The Newton Boys
Portrait of an Outlaw Gang
African American Studies
5.5 x 8.5, 352 pp.
17 B&W Photos; 1 Document; Index.
Pub Date: 01/01/1994
  paper
Price:        $19.95

978-1-880510-16-2

Published by State House/McWhiney Foundation Press
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The Newton Boys

Portrait of an Outlaw Gang

By Willis Newton and Joe Newton

Portrays the misdeeds of the notorious early twentieth-century bank and train robbers. The Newtons' story was made into a movie starring Matthew McConaughey, Ethan Hawke, and Julianna Margulies.

"Bonnie and Clyde was just silly kids bound to get themselves killed. We wasn't at all like them. We wasn't thugs. All we wanted was the money, just like doctors, lawyers and other businessmen. Robbing banks and trains was our way of getting it. That was our business."

Willis Newton (from the book)

What Readers Are Saying:

"Some of the richest Western history in existence has come from the books of State House Press . . . I'd like to add The Newton Boys to that long and splendid list." --Brock Sledge

". . . history and autobiography in a compelling format." --Midwest Book Review

"A good book. More than that. A fine book." --Neshoba Democrat

"Compelling, sometimes hilarious, reading." --Books of the Southwest

"Oral history at its best." --The Dallas Morning News

". . . fascinating social history . . . the publisher deserves praise for allowing "social outcasts" to recount their lives and perceptions in their own words." --Southwestern Historical Quarterly

"The book is a rollicking read and even more quirky than the film version of the Newtons' story." --Texas Monthly

". . . this book would make a nice addition to public and academic libraries and to collections focusing on oral history, sociology, and criminology." --Review of Texas Books

". . . lively narrative enhanced by photos . . . solid oral history." --Texas Books in Review

"Roaring '20s-era bank robbers Willis and Joe Newton were the subject of a 1976 documentary film by Stanush and Middleton; this oral history—based, they say, on the same interviews—offers an unusual portrait of Texas and the Southwest, especially because of the brothers' belief in the essential corruption of business and government institutions. The book, dominated by older brother Willis, is unwieldly, but should interest Texas history buffs. 'We wasn't thugs like Bonnie and Clyde . . . we was just quiet businessmen,' declares Willis of the four-brother gang; he goes on to explain how his initial false imprisonment on a theft charge led him to disregard the law. Joe, on the other hand, 'was kind of following the leader.' In 1924, after many successes, the gang's $3 million Illinois train robbery led to their capture. Amid the book's wealth of detail about their movements and tactics emerges some homespun wisdom; Willis declares that prisons are more schools for crime than for reform. Willis died in 1979 at 90, and Joe died in 1989 at 88." --Publishers Weekly

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