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In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood (1965)

by Truman Capote

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
17,856373144 (4.15)2 / 721
  1. 80
    Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi (artturnerjr)
  2. 20
    Operación Masacre by Rodolfo Walsh (chrisharpe)
    chrisharpe: 'Operation Massacre' by Rodolfo Walsh predates 'In Cold Blood' and is regarded as the work originating modern 'true crime'. In this case, the reportage covers the 1956 police execution of a group of men in Buenos Aires during the 'Dirty War'.
  3. 31
    The Executioner's Song by Norman Mailer (VisibleGhost)
  4. 20
    The Last Day of a Condemned Man by Victor Hugo (lilisin)
  5. 10
    Dark Places by Gillian Flynn (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Dark Places was undoubtedly influenced by In Cold Blood, but brings an interesting form of storytelling to superficially similar plot lines.
  6. 10
    Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee by Charles J. Shields (edwinbcn)
  7. 10
    Big Trouble by J. Anthony Lukas (FFortuna)
  8. 11
    So Long, See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell (Jesse_wiedinmyer)
  9. 11
    The Family of Pascual Duarte by Camilo José Cela (caflores)
    caflores: Dos historias sobre violencia provocada por el ambiente, y dos narraciones crudas y frías.
  10. 11
    Fame and Obscurity by Gay Talese (Ronoc)
  11. 00
    The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  12. 00
    Midnight in Peking by Paul French (sturlington)
  13. 01
    Zeitoun by Dave Eggers (Othemts)
  14. 01
    The Temple of the Golden Pavilion by Yukio Mishima (GYKM)
    GYKM: In 1956, Yukio Mishima not only conducted background research into the crime that he would base his psychological novel on but he also interviewed the arsonist. The Temple of the Golden Pavilion is a melding of fiction, fact, and autobiography.
  15. 01
    Capote in Kansas: A Ghost Story by Kim Powers (bnbookgirl)
  16. 08
    I Am Charlotte Simmons: A Novel by Tom Wolfe (Voracious_Reader)
    Voracious_Reader: Not a true crime story. It is part of the New Journalism body of work.
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English (343)  Spanish (9)  Italian (5)  Catalan (4)  French (3)  Dutch (2)  Hungarian (1)  Norwegian (1)  Hebrew (1)  Danish (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (371)
Showing 1-5 of 343 (next | show all)
Masterfully written real-life murder mystery in which strands of the story slowly come together. ( )
  gregscheer | Jan 1, 2019 |
This book did take me a while to read, but it was because there was so much detail on each page, that it could take a good chunk of time to even fully take in ten pages. Capote's writing is thorough, poignant, and lingering. I know that I'll be thinking about this book for a long time, and that each well-rounded character will stick with me. ( )
  Kelsey_Carmody_Wort | Dec 24, 2018 |
Masterfully written. Beautiful, lyrical, and above all, deeply compassionate to all participants, Capote manages to create a chilling account of the Clutters murders by establishing a non-judgmental, personal tone that dwelves into the thoughts and feelings of the murdered family, the stunned community, the investigators, litigators, but above all, the killers. This unprecedented closeness to the killers is what upsets - the description of their careless romp through the continent, their aimlessness, lack of responsibility, and most notably, their complete lack of remorse.

Capote weaves parallel storylines of the victims and the killers, up until the latter's capture. We get to know the Clutters, an almost inconcievably likeable family, who always helped everyone, were always nice, even-tempered, encouraging, talented, hardworking, with no bad habits - not even drinking coffee... Perfect kids, Nancy winning pie baking contests, riding horses, active in social groups, smart, joyful, down-to-earth. Kenyon the brainy engineer-type, always working on electronic and engineering projects. Everybody loved them. Mr Clutter was renown for not keeping cash in the house. They were the least likely family to get murdered in the state of Kansas.

Yet they were murdered, brutally, and the killers left almost no clues, no motive. The community is shattered, everyone is afraid, news reporters flood the area. We witness the mourning of people close to the Clutters, the shock, the distrust, fear, suspicion. Many install locks and are afraid to sleep. The crime is so egregious and so mysterious - several investigators become obsessed with the case, chiefly Mr Dewey, whose family suffers greatly from his preoccupation.

The most fascinating part of the story, however, follows the killers. Dick, a smalltime crook and thief, is from a loving family, but he does not inherit his parents responsibility and caring. He exhibits growing signs of sociopathy - superficial charm that he uses to swindle money out of men and sex out of women; complete lack of responsibility, inability to learn from mistakes, cruelty to animals, pedophilia, ego-centrism, lack of empathy, inability to see consequences of actions. In prison, he meets Perry, whose background is harrowing - broken family, a mother who drank herself to death, two siblings who committed suicide, extreme abuse at hands of wards - nuns who belted him because he wetted the bed; a care-taker who held him in icy water for the same offense, that almost killed him. His relationship with his father is of love-hate - he loves him but he cannot take any criticism and reacts to it violently, which leads to a fall-out with his father. He joins the Army, encounters sexual and emotional abuse, some at the hand of officers. These all enhance his natural tendency to shyness, inability to control his rage and feeling of abused, unappreciated, put upon, being neglected.

It took the interaction of the two to become murderers, and our justice system made sure they met in prison. Capote gives away most of the story, yet holds one that surprised me - Perry's confession, the true account of events. The rest of the book is spent on judicial proceedings, and psychological analysis of the condemned men and their death-row inmates. The analysis is the best contemporary psychology could provide, and interestingly quite similar in the case of four death-row inmates - that of what we call psychopathy - inability to feel emotions, regard for other human beings, feeling like only themselves matter, megalomania.

The exception is Perry. Even though he is just as a cold blooded killer as the others, we feel - or Capote feels - that he could have been saved. That he was just an overly sensitive kid who needed emphathy, compassion, education, showing the right way - yet kept being beaten up, let down, misled. His lack of empathy was due to disassociation from a situation, not complete lack of feelings. He is definitely not likeable. But he had potential, and we feel sorry for him. We feel sorry for the whole, terrible, sad story - the Clutters, Dick's family, Perry, and ultimately, the author, who have invested so much of himself in this story that he could never write again.

A very moving, profound work, that's more chilling than any fiction could be - because it is true. ( )
  Gezemice | Oct 29, 2018 |
Really really great writing. The descriptions were spot on, the development of the characters of both victims and villains was superb. ( )
  VLarkinAnderson | Sep 22, 2018 |
Grandiosa y espeluznante obra.

Lee mi reseña completa aquí. ( )
  LuisBermer | Sep 2, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 343 (next | show all)
If nothing else, In Cold Blood justifies another Capote conviction: that when reportage commands the highest literary skills, it can approach the level of art.
added by Shortride | editTime (Jan 21, 1966)

» Add other authors (22 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Capote, Trumanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Borràs, Maria LluïsaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Breckan, Eldor MartinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brick, ScottNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Colacello, BobIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cornips, ThérèseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fujita, S. NeilCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Larsstuvold, RuneForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ricci Dèttore, MariapaolaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Een waar verslag van een viervoudige moord en zijn gevolgen.
Freres humains qui apres nour vivez

N'ayez les cuers contre nous endurcis,

Car, se pitie de nous povres avez,

Dieu en aura plus tost de vous mercis

Francois Villon (Ballade des pendus)
Brothers, men who live after us,
Let not your hearts be hardened against us,
Because, if you have pity for us poor men,
God will have more mercy toward you.
For Jack Dunphy and Harper Lee with my love and gratitude
First words
The village of Holcomb stands on the high wheat plains of western Kansas, a lonesome area that other Kansans call 'out there'.
Mensenbroeders, gij die na ons leeft, wil niet verbitterd aan ons denken, want wie erbarmen met ons armen heeft, zal God veel eerder zijn genade schenken. (François Villon - Ballade der gehangenen)
In over three months I practically never left the Broadway area. For one thing, I didn't have the right clothes. Just Western clothes - jeans and boots. But there on Forty-second Street nobody cares, it all rides - anything. My whole life, I never met so many freaks.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Haiku summary
Two cons kill family.
Reporter relates the tale
In fiction format.

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679745580, Paperback)

"Until one morning in mid-November of 1959, few Americans--in fact, few Kansans--had ever heard of Holcomb. Like the waters of the river, like the motorists on the highway, and like the yellow trains streaking down the Santa Fe tracks, drama, in the shape of exceptional happenings, had never stopped there." If all Truman Capote did was invent a new genre--journalism written with the language and structure of literature--this "nonfiction novel" about the brutal slaying of the Clutter family by two would-be robbers would be remembered as a trail-blazing experiment that has influenced countless writers. But Capote achieved more than that. He wrote a true masterpiece of creative nonfiction. The images of this tale continue to resonate in our minds: 16-year-old Nancy Clutter teaching a friend how to bake a cherry pie, Dick Hickock's black '49 Chevrolet sedan, Perry Smith's Gibson guitar and his dreams of gold in a tropical paradise--the blood on the walls and the final "thud-snap" of the rope-broken necks.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:29 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

An account of the senseless murder of a Kansas farm family and the search for the killers.

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June 2015: Truman Capote in Monthly Author Reads

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Penguin Australia

4 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141182571, 014103839X, 0141043083, 0241956838

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