The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 100, July 1996 - April, 1997

Book Reviews

E. R. Milner, professor of history and government at Tarrant College in Fort
Worth, Texas, has written a solid, succinct account of the bloody career of youth-
ful fugitives Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, who terrorized law-abiding Ameri-
cans from 1932 to 1934. The Barrow-Parker gang's rotating membership
included, among others, Raymond Hamilton, Ralph Fults, W. D. Jones, Henry
Methvin, and Clyde's brother, Buck. Nine law officers and three civilians lost
their lives to the fierce bunch. The murders occurred in Texas, Oklahoma, Mis-
souri, and Arkansas.
Milner's volume joins two other recently published studies of the dangerous
pair and their violent sidekicks, Sid Underwood's Depression Desperado: The Chronicle
of Raymond Hamilton (1995) and John Neal Phillips's Running with Bonnie and
Clyde: The Ten Fast Years of Ralph Fults (1996). Parker and Barrow historians must
be willing to confront a host of unresolved and controversial issues. As should be
expected, the trio of new texts do not agree on all points. Discussing the 1932 slay-
ing of Hillsboro, Texas, merchant John N. Bucher, for example, Milner contends
that Raymond Hamilton was the killer. However, Underwood and Phillips, while
they themselves differ on the murder, disagree with Milner's view of the shooting.
Milner's writing style is clear and concise, and he has done a fine job of re-
search. The author's strong point is character description. Milner asserts that
Clyde, who possessed "a slumbering volcanic temper waiting to explode," loved
music, chocolate, fancy clothes, fast cars, and, especially, powerful firearms (p.
5). The deadly desperado even named his guns! Bonnie, a pretty, petite young
woman who craved attention, wrote "primitive poetry" (p. 6). On May 23, 1934,
six lawmen led by Frank Hamer, an "experienced tracker" and former Texas
Ranger, ambushed Parker and Barrow in rural Louisiana, riddling their car-
and their bodies-with bullets (p. 112). The book, unfortunately, has some edit-
ing errors. For instance, the names of several towns and individuals are
misspelled. Still, Milner's is a valuable study, providing a fascinating overview of
the notorious Lone Star criminals.
Arkansas Tech University S. KIRK BANE
Profiles in Power: Twentieth Century Texans in Washington. Edited by Kenneth Hen-
drickson Jr. and Michael L. Collins. (Arlington Heights, Ill.: Harlan Davidson,
1995. Pp. 326. Introduction, notes. ISBN o-88295-9o4-4.)
Most studies on Texas politics and politicians focus on the distinctive and oc-
casionally bizarre characters who have served in the government of this state.
Texas has produced a colorful collection of state politicians, from reformers like
James Stephen Hogg and James Allred, to conservatives like Alan Shivers and
Bill Clements, as well as those like James Ferguson and "Pappy" Lee O'Daniel
who defy simple political characterization. The color and drama of local politics
frequently has obscured the fact that throughout the twentieth century Texans
have played a significant role in national politics. This collection of essays refo-
cuses our attention on the political careers of thirteen Texans who were promi-
nent in national politics.

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 100, July 1996 - April, 1997. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101218/. Accessed July 30, 2014.