priceless reply? Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep. This bizarro approach reaches its zenith when Schneider imagines Clyde's thoughts as he dies at the hands of a posse armed with Browning automatic rifles: "Funny thing is, you can watch your own killing without anger - who would have thought? The six lawmen are coming out of their hiding places now, still firing their silent bullets into the car. What are they? Gone crazy? The bullets go into your body and Bonnie's. God, you used to love those guns. When did the cops get BARs? So them laws finally got some decent guns, did they? About time they took a lesson from old dead Clyde." I don't know what you call this, but it's closer in style to Hunter S. Thompson than to Doris Kearns Goodwin. What it's not, to quote the book's hyperventilating jacket, is "verisimilitude and drama to match Truman Capote's 'In Cold Blood.'" That's not just ridiculous. It's total beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep. Bryan Burrough is a special correspondent at Vanity Fair and the author, most recently, of "The Big Rich: The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Texas Oil Fortunes."


Kirkus Review

An exercise in historical revisionism revealing, among other things, that Bonnie Parker didn't like cigars. 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. For one thing, he notes, it should have been Clyde and Bonnie, since Clyde Barrow was the brains and muscle behind their Depression-era exercise in mayhem. For another, the depiction of Texas lawman Frank Hamer as a bumbler who let Bonnie and Clyde escape "clearly was false." Hamer had no contact with the pair until the fateful day when he caught up with them in Gibsland, Texas, where they were famously filled with lead. Guinn's list of errors goes on, a touch tediously, but he has a point. During their 193234 crime spree, readers drew on tabloids for information about the Barrow Gang and viewed them as latter-day Robin Hoods until the ugly murder of a Texas cop led the public to change its opinion and dub the gang psychopaths. (Bonnie was transformed overnight from "sexy companion of a criminal kingpin" to "kill-crazy floozy.") Today, most people who know anything about them know it through the highly romanticized lens of the Penn film. Guinn assembles what is reliably certain about Barrow and Parker, who grew up lean and mean in Texas and used crime as a means of escaping poverty and boredom. Neither offers much potential as an icon, though Gibsland now milks their corpses for what it can. Guinn's prose is often ham-fisted, but the story's intrinsic interest survives. Detailed if middling tale of white trash taken out none too soonbut, as Barrow's tombstone says, "Gone but not forgotten." Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Library Journal Review

Who hasn't heard of Bonnie and Clyde Barrow? The story of their murderous crime spree during the Great Depression has been told numerous times in both print and film. These new books provide lengthy, detailed descriptions of their many crimes, as well as comprehensive reviews of their backgrounds. Schneider (Brutal Journey), in particular, emphasizes the social climate of the era, as encountered especially by Clyde-oddly, the book is composed in the second person, as addressed empathetically to Clyde himself, leading the author into language that is impressionistic and somewhat disconcerting to encounter in sourced nonfiction. Although Schneider does not justify the criminal lives of the Barrows, his aim may be to show that their story is relevant today, when members of modern street gangs sometimes view a life of crime as their best way out of poverty. Relying on unpublished manuscripts and testimonies and written sources that he deems reliable, Guinn (former book editor, Fort Worth Star-Telegram; The Christmas Chronicles) reminds us that many stories of Bonnie and Clyde were exaggerated in the news, resulting in myths he challenges here. For example, they were very inept crooks. Although he does not provide as comprehensive a review of the era's social climate as Schneider, Guinn explains how celebrities reflect the needs of their particular time. In addition, his coverage of the law enforcement effort to bring down Bonnie and Clyde is more detailed than Schneider's. He accurately points out that the general public idolized Bonnie and Clyde because of their rebel image of sticking it to bankers and the law during a period of economic and social struggles. Ultimately, the public adoration changed when Bonnie and Clyde killed two motorcycle cops. Many readers may feel that they've already had enough of these two, but both books are fine additions to the literature, although Schneider's approach takes some getting used to. Guinn's is more strongly recommended if one must choose.-Tim Delaney, SUNY at Oswego (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Chapter 19 The Platte City Shootout N.D. Houser, the owner-operator of the Red Crown Tavern and its adjoining two-cabin motor court, was suspicious from the moment Blanche Barrow walked into his office on July 18 and asked to rent the cabins overnight for a party of three. For one thing, Blanche was wearing her beloved "riding breeches" -- jodhpurs was the correct fashion term -- that were skintight across the rear and flared out from the hip to the knee. Pants like that were seldom seen in Platte City, Missouri, and several people who saw Blanche there were still remarking about them decades later. Then she paid the $4 rent in loose change, undoubtedly looted earlier in the day from the cash registers and gum machines at the three service stations in Fort Dodge. Houser took the money and watched as the fellow driving the Ford V-8 pulled up to the cabins, opened the door of the garage between them, and backed his car in. Criminals were notorious for doing that so they could make fast getaways. Clyde got Bonnie settled in the right-hand cabin. W. D. Jones joined them there as usual. Buck and Blanche took the cabin on the left. Almost as soon as everyone was inside, Clyde sent for Blanche. He gave her more loose change and told her to go over to the tavern and buy five dinners and beer. She was to bring the food back so they could eat in the cabins. Blanche reminded Clyde that they'd just checked in as a party of three. Buying five meals would be a tip-off that there were more of them than that. But Clyde said he didn't care -- she was to get five dinners, period, and he wanted chicken if they had it. Blanche did as she was told, and as she poured more coins into his palm Houser said he'd have to go back to the cabins with her. He'd forgotten to take down the license number of their car, and it was required information from all their guests. Feeling helpless, Blanche led him back to the right-hand cabin and called for Clyde to come out. He opened the garage door so Houser could jot down the V-8 sedan's license number: Oklahoma 75-782. Clyde didn't think it was an immediate problem as he routinely switched plates on stolen cars. But it should have served as a warning sign that the staff at the Red Crown was especially vigilant. Clyde apparently didn't care. He told his family later that he liked the Red Crown cabins. They had stone and brick walls, which made him feel secure. If they needed to get to their car in a hurry, there was an interior door in Clyde's cabin that opened directly into the garage. Buck and Blanche's cabin didn't have one. They could only go in and out through the front door. After dinner, everyone went to bed. They slept late on the morning of July 19. When Buck woke up, he told Blanche to go over to the other cabin and see when Clyde, Bonnie, and W.D. would be ready to leave. Clyde said he'd decided they would stay another day. He wanted Blanche to fetch some more food and beer. Clyde felt relaxed about their situation. The cabins were nice. Bonnie needed rest. So Clyde gave Blanche yet another pile of change. After she brought the food, he sent her out to pay Houser $4 for a second night's stay. Blanche wasn't exaggerating in her memoir when she complained about having to run all the gang's errands. Houser took the money and told Blanche she could have a refund if her group decided to leave before nightfall. She thought it was an odd remark, and told Clyde that Houser "was the type that might tell the law we were there if he had the slightest suspicion about us." He was, and he didn't have to go far to do it. The Barrow Gang had no idea that the Red Crown Tavern served as a gathering place for local cops and the state highway patrol. Two-way radios were still nonexistent for most lawmen in the region, so officers and supervisors would often meet somewhere at mealtimes to exchange messages and receive orders. The Red Crown was a favorite spot because the food was so good. On July 19, Missouri Highway Patrol captain William Baxter and some of his men met there for lunch. Either Houser or one of his employees mentioned to Baxter that the people in the two tourist cabins were acting awfully strange. The woman checking them in said they were a party of three, but she was buying meals for five. Besides paying for everything in loose change and parking backward in the garage the way crooks often did, whoever was in the right-hand cabin had taped paper across the windows to block anybody looking in. Houser described them to Baxter, and also gave him the Ford's license number. Baxter made a note to check the plate, and meanwhile put the cabins under surveillance. Someone also passed the word about suspicious characters at the Red Crown cabins to Platte County sheriff Holt Coffey. Coffey and Baxter got along well. When they conferred early in the afternoon of the 19th, they concluded it was possible that the four or five people (they weren't entirely sure whether it was three men and two women, or two and two) might be the notorious Barrow Gang. Bonnie Parker was known to be badly injured, and a farmer in Iowa had recently reported finding used bandages at a campsite in the country. That meant the Barrows were probably somewhere in the region -- why not Platte City? The Barrows packed BARs, and Coffey worried that his own officers and the members of Baxter's highway patrol only had handguns and a few low-caliber rifles to return fire if it really was the gang and they tried to arrest them. Determined not to be outgunned, he went to see Sheriff Tom Bash, whose Jackson County department had jurisdiction for Kansas City and whose available armaments included machine guns, steel bulletproof shields, tear gas launchers, and armored cars. When Coffey drove over to ask for Bash's help, he didn't get the hoped-for offer of cooperation. As Coffey recalled it later, Bash snarled that he was "getting pretty damn tired of every hick sheriff in the country coming in here telling me they have a bunch of desperadoes holed up and wanting help." When Coffey insisted that they might be able to corner the infamous Barrow Gang, Bash finally agreed to send along a few officers and one armored car. This was an ordinary sedan whose sides had been reinforced with extra metal. While Coffey pleaded with Bash, Lieutenant Baxter of the highway patrol got a report back on his license check. The number matched the plate on a Ford V-8 stolen on June 26 from a Dr. Fields in Enid, Oklahoma. Clyde, of course, had long since left that vehicle behind, but he foolishly kept the plate and screwed it on the bumper of the V8 he stole outside Fort Dodge on July 18. The Barrow Gang was suspected of the car theft in Enid, so Baxter felt he had more proof that Clyde and his cohorts were holed up in the Red Crown cabins. By midafternoon, Baxter and Coffey began planning their raid. They knew Blanche had paid for the gang to stay a second night, so they decided to attack well after dark. The lawmen did their best to keep a low profile, but customers at the service station, grocery, and tavern all noticed highway patrolmen and county cops gathering and watching the tourist cabins. Word spread, and it soon seemed as though everyone but the Barrow Gang knew a confrontation was imminent. The newspaper Clyde had taped to his cabin windows to keep people from looking inside also prevented him from seeing what was going on outside. At some point, either Clyde or Blanche walked to a local drugstore to buy bandages and over-the-counter medical supplies for Bonnie. Witnesses subsequently disagreed about who it was. Apparently, the lawmen let him or her come and go freely, not wanting to alert the rest of the gang and risk letting them escape. The druggist, who'd heard the rumors about criminals being in town, contacted Coffey to tell him about the purchases. The sheriff now felt certain that Bonnie Parker was in one of the Red Crown cabins. That night in the left-hand cabin, Buck and Blanche talked about what they wanted to do next. Both were ready to leave Clyde, Bonnie, and W.D. They were tired of being bossed around. While Buck shined Blanche's boots, he suggested that they go north to Canada and find an isolated cabin to hide in. Buck thought they could make a living as trappers. Blanche said it would be fine with her -- anything to get away from the others. Then Blanche walked over to the grocery across the road to buy some soap. When she went inside, she noticed there were quite a few people there, and all of them stopped talking as soon as she entered. While Blanche waited for her purchases, she stepped on a scale and discovered she weighed ninety-one pounds, almost twenty less than she had back in March when Buck was released from prison. Back in the cabin, Blanche told Buck the people in the store had acted strangely. He suggested that she go tell Clyde about it. Buck added that he thought they'd be fine if they didn't leave until the morning. Clyde told her the same thing. He sent Blanche back to the left-hand cabin, and a few minutes later W.D. followed to say Clyde wanted her to return to the grocery for sandwiches and beer. She refused, so W.D. went. After he got back -- apparently, W.D. didn't notice anything suspicious going on -- everyone had some food and then went to bed. Around 1 a.m. on July 20, Baxter and Coffey gathered their men together. Counting themselves, the highway patrolmen, county cops, and two officers sent by Sheriff Bash of Jackson County in the armored car, the posse numbered thirteen. Coffey's nineteen-year-old son, Clarence, was one of the highway patrolmen, along with Leonard Ellis and Thomas Whitecotton. Whitecotton had rushed from the department office to be there. He was still wearing the fancy seersucker suit and Panama hat he favored for days spent behind a desk instead of out on patrol. Baxter and Coffey had machine guns. They also had thick metal shields that they carried in front of them like medieval knights. The shields were supposed to protect them from even high-caliber bullets. Coffey and Baxter were in the lead as the posse closed around the cabins. Jackson County officer George Highfill steered the armored car in front of the door of the garage connecting the cabins, effectively blocking the Ford V8 inside. Then he shone the car's lights directly on the left-hand cabin door. Crouching behind their shields, Coffey and Baxter moved forward. Coffey knocked on the door. Blanche jumped out of bed and began pulling on her jodhpurs and boots. Stalling for time, she asked who it was. Coffey yelled, "The sheriff -- open up!" From the right-hand cabin a man's voice replied, "Just a minute," and then the Barrow Gang started shooting, Clyde and W.D. from the right side and Buck from the left, blasting their bullets at the lawmen right through the cabin doors and windows. Watching from behind, Clarence Coffey told reporters later that he saw his father "pushed him back like he was hit by a high-pressure hose" as the bullets from the BARs smashed into his metal shield. Baxter was knocked back, too. The high-caliber slugs couldn't penetrate the shields, but their impact was still staggering. Except for the headlights of the armored car shining on the door of the left-hand cabin, the light in the area in front of the cabins was patchy. All highway patrolmen Whitecotton and Ellis could see were two shadowy figures lurching in front of the cabins while gunfire exploded everywhere. Whitecotton mistakenly thought Sheriff Coffey must be one of the Barrows and yelled to Ellis, "There's one of 'em! Get him!" Ellis, armed with a shotgun, raised his weapon and fired. A bit of buckshot scratched Holt Coffey's neck. Afterward, when Coffey bragged about being shot by the Barrow Gang and living to tell about it, Whitecotton and Ellis decided not to ruin the Platte County sheriff's story by revealing that he'd been hit by friendly fire. Inside the cabins, Clyde yelled for W.D. to go into the garage through the interior door and start the Ford. Bonnie fished the keys out of Clyde's pocket and tossed them to the teenager. When W.D. had the engine engaged, Clyde yelled for him to pull the garage door open, but the posse was pouring tremendous fire into the cabins and W.D. was too scared to do it. Holding his BAR in one hand, Clyde ran into the garage through the interior door and began pulling the door open himself. W.D. tried to help. As the door rose, they saw the armored car about fifteen feet in front of them blocking the way out. Clyde opened up on the car with his BAR. The car's side armor was supposed to repel any bullets, but Clyde's slammed through, wounding driver George Highfill in both legs. Another bullet smashed the horn button on the steering wheel, and the shrill howl of the horn blended with the gunfire. If Highfill had held his ground, the rest of the posse could have tightened their circle around the cabins and eventually captured the whole gang, but the injured officer astounded both his fellow lawmen and Clyde by easing the much perforated armored car several dozen yards to the right, opening a way for Clyde to drive the V8 straight through the surrounding cops. Both sides realized what was about to happen, and for a few seconds there was no more shooting. Using the interior door in the right-hand cabin that opened directly into the garage, Bonnie hobbled into the V8. Clyde and W.D. climbed in. But Buck and Blanche had to leave their cabin through the front door to get to the car, and as they slammed the door open and began running for the garage, the posse laid down a high-caliber fusillade. A bullet from Baxter's machine gun struck Buck in the left temple and exited out his forehead, taking away part of his skull and exposing his brain. He dropped between the cabin door and the car. Ever since she unwillingly joined the gang back in late March, Blanche Barrow repeatedly engaged in whining and other petty behavior. But now she proved she had courage. With bullets flying all around her, Blanche stopped to loop her arm under Buck's waist. Skinny and scared as she was, Blanche still helped Clyde drag Buck into the car while W.D. provided covering fire. Somewhere behind the cabins, one of the lawmen fired a tear gas rocket that overshot the Ford, sailed across the highway, and exploded next to the service station. Clouds of stinking smoke added to the chaos. Clyde floored the gas pedal of the V8 and drove straight out of the Crown Tavern lot, past Holt Coffey with his metal shield and onto Highway 71. Everyone in the posse was shooting and their bullets smashed into the Ford. In the back seat Blanche was bent over Buck, trying to shield him from further harm. Her face was turned toward the right, and that was the side where most of the posse were standing and firing. One of their bullets struck the car's back window. It exploded. Though her body protected her mortally wounded husband, glass splinters drove straight into both of Blanche's eyes. She screamed, "I can't see," but Clyde had to concentrate on getting them out of there and kept on going, around a sharp corner and then off into the night. The posse didn't immediately pursue them. The armored car was a sieve. Besides Highfill's wounded legs and Holt Coffey's nicks, several other officers had been injured, though none seriously. The Barrow Gang hadn't added to their body count of lawmen this time. Baxter got to a phone and called in a description of the gang's Ford, which like the Jackson County armored car was riddled with bullet holes. He emphasized that his posse "had a shooting scrape with the Barrow brothers." The lawmen found some pistols and a BAR in one of the cabins, along with syringes and morphine. The latter discoveries sparked rumors that the Barrow Gang were junkies, but the needles and dope were just the last remnants of booty from the doctor's bag Clyde had stolen back in Enid. While the posse poked about the Red Crown cabins, Clyde was finding it tough to get away from Platte City. He spent several hours lost on backcountry roads. At one point a tire went flat, and the V8 had to bounce along on the rim until Clyde found a suitable place to stop and change it. They encountered several locals but no police. Clyde assured Blanche that despite the glass slivers driven into them, her eyeballs weren't "busted." The right eye was less damaged than the left -- she could discern light and movement through it, but very little else. Buck faded in and out of consciousness. Blanche tried to keep her fingers pressed tightly against the hole in his head. The floor by the back seat was soaked with Buck's blood. He asked for water -- they had none to give him -- and even in his dire condition Buck tried to comfort Blanche by telling her his head only hurt a little. At dawn they stopped for gas at a service station north of Kansas City. Clyde told Blanche to cover Buck with a blanket, hoping the attendant wouldn't notice anything was wrong. Apparently he didn't think the man would see dozens of bullet holes in the car. But as soon as the attendant walked over, Buck began vomiting loudly, and the fellow looked in and saw the blood and carnage. Shaken by his brother's condition, Clyde simply drove away, telling Blanche he was sure the attendant would call the Kansas City cops to report seeing them. There was still enough fuel in the tank so that they could keep driving for a while. Clyde headed north into Iowa with no particular destination in mind. He just wanted to find a place where the gang could rest and get a better idea of everyone's physical condition. Buck was clearly doomed -- you could look right inside his head -- but it was hard to tell how much damage had been done to Blanche's eyes. W.D. had suffered some minor wounds in the shootout, and Bonnie was still in terrible shape. They stopped for gas again, and Clyde bought bandages, Mercurochrome, hydrogen peroxide, and aspirin. That was all they had to treat their injuries. They poured the hydrogen peroxide directly into the hole in Buck's skull, and then did their best to wrap his head. A pair of sunglasses helped protect Blanche's eyes. They drove toward Des Moines, pausing occasionally to change the bandages on Buck's head and Bonnie's leg, tossing the soiled ones to the side of the road and not realizing they were leaving a clear trail for pursuers. All day other motorists reported finding used bandages to the police. These Iowa lawmen knew about the shootout the night before -- Platte City police had issued regional bulletins -- so they were already on the lookout for the Barrow Gang, with injured Bonnie Parker and now at least one other member badly hurt and bleeding hard. Late on July 20, just west of Des Moines, Clyde decided they had to stop. They needed rest, food, and to give Buck the chance to die a little more comfortably than he could in the back seat of a car. Staying at a motor court was out -- there was no way they could check in without someone noticing their pitiful, bloody condition. That meant camping in the country, someplace off the main road where no one would see them. Then, like a miracle, off to the right of the road not far past the town of Dexter there appeared what seemed to be a perfect spot, lush rolling woods bisected by a wide river. Dexfield Park -- named for its location between the towns of Dexter and Redfield, and ringed by local farms -- had once been a popular gathering place, opened in 1915 and featuring carnival rides, softball diamonds, a dance hall, a massive swimming pool, and lots of wooded areas for picnicking and camping. But the Depression had left few who could afford admission, and the park closed in early 1933. By the time the Barrow Gang arrived six months later, the abandoned park's green acres still attracted lovers, local berry pickers, and occasional indigent campers. Clyde pulled off the road and drove back into a grove of trees. He used seat cushions from the car to make a bed of sorts for Buck. Clyde, Bonnie, W.D., and a weeping Blanche expected Buck to die any minute. He was suffering greatly. They waited, hoping they were far enough away from cities and prying eyes to be safe, but they weren't. Copyright 2009 by 24 Words LLC Excerpted from Go down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde by Jeff Guinn All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Prologuep. 1
Before
1 Henry and Cumiep. 9
2 The Devil's Back Porchp. 21
3 Clydep. 29
4 Bonniep. 44
5 Dumbbellsp. 55
6 The Bloody 'Hamp. 68
7 Decisionp. 82
The Barrow Gang
8 A Stumbling Startp. 93
9 Bonnie in Jailp. 105
10 Murder in Stringtownp. 114
11 Clyde and Bonnie on the Runp. 124
12 The Price of Famep. 135
13 Raymond and W.D.p. 144
14 "It Gets Mixed Up"p. 155
15 The Shootout in Joplinp. 162
16 Shooting Starsp. 177
17 Disaster in Wellington, Murder in Arkansasp. 191
18 The Last Interludep. 205
19 The Platte City Shootoutp. 211
20 The Battle of Dexfield Parkp. 220
21 Buck and Blanchep. 228
22 Struggling to Survivep. 234
23 The Eastham Breakoutp. 245
24 Hamerp. 251
The Hunt
25 The New Barrow Gangp. 259
26 Hamer on the Trailp. 267
27 The Methvins Make a Dealp. 272
28 Bloody Easterp. 278
29 Hamer Forms a Possep. 287
30 Another Murderp. 291
31 The Letter of Aprilp. 296
32 The Noose Tightensp. 303
33 Final Meetingsp. 309
34 A New Line of Workp. 315
35 Havenp. 320
36 The Beginning of the Endp. 325
37 "Do You Know Any Bank Robbers?"p. 329
38 The Setupp. 334
39 The Ambushp. 338
40 "Well, We Got Them"p. 342
Afterward
41 Consequencesp. 351
42 The Legend of Bonnie and Clydep. 361
Note on Sourcesp. 367
Notesp. 371
Bibliographyp. 430
Acknowledgmentsp. 447
Indexp. 449