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In Cold Blood (1965)

by Truman Capote

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
19,307389137 (4.14)2 / 762
National Bestseller  On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues.  As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy. In Cold Blood is a work that transcends its moment, yielding poignant insights into the nature of American violence.… (more)
  1. 80
    Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi (artturnerjr)
  2. 31
    The Executioner's Song by Norman Mailer (VisibleGhost)
  3. 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'.
  4. 20
    The Last Day of a Condemned Man by Victor Hugo (lilisin)
  5. 10
    Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee by Charles J. Shields (edwinbcn)
  6. 10
    Big Trouble: A Murder in a Small Western Town Sets Off a Struggle for the Soul of America by J. Anthony Lukas (FFortuna)
  7. 11
    So Long, See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell (Jesse_wiedinmyer)
  8. 00
    The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  9. 11
    Fame and Obscurity by Gay Talese (Ronoc)
  10. 11
    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.
  11. 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.
  12. 01
    Zeitoun by Dave Eggers (Othemts)
  13. 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.
  14. 01
    Capote in Kansas: A Ghost Story by Kim Powers (bnbookgirl)
  15. 08
    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 (357)  Spanish (9)  Italian (5)  Catalan (4)  French (3)  Dutch (3)  Hungarian (1)  Norwegian (1)  Hebrew (1)  Danish (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (386)
Showing 1-5 of 357 (next | show all)
I read the book at least 6 times over more than 30 years. I have lent it out and repurchased it when my copy wasn't returned ( or fell apart). The book is better than any of the film adaptations. This is the best example of a "wicked attraction" I have ever read about. ( )
  Chrissylou62 | Aug 1, 2020 |
Truman Capote included an enormous, really astounding amount of detail in this account. I was consistently impressed by how thorough his research was, and how much he knew about all the players involved. The focus of much of this detail is on the two killers, and Capote does an impressive job of helping the reader understand their lives, personalities, and motivations.

The most striking aspect of his portrait of the two killers is how mundane they are. What they did, viciously murder a helpless family, was extraordinary, but the men who did it were ordinary. Who they were, where they had come from, what they wanted in life--they seem like regular guys, because they are regular guys. And also something else mysterious and unrelatable, how they were able to do what they did, and apparently feel no remorse whatsoever afterwards. The banality of evil is what is most astounding.

Capote also devotes much detail to the victims, their friends and family, the town, the culture, and every little bit play. The detail is impressive, but at times exhausting. Particularly towards the beginning, the reader gets swamped with names and places and people, long transcripts of interviews and letters and investigator’s documents. The story often grinds to a halt, and it can be tedious to read. Once the story finally gets going, it really picks up. But early chapters are a bit of a slog.

The book also suffers from current readers’ inevitable distance to the original events. It has been over five decades since these occurred, a relatively minor murder in the history of criminal violence in America. Everyone involved is long gone. If this were a more recent event, the huge amount of detail might be more interesting. As is, it’s hard to tell if the details and the story are still relevant today.

As a portrait of two killers, In Cold Blood is fascinating. As a story, it’s often slow and sometimes tedious to read. ( )
  gloveswithpockets | May 28, 2020 |
Can't believe I never read this book before, but I grabbed it when it was on sale for Kindle. Even though this non fiction work was about a horrible slaying, the book was written extremely well. Capote alternated between reporting and story telling, and I had a hard time putting it down.

I found it particularly interesting since the murders occurred in the 50s, and crime solving was much different then. ( )
  ker95tx | May 27, 2020 |
Fantastic read. Truman Capote did an amazing job bringing to life the real-life murder of a family of four in rural Kansas in 1959. Read like a novel. ( )
  LisaMorr | May 23, 2020 |
I read this book many many years ago and remembered thinking that it was very good. And I remembered correctly. The first 2/3 of the book is brilliant ... totally 5-star stuff. But then it gets bogged down during the trial and further bogged down on death row with extraneous descriptions of the psychiatrist notes in the former case and the crimes of the other death row residents in the latter case. Those passages really impacted the readability of the book. It went from being very, very compelling to very tedious. I just wanted to get through the last 50 pages. When Capote focuses on the main story and the man "characters" in it, the book is an amazing work of art. ( )
  AliceAnna | May 21, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 357 (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 (21 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Capote, TrumanAuthorprimary 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
Thomson, RupertIntroductionsecondary 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
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.)
Disambiguation notice
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Book description
Haiku summary
Two cons kill family.
Reporter relates the tale
In fiction format.

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Average: (4.14)
0.5 1
1 33
1.5 11
2 140
2.5 39
3 700
3.5 209
4 1893
4.5 256
5 1871

Penguin Australia

4 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141182571, 014103839X, 0141043083, 0241956838

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