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In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
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In Cold Blood (original 1965; edition 2000)

by Truman Capote

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
14,872299133 (4.16)1 / 560
Member:racheleanore
Title:In Cold Blood
Authors:Truman Capote
Info:Penguin Classics (2000), Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:2009, non-fiction

Work details

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (1965)

  1. 70
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    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'.
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    The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson (BookshelfMonstrosity)
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    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.
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    The Family of Pascual Duarte by Camilo Jose Cela (caflores)
    caflores: Dos historias sobre violencia provocada por el ambiente, y dos narraciones crudas y frías.
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    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.
  14. 01
    Capote in Kansas: A Ghost Story by Kim Powers (bnbookgirl)
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    I am Charlotte Simmons 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 (278)  Spanish (9)  French (2)  Catalan (2)  Hungarian (1)  Dutch (1)  Norwegian (1)  Swedish (1)  Italian (1)  Danish (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (298)
Showing 1-5 of 278 (next | show all)
I don't know what to say. I can't see how my review can do this work any justice whatsoever.

I started crying and put my head in the book inbetween two pages, where I still had maybe ten pages left to read. Chills. Goosebumps all over my body. I had an overwhelming feeling that the real people that this book is about—some of whom are still alive—were swarming around me, hands on my back, faces in my face, their thoughts in my head…

This book is about two murderers and the four people that they killed. It is about the people that found them, prosecuted them, and followed the case until the end.


I believe that killers--murderers of innocent human beings--are innocent in their own right. I believe that if you are going to do something so awful as to kill an innocent human being, that there is something significantly different in your emotional makeup. I feel that you should not be railroaded into a judicial system that applies a single law to various widely differing types of human nature.

I can't pull together all of my thoughts about this book and frankly if I were able to I would be shocked. I feel so intensely about Perry, and Dick, and Herb Clutter, and Dewey, and Dick's mom, and everybody, down to Bobby Rupp. I don't know these people and I never will, but I feel so very intensely about their lives and deaths and everything inbetween.

I doubt I'll ever be able to put my thoughts on this book into coherent writing, but if I do, I feel I will have "figured it all out".... I think it's all up there in my head, floating around, waiting to be categorized and sequenced and understood and written down to be examined...

Thank you Truman Capote, for this work of art. ( )
  Proustitutes | Jun 11, 2015 |
I have mixed feelings about In Cold Blood. On one hand, this is a book that pioneered interesting and elegantly-crafted non-fiction. Although there are moments when the story gets bogged down by legal or court details, for the most part In Cold Blood reads like a novel. On the other hand, the success of this book ushered in an era of over-sensationalized true crime and non-fiction works that speculated and outright lied about what really happened.

On its own, In Cold Blood is certainly riveting and, at times, gorgeously rendered. Some of the scenes come across as masterfully written fiction; of course, if you research the book after reading it, you'll find that some actually were fiction. Veracity aside, I was intrigued and disgusted by the Clutter family crime. I think having always lived in Kansas (though I'd never heard of Holcomb prior to reading this book) helped keep my interest. As I mentioned earlier, the story does drag from time to time, but not horribly so. Also, I'd have liked to have known more about Harper Lee's involvement, but I guess that's material for a different book. ( )
  chrisblocker | May 12, 2015 |
This was a very well-written book! That probably wouldn't have surprised most people but it sure as heck surprised me. Although the beginning was a little slow, the buildup was perfectly orchestrated and there were even a couple of surprising twists. The author did such a great job at giving us the background of the killers (especially Perry) that I felt actual sympathy; forgetting what heinous acts they would later commit. ( )
  jimocracy | Apr 18, 2015 |
"The suffering. The horror. They were dead. A whole family. Gentle, kindly people, people I knew - murdered.",, April 18, 2015


This review is from: In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and its Consequences (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
An absolutely brilliant reconstruction of the 1959 mass murder of a whole family in a remote Kansas town, by two drifters for no very logical reason. Capote sets the scene brilliantly in the first chapter, as he jumps from the family living their ordinary day to the two murderers, chatting, driving. The reader knows an awful event is about to happen; as little events happen, such as the neighbour's child coming over to visit, you wonder whether she is going to be harmed or will she get away in time...
In the 3 succeeding chapters, the police are looking for these 'persons unknown' until the answer presents itself. And throughout we learn more of the killers, though not enough to comprehend their motivation.
Shocking and highly readable. ( )
  starbox | Apr 18, 2015 |
"I think there must be something wrong with us, to go and do something like that."--Perry Smith

The progenitor of the true crime genre, Truman Capote's 1966 sensation In Cold Blood is a survey of the cultural and psychological landscape that provided the setting for one of the most senseless mass murders in U.S. history. Capote's mesmerizing account makes it almost possible to understand how two men could murder a family of four they had never met for less than fifty dollars.

The Clutter family of Holcomb, Kansas was a paragon of the American dream, and their brutal murders by gunshot in the small hours of November 15, 1959 bred a terror in the farming community that continued to haunt it long after the murderers Richard "Dick" Hickock and Perry Smith were captured and eventually executed. Capote became intrigued with the story in 1959 before the murders had been solved, and along with his close friend Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird, 1960), spent the next six years compiling hundreds of hours of recorded interviews, thousands of pages of notes, and eventually a story of such far-reaching psychological insight, that the three motion pictures made about Capote's story are still overshadowed by the genius of the original work.

In fluid journalistic prose, Capote invites the reader to share in the deepest motivations of the people of Holcomb as he illustrates through their candid conversations Holcomb's Republican, Christian, and agricultural values, its starkly beautiful landscape, its down-to-earth and kindly people. He interweaves this moving pastiche with an equally detailed history of two men who subverted the social and legal systems over the span of their short lives until they found themselves at a cross-roads manufactured by fate, their violent tendencies, and the complex effect of their relationship on each other's capabilities. Capote's knockout achievement, through the murderers' conversations with each other, their letters to family members, their autobiographical statements, their interviews with journalists, is to provoke a deeper sympathy in the reader for actual killer Perry Smith and his possible insanity than for his dead-eyed partner in crime, sociopath Dick Hickock. I've never read an account that plumbs the depths of anti-social crime with such chilling profundity. ( )
  Sarah_Beaudette | Apr 13, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 278 (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 (25 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Capote, Trumanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Borràs, Maria LluïsaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Breckan, Eldor MartinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brick, ScottNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cornips, ThérèseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dettore, MariapaolaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Larsstuvold, RuneForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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People/Characters
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Epigraph
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.
Dedication
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'.
Quotations
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Wikipedia in English (4)

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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 12 descriptions

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