I just finished reading Jeff Guinn’s fascinating book, Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde. Coincidentally, today marks the 75th anniversary of their bloody deaths on a bleak back road in Louisiana.
I never knew much about them – the closest I got was Eminem’s eerie “97 Bonnie & Clyde” – and was inspired to read the book by this review in the New York Times (I feed my reading addiction by getting their Books email newsletter every Friday). I’ve always found gangsters (also spies and war movies) kind of boring, but this was a fascinating read, beautifully written and impeccably researched.
What struck me the most about this ill-fated pair is how incredibly incompetent they were. It’s surprising that such an inept pair became so notorious, though the presence of aspiring poet and fashion-plate Bonnie Parker (Clyde, too, was always well-dressed) set the Barrow Gang apart. They grew up in dire poverty in Texas, and the desperate economic conditions in the country at that time definitely resonate today.
I’ve never seen the 1967 film, starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, but guess what I’m watching tonight?