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In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood (original 1966; edition 1994)

by Truman Capote

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
15,092310127 (4.16)1 / 571
Title:In Cold Blood
Authors:Truman Capote
Info:Vintage (1994), Edition: First Edition, Paperback, 343 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (1966)

  1. 70
    Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi (artturnerjr)
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    The Executioner's Song by Norman Mailer (VisibleGhost)
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  4. 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'.
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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 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
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English (287)  Spanish (9)  French (2)  Catalan (2)  Hungarian (1)  Dutch (1)  Norwegian (1)  Swedish (1)  Italian (1)  Danish (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (307)
Showing 1-5 of 287 (next | show all)
A psychological thriller, a novel based on the facts concerning the murder of the Clutter family in a small town in west Kansas. Includes in depth descriptions and character studies of the victims and of the criminals, as well as of the friends and family members of both, and of the detectives.
I was afraid to read this, afraid it would be too disturbing for me, but now that I have read it, I am glad I did. Mr. Capote was an excellent writer. From the beginning I was deeply involved in the lives of the family and of the perpetrators. However, there is some controversy; family members and others who knew Mr. and Mus. Clutter and their children are very unhappy with Capote's portrayal of them. And, there are some discrepancies with the facts of the case, as recorded in court records. I guess we can chalk that up to "poetic license," but I do think that Mr. Capote should have made that clear in his Acknowledgments section. ( )
  FancyHorse | Nov 28, 2015 |
This is an extraordinary narrative, mesmerically well-written, totally gripping, powerfully empathetic, never willing to indulge in oversimplistic moralizing (whether on the subject of mass murder or capital punishment), etc. I am not one given to crying over books, but this one had me in tears several times, sometimes at surprising moments (like the sale of the horse). I withhold the fifth star only because of a glaring weakness: the narrative's romanticizing Perry some sort of noble savage. So often, Capote is streets ahead of the you, anticipating your emotional reactions and undermining them in advance. So it is especially frustrating when you sense Capote being seduced by Perry's self-serving accounts of events. It seems like more than an artistic but even a moral failing. ( )
  middlemarchhare | Nov 25, 2015 |
It has taken me a long time to get around to reading this classic. Generally known to be the first true crime book, I was afraid it would be somewhat dated for a reader like me who reads a lot of true crime and non-fiction "novels". I couldn't have been more wrong! It's an excellent piece of work, brilliantly written, raw and very brutal. The book completely reads like fiction, being told from various characters points of view. Yet it never lets you forget that it is nonfiction as the author provides you with quotes from a multitude of sources both oral and written. Capote never refers to himself until the very last pages when he mentions the killers spoke to a journalist which one assumes means himself. I thought I knew this story of the Clutter murders as I'd seen the movie, with Robert Blake, and read brief accounts of it often enough so was surprised at how much I really didn't know about it at all. I haven't read Capote before and he is truly a master writer; you are able to feel the humanity in each and every character in this saga from victim to perpetrator to participant. The only thing I found a bit unsettling was that Perry Smith seemed to be the focus of the book as a whole. He's certainly the most interesting one from a psychological perspective but the author appears to have made actual friends with Perry and wants to tell his story. Capote also at a few points throughout the book and then, in one specific instance, makes a particular case for criminals being allowed to be declared "not guilty by reason of insanity" even if they know what they did was wrong. He believed Perry fell into this category. It's a fascinating literary piece of history. I read it very quickly and am so glad I have finally read it. I don't think it is an unbiased piece of work by any means, but it is a unique first-hand account. Reading a more modern account of the case in retrospect may be something I'd like to try at some point now. ( )
  ElizaJane | Oct 21, 2015 |
More than fifty years after its original publication, Truman Capote's In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences (the subtitle serves as a plot summary) still holds up well. Compared to most of the other true crime stories that I've read, however, this "non-fiction novel" moves at a exceedingly slow, deliberate pace. In several spots the narrative gets bogged down with unnecessary detail and digressions concerning unrelated crimes. A page turner, it is not. Still, Capote succeeds at revealing the humanity of not only the victims, but of the murderers as well. ( )
  akblanchard | Oct 21, 2015 |
Whenever I heard In Cold Blood described as a "non-fiction novel", I always thought they meant it was merely novelistic—well-written, with fully-embodied characters and a sharp grasp of description and narrative. Having finally read the book, I realize I didn't take the label literally enough.

Let's back up. In 1959, the small town of Holcomb, KS saw four family members methodically murdered within their own home, with no clear suspects or motives in sight. Hundreds of false leads and one multi-state manhunt later, police caught the two suspects, successfully brought them to trial, and executed them in 1965. Capote covered the events for The New Yorker—publishing the first version of In Cold Blood there before gathering it up in book form.

The traditional approach would be a methodical study of the facts, perhaps woven into the narrative of the trial itself. But Capote decided to embellish, and we're lucky he did. From the start, there's scenes (re-)constructed and characterizations that Capote… well, a generous term would be to say he "extrapolated". I'm not inclined to give him that much credit.

Yet, in spite of the clearly-manufactured renderings of characters and events that are sketchy at best, the book WORKS. If you accept it as a novel that happens to comport with facts, it's a marvelous experience. It's a shame that Capote pulled off the move so well because it inspired many lesser writers to try and fail spectacularly at the same. (Example: goddamn Eric Larson in The Devil in the White City.)

Part of why it works so well at a novel is because Capote constructs the scenes, accidentally or not, to support many different readings. Clarissa read the book first, and was struck by how much Capote was clearly, uh, enraptured by Perry Smith. I couldn't stop noticing the women being sidelined and reduced throughout the novel, and coping in their own ways that even Capote may not have recognized at the time. I have no idea how much any of it comports with reality, and I don't particularly care either.

Cool book overall, one I liked a lot more than I expected, even with Clarissa's glowing recommendation and all the accumulated street cred in the last fifty years. ( )
  lt_ammar_test_02 | Oct 19, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 287 (next | show all)
Authentic, harrowing reconstruction of the unmotivated murder of a family of four in small-town America, and the capture and conviction of their two young killers.
added by KayCliff | editNational Housewives Register Newsletter, Hazel K. Bell (Sep 1, 1976)
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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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'.
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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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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Penguin Australia

4 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141182571, 014103839X, 0141043083, 0241956838

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