tv History Bookshelf Jeff Guinn Go Down Together CSPAN August 17, 2019 4:45pm-5:01pm EDT
have heard how responsibly they have hailed it and there's a lot of fun if commend to you all three of their books and thank you all so much for joining us. >> thank you for having. >> thank you. [applause] [inaudible conversation] >> that was an author's discussion on true crime. we're live from the mississippi book festival in jackson, mississippi miss.
>> we're just taking a moment to watch the proceed next whole supreme court chambers inside the state capitol, as the authors make their way out of the room. [inaudible conversations] >> you're look outside at the statement capital the mississippi book philadelphia it underway today. this live coverage on c-span2's booktv. >> while we wait for the final author panel of the day from the mississippi book festival, we'll share you a portion of one of our true crime archival programs from 2009, jeff guinn details the lives and crimes of bonnie
and clyde. >> in the case of bonnie and clyde and the legend that's green and been refurbished and reshaped, i there's two whys to be answered. the first is, why did two kids, from a terrible slum, who were among the most incompetent thieves that ever pulled a gun and said, stick yes, ma'am up who were the an antithesis of glamow why did they choose to embark on a life of crime that would bring them fleeting fame but had to inevitably end with their violent deaths. they knew this was coming. they expected it. yet they were willing to have this happen. why? and then the second question,
why did america embrace bonnie and clyde? why did they become national icons following in the footsteps not just of billy the kid and jesse james but charles lindbergh, babe ruth, jack dempsey. why did that happen? there's two parts to the book. if we understand them, where they came from, maybe we start to understand the rest. >> clyde bare row and bonnie parker were products of a place called west dallas, that was a hell hole, outside of the city of dallas. the dallas power brokers very much wanted to create a city that rivaled san francisco for great culture. they didn't want riffraff and
riffraff was exactly what henry barrow, clyde's father was when he arrived in 1922 we his wife, his three youngest children, clyde, l.c. and marie, look for bark thaws they failed as tenant farmers. the barrows lived in best dallas, not just in a slum but in a tent city built in a mary-y piece of land on the west side of the trinity river. it was adults and children died regularly from all kinds of diseases they caught. the people who were luckiest lived in tents there. the barrows couldn't afford a tent. the slept underneath the wagon they rode in on. food were sandwiches which were
made with what was called west dallas round steak which is baloney. on holidays the children were given oregons, the only christmas presents they got. they were born in a time when a man stayed in the economic level where he was born. if you were born poor white trash, you pretty much stayed there. and clyde barrow was an ambitious kid, fine gifted musician, played the guitar and saxophone. his sister used to sir her idea of heaven what listening to clyde play melancony baby. he quit school when he was 16 and went to work in a west dallas factory for a dollar a day. and realize he that was it. he could look across the trinity river and have the gleaming skyscraper offered dallas. if he could scare up a dime he
could good to a movie and see people wearing fancy clothes and driving beautiful cars. like every other kid in west dallas he wanted to wear sunday clothes all during the week. clyde was something of a lady's man, liked to date girls the girls' parents lieutenant wouldn't let them go out with trash like clyde. even other west dallas families looked down on the barrows because henry barrow was a trashman, the barrows were the lowest of the low. and that was the life of clyde barrow when he decided that he would supplement his income. first started stealing chickens and then graduated to cars. clyde barrow was a bumbling bank robber but could steal a car like nobody's business in the those days a ford would coase $260 brand new. if clyde could steal one and sell it on the black market might make $100. that's in the transportation and
that's good money. bonnie elizabeth parker, born in rowena, texas action little west texas town, her mother emma parker, is a social climber like you wouldn't believe. i'm sure in kansas city society there nor ladies who are determined that their families will be the blue bloodeddest of them all, but emma park we're make that happen and here's why. rowena was a farming community. the husbands of all the other ladies who brought their children and husband to the baptist church every sunday were farmers. bonnie's father was a brick mason. the way emin saw it that made them royalty and she raised her little girl to believe that. bonnie's first mark she ever made was made when she was three years old when a tent revival meeting came to rowena and some of the little children of rewean na were invited on stage to sing their favorite hymns. and bonnie got right up there, raise he her eyes to the lord
and sang the honky-tonk tune he as a devil in his own home town. she got a standing ovation from that moment bonnie's expressed desire in life was to be one of two things, she was either going to be an actress on broadway or she was going to be one of those our pick quit cut world famous millionaire poets. she wrote a lot of poetry. we see she has a stuttering sense of rhythm but loved quotation marks and used them every other word. so bonnie's going to be royalty in little rowena except her father dies unexpectedly when she is three years old. though some poem said he got sick and tired of emma and simply ran off weapon don't know for sure. but emma parker has to move with her three young children to move to west dale threes wifelier her parents and parker family descends into post. emma gets a job selling overall
alls. her pay was $7 a week. and bonnie elizabeth parker, a bright young woman, faces this, folks. if she stays in high school and graduates it makes no difference. there's no money for college and for poor girls in west dallas, these were your career choices. you could sling hash, you could work as a maid, or you could be a prostitute. those were basically the things bonnie had to choose among. she went for choice number four, when bonnie was 15 years old, she married a man named roy thornton. who was just a few years older than her. bonnie believed in the movie romances she'd go see he bijou, and she thought at least if she married roy she would have a lifetime of poverty but of true love except it isn't work out that way. he beat her continually, he disappeared for weeks on end help finally deserted her.
she never divorced him. if fey e faye dunaway wasn't wear a wedding ring me scene that was a mistake because bonnie parker wore her wedding ring the rest of her life. she was working as a waitress when roy left her. there's a very strong possibility she was occasionally turning tricks and was not doing this to be promiss discussion. she was doing it to be able to feet herself and her family. and then 1930, january, there's a party in west dallas, clyde barrow and bonnie parker get there, they see each other, that's it. everything else about them has been exaggerated or downright fictionalized. they were not great crooks, they were not glamorous but they loved each oomph it was real love story. they were instantly attracted and because of that, they were inseparable until three weeks lather when cloyd was arrest at bonnie's how for car theft and
sentenced to 14 years in prison in texas. clyde barrow is 22 years old. he is sent to easton prison farm, hell hole. prisoners there are treated like slaves, worked until they dropped. and it is in prison that clyde barrow kills his first man. ed crowder, prison trustee who had been raping clyde in prison for almost a year. caved his head in with a pipe. not long after that clyde, who didn't think he survive working the fields for 14 years, did something a lot of other convicts there would do, easton was culled the bloody ham because to get out of that backbreaking killing field work, convicts would routinely take a hoe and axe or cut off thunder own hands or feet. clyde barrow cut off his by leg tow and another part of this left to and was crutchedful this will tell you something about
clyde barrow. he did that on a monday. on tuesday, he found out that his mother had gotten hi pardoned by the governor and he was able to go home. he limps back to dallas, meets bonnie again, makes lots of noises about going straight but doesn't work out that way. in those days a man could be arrested for suspicion by the police, just because they thought you night have done something and hauled into jail for questioning. the dallas police didn't want a bad guy like clyde barrow stealing cars so they would make a habit of pulling him in every day, take him downtown, sayre gate him, let him go and he would have to walk back to west dallas and come back to get fired. we were lucky enough in writing this book to have access to two unpublished manuscripts from his family. his muir and his sister. so we know from them to that clyde decided why bother going straight it wasn't going to
work. he and bonnie decided to embark on a life of crime. they hated the way their lives were. they knew inevitably they would come to a bad end, but they thought it was worth it. i won't regail you now with the stories of what awful thieves they were. suffice to say for their first big job they got their getaway car stuck in the mud, tried to escape riding mules bareback. they got pitched interest the mud. they got surrounded by angry towns people, clyde left beenie there, ran away, bonnie was arrested and held in prison for three months until a grand jury decided she was just some silly girl who was senselessly in love and had gotten pulled into sin and they released her. it was almost be slapstick comedy except for one thing. people died. bonnie and clyde came from
horrible backgrounds but please understand me there's no excuse for what they did. there will lots of poor kids who aspired to great things and didn't try to get them by robbing and in the case of the barrow gang, they'd been accused of as many as 17 murders. by my count 11 people died at their hands and almost every case it happened because they got themselves in stupid situations, the gang tried to shoot their way out and panishinged and innocent people died. >> that was a portion of the discussion on the lives and crimes of bonnie and clyde. you can watch the entire program online at book booktv organize and mr. guinn has a new become out on henry ford and thomas edison and their travels through america in the 1920s. he'll be on our q & a program in the near future. ...