‘The New York Times’ now weighs in on a book by a Fort Worthian author that ‘Weekly’ staff writer Jimmy Fowler recently reviewed: Jeff Guinn’s ‘Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde.’ The ‘Times’ writer, ‘Vanity Fair’’s Bryan Burrough, calls the book a “fine work of history.”
Home Blotch Random Stuff Fort Worth Author in the ‘Times’
I love when our hometown paper trumps anyone – and this time we trumped the Times!
You guys expect people to critique a 2-sentence “review” here? Are you serious??? Half of the words to this review consist of the book’s title!
By the way, I have Guinn’s book and am almost finished reading it. It is a good book, but it certainly has it’s flaws. Just for starters, he makes the shocking “revelation” that Bonnie Parker “may” have been involved in prostitution prior to her association to Clyde. He bases this on the recent discovery of a POEM she “allegedly” wrote (“The Prostitutes” Convention”), but no one really knows for sure if she wrote the poem or not – and even IF she did write it, this doesn’t prove anything, other than the fact that she had a vivid imagination. Nevertheless, reviewers everywhere are honing in on this dubious allegation, and reporting it as “fact” – a fact that Guinn can now lay claim to uncovering. The only real FACT here is that Guinn has incorporated pure speculation into his “true, untold story” — and has presented this speculation as “fact”!
While this is a good read (if somewhat dry) — this is by no means the definitive book on the outlaw pair. For those who really desire to know Clyde and Bonnie’s story in depth, I highly recommend John Neal Phillips’ “Running with Bonnie & Clyde: The Ten Fast Years of Ralph Fults”. This book may have been written in 1996, but it is the hallmark of all B&C books. All subsequent authors – including Guinn – owe a huge debt of gratitude to this brilliant epic saga. He – and all who have endeavored to write about B&C since – could not have written their own books to be half as informative as they are, without the benefit of Phillips’ landmark research.
And by the way, IF Bonnie Parker had worked as a prostitute, this probably would have come out many many years ago. And even if it somehow didn’t, Dallas native John Neal Phillips would certainly have made that discovery back in the ’80s or ’90s when he spent about 15 years revisiting every facet of their lives.
By comparison, Guinn is but a mere novice in this realm.
Shelley. Thanks for your insightful take. However, I don’t know what you mean by “expect people to critique a two-sentence review.” What I wrote was NOT a review, merely a mention that a book by a local author that WE HAVE REVIEWED is being reviewed in the ‘Times.’ Follow the links, please. Thank you.
I admit, I’m not a Bonnie and Clyde specialist. But Guinn’s two brief references to the possibility that a pre-Clyde Bonnie might have been an occasional prostitute struck me as that – brief references to “a possibility.” It was not extraordinary for young Dallas slum women of her desperate era, Guinn insists without a shred of judgment, to turn to sex-for-money in an attempt to better themselves or just survive. Plus, he asserts that Parker’s poem “The Prostitutes’ Convention” was “nothing less than a roll call of Dallas hookers and a listing of the street corners where they worked.” (I haven’t read it). If other reviewers picked up on “Bonnie was a ‘ho!’” as some kind of confirmed revelation, their prurience led them to interpret it as such. I didn’t mention it.
Re: the author John Neal Phillips. Guinn read his book, interviewed him personally and exchanged emails with him, according to “Go Down Together.” In the Acknowledgments, he puts Phillips at the top of a list of “author-historians (who) were generous with their time and Barrow Gang knowledge.” I guess you’d have to ask Phillips what he thinks of Guinn’s book.