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review 2017-09-21 22:35
Go Down Together by Jeff Guinn, narrated by Jonathan Hogan
Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde - Recorded Books LLC,Jeff Guinn,Jonathan Hogan

 

Turns out that a lot of things I thought I knew about Bonnie and Clyde were not true. They were not a tall and handsome couple like Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. They were also not very smart-both of them spent some in jail and for Clyde that was some hard time. I guess that old adage is right: crime does not pay.

 

 

 

I started to list here all the things I learned from this book, but then I realized that would be spoiling things for everyone else. I decided I'm just going to stick to the main points:

 

As I said above, they were not smart criminals. They were repeatedly jailed, chased, shot at, etc... They were often injured in these gunfights with police and when I say injured, I mean badly hurt. They were great at stealing cars though, and Clyde liked the Ford V-8's so much he wrote Henry Ford a fan letter about them.

 

They loved their families and made arrangements to see them often: which just illustrates how clueless and unprepared the law was for fugitives like these. They didn't stake out the houses of Clyde or Bonnie's mothers or their other relatives, until near the very end. If only they had done that, many lives could have been saved.

 

Clyde and Bonnie loved lavishing their relatives with money and gifts, (when they could), and they both liked to dress nicely. That was about the only luxury they could enjoy, because they were almost always on the run, never able to relax or enjoy themselves. Most of their robberies netted them so little in the way of booty, they were hardly worth the trouble.

 

 

Lastly, they truly did love each other. When Bonnie's leg was badly injured, (due to a car chase and subsequent wreck where battery acid leaked all over her), Clyde forever after carried her wherever she needed to go. Bonnie's poetry and writing all showed that she knew they would both come to a bad end, but she loved him and wanted to be with him, even in death. So, I guess that one part of the Hollywood myth is true.

 

I listened to the audio version of this book. It was detailed, but not too much, and the narrator even added a little humor when the time was right. I learned a lot.

 

Recommended!

 

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text 2017-09-18 22:30
Reading progress update: I've read 50%
Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde - Recorded Books LLC,Jeff Guinn,Jonathan Hogan

These must be the most inept criminals I've ever read about in my life. They're constantly getting caught, jailed, breaking out and doing it all over again. 

 

The last time they got into a car chase/gun fight, their car was wrecked. The battery was damaged and all the acid leaked out of it- right onto Bonnie's bare leg-from hip to ankle. At some points, it was said, the bone could actually be seen. 

 

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review 2017-09-18 12:45
Lightning Men by Thomas Mullen
Lightning Men: A Novel - Thomas Mullen

 

Atlanta in 1950 was a crowded place. The war was over and housing was scarce. Racial tensions were brewing, neighborhood lines were being redrawn,  and not everyone was happy about that. Even the fact that black policemen now served in the Negro areas of Atlanta didn't mean these officers had the respect of white officers nor that of the residents. When a white man gets beaten down by the Klan and then a Negro beaten down a few days later, tensions threaten to erupt. What happens next? You'll have to read Lightning Men to find out!

 

I was excited when I discovered there was a sequel to last year's Darktown. I was surprised at what I learned from that novel and I learned a lot from this one as well. For instance, I'd never heard of the Columbians before. Apparently, this group of neo-Nazis formed, (and so soon after the war in what must have felt like a direct insult to the soldiers and survivors now living in Atlanta), to unite their hatred of both Jews and Negroes. They even dressed similarly to the SS officers in Germany, hence their nickname: lightning men. 

 

I also learned a lot about how the neighborhoods changed during that less than peaceful time in American history. It's often painful to read about, but it's interesting to see events from several different points of view. Rake, Boggs, Smith and MacInnis are well rounded characters and even now, after a second novel, I think they all still have some secrets in reserve. None of them are perfect and they are all struggling to find their place in this new world, their new police station, (even if it is in the basement of the YMCA), and in their new neighborhoods. Social change doesn't come easy and I think all of these characters recognize and respect that in their behavior, which made them believable to me and maybe a little lovable too.

 

Lightning Men is scary in a way, because it's easy to recognize some of the behaviors from this story on the nightly news today. It's also sad that so much good can begin to be undone by just a few hateful people in high places. Not only is this story a good one, but it reminded me that America always has to remain vigilant,  so that everything we have worked so hard for as a people, is not undone by only a powerful few. 

 

Highly recommended! You can get your copy here: Lightning Men

 

*Thank you to NetGalley & Atria for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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url 2017-09-17 17:07
NY Times's 20 Must-Read Books on the Vietnam War

With Ken Burns's new documentary on the Vietnam War premiering tonight, the New York Times had one of their editors publish a list of twenty books on the Vietnam War. It's pretty solid -- most of the key classics are there, as well as a couple of the newer books -- so if you're looking to read up on the topic du jour this is a good place to start.

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review 2017-09-16 17:34
An encyclopedic account of the "Doughboys" of World War I
Pershing's Crusaders: The American Soldier in World War I - Richard S Faulkner

This is an encyclopedic book in the best sense of the term. Richard S. Faulkner's goal is to provide readers with a comprehensive social history of the men who served with the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I, one that covers everything from their enlistment to their discharge. To address their service in all their particulars is a daunting task requiring mastering an enormous body of material, yet Faulkner succeeds admirably in addressing nearly every imaginable aspect of it. The result serves not only as a wide-ranging account of the varied experiences of the "doughboys" but as a reference that readers will be able to turn to for an introduction to various details they might want to learn. For these reasons, it is a must-read for anyone interested in the history of the U.S. military or the First World War, one that is unlikely to be bettered in terms of its thoroughness and insight.

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