My Life with Bonnie and Clyde

My Life with Bonnie and Clyde

by Blanche Caldwell Barrow

In 1933, during their infamous run from the law, Bonnie and Clyde were joined by Clydes brother Buck Barrow and his wife Blanche.

Following her death, Blanches good friend and the executor of her will, Esther L.

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.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Crime
  • Rating: 3.87
  • Pages: 376
  • Publish Date: August 1st 2005 by University of Oklahoma Press
  • Isbn10: 0806137150
  • Isbn13: 9780806137155

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By the time they were killed public opinion had turned against them largely owing to several violent murders. What we have in this book is a memoir of the time Clyde's sister-in-law rode with the gang.In effect she takes the reader right into the car and gives a first hand account of what the lives of the two criminals were like. The rest of the volume includes a foreword by Esther L Weiser who received the manuscript from Blanche and excellent notes by John Neal Phillips who also describes Blanche Barrow's life during and after prison. Phillips provides good background notes to the events occurring at the time thus putting the memoir in a contextual perspective.

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. 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.

If I had to pick what movie was closer in truth to the book .... Overall, if your wanting to know more into what they were going through while running, read this book.

But then again the book was written from Blanche's viewpoint. 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.

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. Blanches account mostly dealt with her relationship with Buck, which was die-heart love, as well Bucks relationship with his brother Clyde and her relationship with Bonnie. I loved the part in her memoir where she elaborated on the fact that the brothers constantly argued over just about everything.

I picked up the book wanting to read a first-hand experience of Bonnie and Clyde. I finished the book glad to have read a first-hand experience of Clyde and Buck (the Barrow Brothers.) Apparently many people were accomplices at one point or another with Bonnie and Clyde. The endnotes provide context, insights, and nuanced details that Blanches unedited and straightforward writing often omits. His endnotes cite other sources, and where there are factual disputes he mentions factual disputes (even for minor details.) One of the appendices includes brief synopses of all the men who died at the gun of Clyde Barrow (or affiliate) though it has nothing to do with Blanche, still makes for interesting reads to see the murder crimes from the side of the victims.

Editor John Neal Phillips is to be commended for filling in the gaps in the story while letting Blanche's voice ring through.

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.

John Neal Phillips deserves some credit for doing a solid job transcribing and editing Blanche Barrow's handwritten memoirs. A book about Bonnie and Clyde and the Barrow gang should make for interesting reading. Becoming too engrossed in their accuracy or historical fact at the cost of misreading Blanche Barrow's mythologized rendering of history means missing the forest for the trees. Much of it is repetitive (at one point, the fact that Blanche is a "good driver" is cited in the endnotes three times, all within a few pages and even lines of the memoirs' main text). Aside from Blanch Barrow's worthy memoirs, this is a very troubled book.