My Life with Bonnie and Clydeby Blanche Caldwell Barrow, John Neal Phillips Published 01 Aug 2005
|My Life with Bonnie and Clyde.pdf|
|Publisher||University of Oklahoma Press|
Download My Life with Bonnie and Clyde (2014) PDF ePub eBook
- 1. Register a free 1 month Trial Account.
- 2. Download as many books as you like.
- 3. Cancel the membership at any time if not satisfied.
Bonnie and Clyde were responsible for multiple murders and countless robberies. But they did not act alone. In 1933, during their infamous run from the law, Bonnie and Clyde were joined by Clyde’s brother Buck Barrow and his wife Blanche. Of these four accomplices, only one—Blanche Caldwell Barrow—lived beyond early adulthood and only Blanche left behind a written account of their escapades. Edited by outlaw expert John Neal Phillips, Blanche’s previously unknown memoir is here available for the first time.
Blanche wrote her memoir between 1933 and 1939, while serving time at the Missouri State Penitentiary. Following her death, Blanche’s good friend and the executor of her will, Esther L. Weiser, found the memoir wrapped in a large unused Christmas card. Later she entrusted it to Phillips, who had interviewed Blanche several times before her death. Drawing from these interviews, and from extensive research into Depression-era outlaw history, Phillips supplements the memoir with helpful notes and with biographical information about Blanche and her accomplices.
"My Life with Bonnie and Clyde" Reviews
Blanche Barrow is your typical good woman who loves a rough character. Reading this personal story by Blanche gave me insight as to how a good girl could be led down a road of destruction she desperately wanted to avoid with her husband Buck. She fell in love with a convicted criminal who escaped from prison, turned himself in, did his time and came out to settle down with his loving wife. Enter Bonne and Clyde, who wanted Buck to travel along with them for "a rest with no danger to you or Blanche, just spending some family time together'. Of course we all know how it ends for Bonnie and Clyde, but very little inside information was known about Blanche and her life after prison. She admits to helping with a few of the robberies, although never having shot someone, it's just the old cliche of being at the wrong place at the wrong time. She was so much in love with Buck Barrow, that she would have rather taken her chances with Bonnie and Clyde and the law rather than lose Buck. Personally, I think that if Buck had not chosen to make that visit, which turned into a nightmare, Blanche could have kept him on the straight and narrow. Blanche Barrow did her time and became a quiet citizen who later remarried a man who bears a striking resemblance to Buck. This man seemed to be a good husband for her and maybe in a strange way it was her way of actually living the life she wanted so badly for herself and Buck. Her actual story is maybe a little less than half the book with the prologue detailing her life after prison. John Neal Phillips did a great job editing and helping to tell Blanche's story.
A good book from another angle of looking at what happened from someone in the car with Bonnie and Clyde. I grew up by Dexter Iowa so I knew a lot of the stories from around there and didn't learn much from the book. But then again the book was written from Blanche's viewpoint. She sure appeared different than the Blanche played by Estelle Parsons in the movie. She still had some whining but a much stronger personality. And by the end we TOTALLY understood that she only did it because she loved Buck. I gave the book 3 instead of 4 stars because I like the notes to be on the same page, not at the end of the book. I got tired of flipping but by the time I finished, I didn't know what the note was referring to so I just gave up. Probably comes from the stand point that I like history and want to know that background information. Wasn't the easiest book to find but enjoyed it.
My Life With Bonnie & Clyde
By Blanche Caldwell Barrow
Edited by John Neal Phillips
April 4, 2014
“Bonnie and Clyde were responsible for multiple murders and countless robberies. But they did not act alone. In 1933, during their infamous run from the law, Bonnie and Clyde were joined by Clyde’s brother, Buck Barrow and his wife, Blanche; of these four accomplices, only one-Blanche Caldwell Barrow-lived beyond early adulthood and she was the only one that left behind a written account of their escapades.”
“Blanche wrote her memoir between 1933 and 1939, while serving time at the Missouri State Penitentiary. Following her death, Blanche’s good friend and the executor of her will, Esther L. Weiser, found the memoir wrapped in a large unused Christmas card. Later she entrusted it to Phillips, who had interviewed Blanche several times before her death. Drawing from these interviews, and for extensive research into Depression-era outlaw history, Phillips supplements the memoir with helpful notes and with biographical information about Blanche and her accomplices.”
I found the book totally intriguing. My mother was raised in central Wisconsin thick with farmland. It was here, according to her recollection that gangsters would come and hide out for rest and relaxation. This conceived an interest in the Depression-era gangster and so I sought out this book to give me some profile on fictional gangster characters for my current novel.
Her verbiage was authentic and raw with words like “walls”; depicting prison; “hot”; where police were on the lookout; and “tourist camps”; where criminals as well as the down and out family could reside for a time. This made the memoir authentic as well as personal.
Blanche’s account mostly dealt with her relationship with Buck, which was die-heart love, as well Buck’s relationship with his brother Clyde and her relationship with Bonnie. It all was feasible as well as slow but made a great memoir far from what Hollywood as well as the mythical legends of their lifestyle was made out to be a sort of “steal from the rich give to the poor” Robin Hood type of drama which was totally false. When the facts of their exploits were laid out it was obvious that they were cold bloodied killers who bungled many a robbery job and quarreled often amongst themselves; especially the brothers. I loved the part in her memoir where she elaborated on the fact that the brothers constantly argued over just about everything. It was plain the siblings did not get along. What got me was the brothers did not get along about the overall scheme of robbing. Clyde preferred the rob for a day idea while Buck, the obvious smarter one of the gang, insisted on robbing banks for the big haul that could last for a long, long time.
Memoirs by non-authors can be boring and difficult to read; however this one is so full of raw information and life that it is worth the effort. What a life Blanche led before, during, and after her days of crime that it is simply a worthwhile educational experience to read. I highly recommend it to anyone that is interested in criminal history as well as Depression-era history.
After reading Guinn's very excellent biography, I was looking forward to Blanche Barrow's first person account of their travels with Bonnie and Clyde. Where Guinn's narrative was intense, well researched and relentless, Blanche's was far more gentle and less detailed, much like the narrative of a person who was concentrating on only one aspect of the narrative. Indeed, her story is all about Buck and not really about herself at all, since it begins with their joining B&C in Joplin and ends three months later with Buck's death and her capture. Editor John Neal Phillips is to be commended for filling in the gaps in the story while letting Blanche's voice ring through. All in all a very tender and touching side to what is basically a very sad and violent story.
I just couldn't continue reading the book. The book would be more bearable if the editor's notes were within the body of the text instead of in the back of the book. It's an easy read, if you can tolerate going back and forth, trying to remember where on the page you left off to read the notes in the back. I couldn't take it anymore. I don't want to waste my time reading something that seems to be someone's faulty memory of history, then reading the contradictions to her statements in the notes. So, I just gave up. Additionally, I have a difficult time sympathizing with someone who loses all sense of morality and sensibility in the name of "love." I call BS.
You really feel like you are there with the gang. Plus I love the additional facts and history added by the editor. I'm pretty sure she loved Buck ;)