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In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
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In Cold Blood (original 1965; edition 2011)

by Truman Capote, Rupert Thomson (Introduction)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
14,493280138 (4.16)541
Member:letterpress
Title:In Cold Blood
Authors:Truman Capote (Author)
Other authors:Rupert Thomson (Introduction)
Info:The Folio Society, Hardcover, 2011
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:Crime, Biography, Reportage, Folio Society

Work details

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (1965)

Recently added byangw11, Fergus_Cooper, private library, MyraRamirez, Erevos
Legacy LibrariesNewton 'Bud' Flounders, Astrid Lindgren
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» See also 541 mentions

English (260)  Spanish (8)  French (2)  Catalan (2)  Hungarian (1)  Dutch (1)  Norwegian (1)  Swedish (1)  Italian (1)  Danish (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (279)
Showing 1-5 of 260 (next | show all)
In 1959 a farmer from Holcomb, Kansas was killed along with his wife and two of his four children by a couple of two-bit thieves. This brutal crime spawned a desperate search for the killers who left bloody footprints at the murder scene. From petty crime to mass murder, In Cold Blood tells the story from murder to the gallows where they were executed by hanging.

In the Truman Capote literary masterpiece, it is easy to consider In Cold Blood a crime novel; it has shades of pulp and southern gothic throughout the book. However this journalistic investigation has often been cited as the first and best example of the non-fiction genre known as true crime. While there have been true crime books before In Cold Blood, this book did redefine the genre. Capote likes to call his book a non-fiction novel which he defined in an interview with The New Your Times as “a narrative form that employed all techniques of fictional art, but was nevertheless immaculately factual”.

However this is not just a book about the brutal murder of the Clutter family; we also get a Capote’s depiction of rural America. Outside the details of the crime, the author paints a descriptive backdrop of Kansas, the way he sees it. Religion, masculinity, femininity, the nuclear family and small town communities all play a big part in developing the scene. When he talks about the crime, the reader gets to explore the psychological motivations of murder and awaiting execution.

There is the issue of mental illness that needs to be explored when talking about In Cold Blood. It is almost like Truman Capote wants to challenge the reader to consider if Perry and Dick suffered from an untreated mental illness. There are shade of delusional, depression, schizophrenia and a sociopathic personality that comes through when talking about these two people but as this is 1959 I expect no psychological consult or treatment were given to these men; the court rejected the request.

I expected a true crime book but I feel like In Cold Blood was trying to do something similar to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey and The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. I was very impressed with this book and I feel like Capote may have ruined true crime and even narrative non-fiction for the rest of the authors in these genres. Capote’s investigational skills and mastery over the written word is what makes this book a masterpiece.

This review originally appeared on my blog: http://literary-exploration.com/2014/08/30/in-cold-blood-by-truman-capote/ ( )
  knowledge_lost | Dec 8, 2014 |
I remember watching the movie, "Capote", with Philip Seymore Hoffman--I loved him, and I thought he was great in that role. He won the Oscar for it! However, I felt like the story itself was a bit on the boring side. (I preferred Capote's "Breakfast at Tiffany's", though I would much rather watch THAT movie!)

Anyway, I was surprised, when I picked up this book, that it reads like a novel. I mean, it's all about events that really took place--and close to where I live, too. But it didn't read like a dry documentary or even like a biography. The way Capote wrote it, it seriously felt like a novel. I was so pleased! I knew what was going to happen in the end, yet I couldn't put it down! ( )
  trayceetee | Nov 15, 2014 |
This was, surprisingly, the first true crime novel I have ever read, which is good because it was the start of the genre. I'm very glad i read it!
Capote has a great, engaging writing style. I often forgot that I was reading an account of real life.
Definitely glad I read this. ( )
  ariel.kirst | Nov 14, 2014 |
This was a pretty good book, kind of sad. Dick and Perry decide to rob the Clutter family. When they couldn't get much in the way of money they murdered the whole family. This book really challenged my views on capital punishment. One person in the book said it was revenge. I really don't know how I feel about it. The writing was good. A little slow at times but overall it was entertaining. ( )
  bwhitner | Nov 3, 2014 |
I think that an author who can reveal the killers near the beginning, and not only get their reader to finish, but to NONSTOP read the book is indeed highly skilled.

I've always greatly enjoyed murder mysteries, or real life murder stories, etc. mainly for the psychological component of both the criminals and those affected by the crimes. This book encompasses everything I love about crime novel. Amazing! ( )
  Czarmoriarty | Aug 26, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 260 (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 (82 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
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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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:22:02 -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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