In Cold Blood
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In Cold Blood was a groundbreaking work when released in 1966. With it, author Truman Capote contributed to a style of writing in which the reporter gets so far inside the subject, becomes so familiar, that he projects events and conversations as if he were really there. The style has probably never been accomplished better than in this book. Capote combined painstaking research with a narrative feel to produce one of the most spellbinding stories ever put on the page. Two two-time losers living in a lonely house in western Kansas are out to make the heist of their life, but when things don't go as planned, the robbery turns ugly. From there, the book is a real-life look into murder, prison, and the criminal mind.

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.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews:

  • The first true crime book is still the best
    Truman Capote arguably invented true crime, and still dominates with this spectacular classic. He took years to finish this book, his last book, and it shows in the brilliant prose. This is among my favorite books of all time. I recommend to everyone....more info
  • A classic
    I bought this book when i bought Breakfast at Tiffany's. And I am so glad I did. I had never heard of it before but now that I have read it I don't know how I could never have heard of it. I am a big true crime fiend, and I also love fiction. This combined the two so nicely. It was brilliantly and beautifully written from the beginning to the end I can't think of any of it that did not engross me. I couldn't put it down once I started....more info
  • Horrifyingly magnificent.
    'In Cold Blood' is one of the best books of all time. It should be required reading in all beginning college lit courses, if not in high school. I first read 'In Cold Blood' as a junior in high school (in the 80s), and I read it in one sitting- straight through the night- just because I couldn't put it down. I have recently purchased this newer edition, because this book is worth reading again.

    To begin with, Truman Capote, for all his notoriety, was an incredible writer, and this book is one of his finest. The gritty and depressing existence of Dick and Perry that leads up to one horrific night in Kansas is so vividly represented, you feel all the more frightened as you are reading it, because it seems you have become witness to the absolute terror and brutality perpetrated on an innocent family by these two men. Truman Capote not only presents in graphic detail the horrors of this night, but he also reveals the personalities of Dick and Perry in such a way that, even though they are despicable human beings, you may feel a twinge of sorrow for them. The birth of each man's anger, and the inability of either one of them to integrate into society, was formed in childhoods of abuse. It truly is amazing how Capote got inside the heads of these pathetic men, capturing the pervasive sadness and despair, bizarrely coupled with hope for a "normal" future. The relationship of Dick and Perry is almost a symbiotic one. Separately, they may not have done what they did, but together, they are lethal. The gullibility of a person, who never felt like he belonged, combined with another person who thinks he needs to exact revenge on society- it's a sick combination of pack mentality and ignorance. Eventually, all of this culminates into a night of terror in Kansas wrought by these two men. The portrayal is so graphic in nature; no one could read it without being rendered silently stunned by the horror of it all. The sadness felt for this totally unsuspecting and wholly innocent family is overwhelming. Certainly there have been similar crimes, but the representation of it by Capote, and the intrinsic knowledge of these two men, makes you feel you had a front row view of the whole thing.

    `In Cold Blood' is less about the particulars of that awful crime one horrific night in Kansas; it is more about the insidiousness of what childhood abuse and feeling disenfranchised can do to a person. It would be easy to focus on the horror and sadness of this massacre, but the brilliance of Capote is that the focus is placed on the murderers and trying to engender compassion from the reader for them. With Capote's vision in writing, he almost gets us there. After the capture and imprisonment of these two men, you can physically feel the fear in their hearts for their own condemnation. Perry's fear of execution is especially haunting. This book is a must read for anyone who likes to read and makes no difference that it was written 40 years ago. It transcends all genres, because even though the story is horrific, the writing is phenomenal, and you will NEVER forget it....more info
  • Good Book
    It's an American classic and I'm glad I finally read it. I'm not sure if the younger generations will appreciate it as much. ...more info
  • The reputation is well-deserved...
    Truman Capote may have been a dwarfish freak-show with a ridiculous voice...but the guy knew how to write. This is an excellent book. Not what I'd call a "masterpiece" along the lines of Lolita, but certainly right up there with Tom Wolfe's best.

    It's a book which you should read, and which you'll have no trouble finishing. It may not be 100% factually accurate, but the level of the prose is top-flight, and the pages seemingly turn of their own accord. You can tell Capote spent six years working on it, getting it "just right."

    There really isn't much more to say...except that its omission from the MLA 100--a list including such dreck as On the Road--is outrageous. ...more info
  • Spectacular-Just Can't Say Enough About It
    Somehow, I just found myself greatly amazed by the way that this book really discusses ethics (e.g. the death penalty) and the viewpoints/biases of the different characters. I had feared this book was going to be a disturbing psychodrama, with descriptions of pain and suffering en masse; however, it is a philosophical writing that doesn't use shock tactics to frighten the reader.

    The book tells the true story of the wealthy Clutter family, murdered one night by two men, Perry Smith and Dick Hickok. Truman Capote flawlessly moves between the stories of the killers and the townspeople, showing how everything from complex upbringings to social interactions created the psychological tragedy that was the brutal Clutter murder, as well as the turmoil and fear that followed in the tiny Kansas village. Through primary-source recollections by several people involved in the incident, one learns of the conflict and the mysteries it beheld, from its initial conception in the mind of Dick Hickok to the execution of the murderers. All in all, this makes for a compelling read that will really make the reader consider their opinions and beliefs about life's hardships, obligations, and the power of justice....more info
  • Capote is to be Respected for this work
    The classic true crime book written by the famed Truman Capote earned its place in history as the first book of its nature - an attempt to combine journalism with storytelling for the purpose of creating a compelling tale. In this sense, the book doesn't disappoint at all. It was well chronicled and sometimes even overly inclusive of the facts, testimonies, and articles published from various accounts surrounding the murder that this book covered.

    I was greatly interested in the pyschological picture painted of the two men who were guilty of the murder and I was also equally interested in the way the book was organized. From the beginning, the reader not only knows exactly who was to be killed, but also who was to do it.

    On the other hand, the way the story was told was through what seemed to this reader to be long winded paragraphs portraying things such as the architecture, weather, or setting which didn't seem to add to the story in any way for me (though, in his favor, I must say that it also didn't take away from the story either).

    Also, while I am someone who is 100 percent against the death penalty, it was somewhat off-putting that the last half of the 4th part seemed to be nothing but propaganda against the death penalty. I did feel that this took away from the author's intent which I understand to be to tell the story, as objectively as possible, presented as factual while still making it compelling. Besides the death penalty propaganda, this was achieved.

    Since his writing of this book, more true crime stories have followed, some in which this reader even prefers. However, one must take into account while reading this book the risk Capote took while undertaking such a risk in writing and appreciate and respect him as an author for making that risk work....more info
  • Heart-wrenching

    A book that has stood the test of time. First released in 1965, it hasn't dated at all. A true account of the brutal slaying of four members of a rural Kansas family and the subsequent apprehension of the murderous duo. A fascinating, highly-engaging, harrowing, and moving tale of evil that lurks within the hearts of men.

    The book proved to be highly controversial upon its release since it seemed to make a genuine effort not only to understand the social factors that help shape the making of a psychopath, but also to understand the points-of-view, however horrifying and disgusting as they maybe, of the perpetrators of the crime.

    Though, this novel does not overtly give away the fact, but Truman Capote got deeply involved with the killers who had slain the Kansas family. In particular, he felt very strongly for Perry Smith, whom he thought had a very similar childhood as his own. Capote used to say that Perry and him lived in the same house as children, and the only reason their lives took different directions was the fact that Capote chose to exit that house from the front, while Perry chose the back door....more info
  • Brutal Event in Journalistic Focus
    This book is essentially a detailed and well-crafted piece of journalism with the level and quality of detail to bring it into horrific focus. One gets access to all sides of the murders of a family from the effect on the close relatives and friends to the emotional states of the murderers themselves and their final demise at the end of a rope. No one can escape this book without a large emotional wallop that will leave one's mind reverberating for some time. The book additionally invites questions concerning the limits and boundaries of journalistic integrity. When does the journalist step beyond his role as observer and become part of the story? And...Should the journalist do so and thus change outcomes? Disturbingly provocative in many ways....more info
  • In Cold Blood in a new edition
    This is a great read, a great novel, and a great edition. Capote's work, his illuminating approach to life, exemplified by the contrasts of the killers, the victims, and the hunters of the killers, is a great work of art.

    The book reproduces the original 1965 edition and although the paper is not as heavy, it certainly beats the previous smaller Modern Library edition.

    When will publishers learn that in order to compete with Brittany Spears, life, death, taxes, and childbirth, they need to give readers beautiful editions with real cloth covers and heavy cream paper, something to treasure. Not some cheap cardboard edition such as, say, my collected Ginsberg, which already is turning brown and edging out of the binding. I'd rather pay another dollar for a $50 book and get something that will stay intact....more info
  • To Like or Dislike....That Is the Question
    The nonfiction book In Cold Blood, written by Truman Capote, is a psychological thriller of sorts based on the quadruple homicide of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas, 1959. The story follows the events of both the Clutters and the murderers before the murders, and continues to follow the murderers, as well as the investigators of the case, through the rest of the novel.
    I thought it was very smart the way Capote divided the main structure of the book into 4 separate sections: The Last to See Them Alive, Persons Unknown, Answer, and The Corner. This separation helped more in following the different events and stages of what happened: [before] the murder, the investigation, the answers, and the conviction.
    Another aspect of the structure that I enjoyed was how Capote wrote the novel presenting perspectives and point-of-views of both the Clutters/investigators/townspeople and the murders `simultaneously'. This helped to create a timeline for things also occurring simultaneously, for example, while Nancy Clutter was baking cherry pies, the murderers were trying to buy pantyhose to wear over their heads.
    I admire the research behind this novel. Capote took initiative to get to know the murderers' story, as well as that of the Clutter/investigators and bystanders of the story. Usually, non-fiction novels are written in support of the victim to show and bring justice and light to how gruesome a slaying it was; this book did this, but also `gave' something to the murderers by letting us (the readers) get insight into their lives and giving us one-on-one time with their stories (family background may have caused adult deviance).
    Even though I enjoyed most of the book, and how it presented opposing perspectives, it sometimes became confusing and/or annoying. Capote would write in perspectives/dialogue from characters that didn't provide anything to the story, other than the fact that they `didn't know the Clutters, but heard of how nice a family they were'.
    ...more info
  • Yes, it's good
    People will pick this book up for a lot of reasons: the famous title (and movie); the treatment in the recent movie about Truman Capote; curiosity about this classic work; fascination with 'true crime,' and other reasons. I read it for the first reason, but with a little skepticism for the fawning over Capote and his own historic fascination with the killers Dick Hickock and Perry Smith. What I found was, simply, a very well written book. That the subject matter is a brutal and outragous mass murder is almost an unsavory distraction from the fact that the story is so well told. To my surprise, Capote was never unduly sympathetic to the killers in his writings (as I had been led to believe that he had been). For that matter, the family of victims were themselves portrayed without sentiment. Capote simply built the story very well and painted a complete picture that makes the reader (even nearly 50 years after the incidents occurred) feel the he/she knows all of the players intimately. The crime itself (like other lesser crimes committed by these morons) was disgusting, but, from a literary perspective, I was pleased to be made to literally squirm as Capote lays the story out (again, this is 50 years later). Capote was writing in a more censored society - thus we are mercifully spared many of the gory details. Yet I wonder whether any writer could have communicated the brutality any 'better' - just as old movies use clever techniques to communicate the sex scene (the ol' train going into the tunnel), Capote makes the crime quite clear without having to paint the scene. Masterful.
    Two more quick comments. One of the delights of this book is seeing the world of America in 1959. As the reader follows the two aforementioned morons around the USA (and Mexico) on their post-massacre weeks long search for money, work, and happiness, we are treated to a travelogue filled with diners, stolen '56 Chevys, hitchhikers, and Route 66. We also see the challenges of police work before DNA tests, computerized tools, and high-speed communications - and we're amazed that they identified their killers and found them 2,000 miles away. Also, Capote's sense of timing was marvelous. For example, the reader is taken deep into the book (and long past the occurrence of the murders) before Capote reveals the play-by-play of what went on in that house - and when the story is told, it comes from the lips of the shooter himself. Chilling.
    I knew about Capote and read a little of his other stuff, but didn't appreciate his gift until I read his masterpiece on the bizarre subject of crime and punishment: In Cold Blood. A must for your canon....more info
  • Anarachy in the heartland : an American story
    An excellent piece of investigative journalism. Although called the first "non-fiction novel" I don't consider it a novel. To do so would suppose that journalism is objective, it is not, and anyway by most accounts Capote mostly got it right. It's gripping journalism, extremely well researched, and very American. The juxtaposition of Capote, a liberal New Yorker, among the conservative mid-westerners should not go unnoticed. It strikes a chord with the American paradoxical character of "the new" versus "stability"; change versus safety; the search for frontier versus authenticity; the fear of anarchy versus the fear of authority; liberal versus conservative. On the one side the ultimate in safety, security and authority is represented by the Clutter family - and on the opposite side the killers, younger and free, represent change, "the new" and anarchy. Capote instinctively tapped into this dialectic and became part of it himself as an upstart homosexual New Yorker in the middle of stable, secure and patriarchal Kansas. This sort of "meta" author mirroring the story is the real aesthetic and creative achievement that has kept it a classic while later "new journalism" works, characterized by their use of literary techniques applied to non-fiction, have rarely if ever exceeded Capote's initial genesis....more info
  • Capote: In The Eyes Of Killers
    In Cold Blood is a great thriller. It keeps you in suspense throughout the whole book about what the verdict will be. While living in prison, they talk about killing and robbing the family once they got out, and then they actually go through with it. There is this very nice family who gets murderered by two individuals that just got out of prison. They try running away, but come back to town and get caught. This book is not only suspenseful, but all of the while it keeps you interested. ...more info
  • Capote brings the 60s alive
    This is my first Capote book and I wasn't disappointed. He has a style best called a page turner. Without confusion he lets the reader progress forward as real events unfold, adds history of an event, and then brings you back in real time. Some writers try this montage effect and only create confusion. Capote weaves the two together and allows the reader to process the sequence of events. Very clever, very readable and a very satisfying read. Would recommend this to any first time Capote reader and you don't have to be an intellectual to enjoy it....more info
  • Wow, Great Read!
    Just finished this book and had to write a review for it. It's been years since I've read a book that is so difficult to put down! This was my first book by Capote and I just ordered 2 more by him. It's amazing that this is a true story and Capote is brilliant with his presentation of this gruesome crime story. ...more info
  • Must have been quite significant at the time
    Murder in small town, homosexual overtones, graphic descriptions - must have really shook up the world in 1966. Even today is a captivating read. Capote has a way with words and that makes this story probably more entertaining than it should be. He paints the time very well and as the reader you go back to a much different time....more info
  • A classic, a literary masterpiece
    It started with a few sentences in the back of The New York Times about a seemingly senseless murder in Kansas. Truman Capote read this brief article and decided to invent a completely new genre of writing, the non-fiction novel. This book is the result of Capote's research with Harper Lee and moved the murders of the Clutter family from the back of The NY Times to the front of the bestseller lists.

    The book starts by introducing us to Herb Clutter and his family. Capote builds a description of a decent, kind, generous, respected, and hardworking family. Although Capote built a reputation as a flamboyant character, he shows enormous respect for the Clutters. Inter-weaved with his description of the Clutters is his description of the two men, Dick Hickock and Perry Smith, who are about to destroy this family. The suspense builds as the killers get closer and closer. Capote then skips ahead to the discovery of the bodies and we are left knowing what happened but not how or why.

    The next section of the book inter-weaves the movements of the killers with the story of the investigators trying to discover their identity. Slowly we learn more and more about the nature and background of these two sociopaths. Meanwhile, the investigation struggles forward until a lucky break leads to the capture. At this point, we finally learn what happened the night of the killings in the words of the killers themselves. The final section details the trial and ultimate punishment of Hickock and Smith.

    The book is brilliantly written. Although there have been questions about the complete accuracy of the story (Capote never took notes during interviews and the book has no footnotes) it is still a compelling and frightening book. The combination of creative writing with journalism created a new genre of writing and makes every other "true crime" book read like a high school project. Capote pulls his readers into the story creating empathy for the victims (the dead as well as the living) while letting us see into the minds of the killers as well as Hickock and Smith were ever able to see into themselves. This is a book that is a classic, a literary masterpiece even if it isn't an example of perfect accuracy. It is a must read....more info
  • Stunning
    This was truly a work of genius and I can't believe I waited this long to read it. The "backstory" -- Capote's life, Harper Lee's profound contributions to this work, as well as Capote's complete failure to acknowledge her contribution -- is fascinating on its own. The novel itself lives up to its reputation, and has an ageless, universal quality. It is incredibly thought-provoking, and Capote plumbs the depths of the subject matter like a true master. He apparently was a rather despicable person, but with this work he has made a significant contribution to the race of humans he lived among so uncomfortably. ...more info
  • Still Shocking After All These Years
    This True Crime type of novel is a departure from the type of book that I usually prefer, but it had been sitting in my wish list for ages---I decided to order it up to my Kindle and take a break from vampires and werewolves.

    Having grown up in New York City, surrounded by tales or murder and mayhem on our nightly news, I'd thought myself too jaded to be moved by the account of a murder committed 50 years ago. I was wrong.

    As I read through Capote's re-enactment of the crime and subsequent investigation (think `America's Most Wanted' where conversations and events are projected from the facts, so that you are placed into the middle of the events and motivations of all involved) I found myself horrified by the grisly murders, petty motives and the sad loss of life.

    I also felt a small glimmer of pity for the killers...they seemed doomed from the start to become what they were by difficult childhoods and freak accidents. A very, very small glimmer, though.

    At any rate, it took me about a week to get through this book. The subject matter is so heavy, that I felt the need to occasionally flip to something lighter just to break it up.

    I would recommend In Cold Blood to someone looking for a masterfully-written, thought-provoking read.
    ...more info
  • Great psychological profile
    Now, I know this book is historically significant as one of the first "true crime" novels - a founder of the non-fiction novel genre - but that wasn't really important to me. I prefer to read things without historical context and judge how they hold up to modern standards. That said, I enjoyed the book a lot. This novel took an interesting twist from the usual crime story fare: the reader knows up front who was murdered and who did it. The only questions are "why" (and to some extent "what exactly happened"). Risky, I think, because it is tough to build suspense when the outcome is certain. But it worked well here for the most part.

    The beginning was by far the slowest section of the book, with Capote taking his time setting up the scene and describing the family. I know he tried very hard to get us attached to the characters quickly - perhaps a little too hard? Things really started to pick up around Part 2 when Capote set into a detailed profile of the killers. This was interesting stuff! The organization was executed well, and I liked the shifts between character perspectives.

    The third part blew me away. I won't say much about it, except that I would have cried if I hadn't been on a plane at the time. It was that moving. The last section was mostly just intellectually interesting. The book left quite a bit for me to think on. Unfortunately I don't want to share those thoughts here, because I'd be giving away story elements!

    In the end, I think, Capote wanted to use his book as a commentary on the death penalty and American violence. For me, it didn't exactly succeed in either of those aspects. But what it did do was to provide a sound, well-researched and interesting psychological profile of two very different killers involved in the same crime. Yes, some parts dragged, and (I felt) the writing was at times flat, but all in all a worthy read....more info
  • Crime, punishment, and more
    In Cold Blood by Truman Capote was published in 1966, and is based on events that happened almost fifty years ago. The events were real. This is not a work of fiction. The Clutters, an appropriately surnamed Kansas family, have their own complications within their rambling homestead. What family doesn't? Clutter the father is a farmer. Who isn't in these parts? Life is not so productive of late. Whose is? The two younger children, a daughter and a son, still live in. The others have left, happily.

    And then, in November 1959, the four Clutters are found gagged, apart from the mother, all with their throats cut and their brains blown out by shotgun fire. The community is in turmoil. No-one can explain why anyone might have wanted to kill a whole family in Holcomb, a small, poor, rural community in the mid-West Bible belt.

    Hickock (Hicock) and Smith are two lads on the move. Their families might be dysfunctional. On the other hand they might not. Their socialisation might have been lacking. On the other hand it might not. For whatever reason, individually and collectively they prey on others, prey in a way that renders them culpable, detectable and ultimately punishable. They know thieving is wrong. So, one of them says, we've stolen lives, so it must be serious. It was the two of them that pulled the trigger, that blew brains out, that slit throats, that did not quite commit rape. There are limits. And all for forty dollars and a transistor radio.

    I give nothing of this book away when I reveal that the two lads did commit the murders - exactly how no-one ever admitted - and that, after years of litigious wrangling, both were hanged. The strength of In Cold Blood is not what happens, but how it happens.

    Truman Capote offers us a vast book in just four sustained chapters, each of which is sub-divided as the narrative shifts between aspects of the different protagonists' lives. Throughout, the style is much more complex than mere journalism, but the clarity with which it communicates is at times breathtaking. We hear from those directly involved, both victims and perpetrators, their families, the police, the judiciary, the neighbours, the lawyers, the passers-by, the acquaintances, the cellmates. The detail is forensic.

    It is essential that the reader is constantly reminded that this is not fiction. Truman Capote offers dialogue where a journalist would report, offers interpretation where an historian would defer, offer opinion where an observer might decline. And so In Cold Blood becomes and absorbing, multi-faceted, mid-twentieth century reworking of Crime And Punishment. The crucial difference that the intervening years have generated is that where the latter concentrated on the individual circumstances and motives of the perpetrator, In Cold Blood explores the social and the contextual alongside the psychological.

    And this is where the book becomes deeply disturbing, because it seems to suggest that the individuality that contemporary society seems to demand of us might itself promote a degree of self-centredness, of selfishness, perhaps, that might give rise to nothing less than contempt for others. In the forty years since the publication of In Cold Blood, it could be argued that such pressures might have increased. Frightening, indeed.
    ...more info
  • Masterful
    I had heard of Trumane Capote but never knew much about him. I had developed an image of a social gadfly who was famous simply for being famous. After seeing the movie "Capote", I thought I'd read his book, "In Cold Blood". It is terrific! The pointless murder of a midwestern farm family in the 1950's is not a subject I would otherwise be drawn to, but the quality of Capote's writing transcends the subject. It is a book you read just for the pleasure of reading rich, thoughtful and insightful prose. ...more info
  • A Commentary on our 21st Century Culture
    I was a child when In Cold Blood was first published but remember the adults in my life talking about this controversial novel. After watching the two recent Truman Capote biopics (Capote and Infamous), I thought I should read it. I was surprised how much this 40+ year old book had to say about the anger, polarization and general lack of civility in today's society. A family is senselessly murdered in a small town in Kansas. Everyone in the town of 6,000 knew this family. After the murderers are apprehended, each minister in this community of 21 churches stood at his pulpit and spokeout AGAINST the capital punishment. Relatives of the slain family wrote a letter published in the local newspaper asking that prosecutors not pursue the death penalty. And when the murderers are returned to Kansas and are walked into the jail for booking, the audience who has gathered for this spectacle stands nearly silent. The town's citizens are relieved that it was strangers who commited this attrocity and they no longer have to eye their neighbors suspiciously. There is little talk of revenge or a sense of closure via the death penalty. What a fascinating view of our society on the cusp of the revolution of the 1960's and 1970's. READ THIS BOOK! ...more info
  • Amazing story..........
    This was an amazing story. I had seen the movie "Capote" and decided that I must read the story myself. It was amazing. Held my interest from page one. I couldn't put it down. It came out in the 50's but is actually timeless. I highly recommend it. ...more info
  • What a great novel this would be...
    ...if it only were one! I would feel so much better liking it. It is a brilliant piece of borderline writing, mixing 'fiction' and journalism.

    Unfortunately it also seems to have done something highly immoral, if the story as told by the movie 'Capote' is correct: it seems that Capote deceived the killers, who are his subject of observation, into seeing him as 'on their side', ie supporting their defense. He befriended them, including unclear levels of personal attraction,and made one of them open himself up to him. The killer seems to have actually confessed to Capote. Then Capote published the book in a rush before the legal procedings were over, thus cementing the death sentence for his 'friends'. (Somehow Heisenberg with his uncertainty principle, das Unschaerfeprinzip, comes to mind - I just happen to have read something about it yesterday - : observations and measurements will influence the object of the observation. Not quite meant in the same context of course.)

    While I am in principle against the death penalty, I can't quite manage to regret that these two mass murderers were hanged. But still.
    The book describes life and death in Western Kansas in 1959. Two jailbirds kill 4 members from a wealthy farmer's family 'in cold blood'. The book claims early on, that the killers had singled out this specific farm, following hints from an informer, and that they went there with the intention to rob and kill.
    Capote crawls into the minds and lives of the protagonists and witnesses in an uncannily believable way. This is so well constructed that it should be a novel. Real life can never be that plausible.

    I had picked the book up from a corner of a shelf that I wanted to re-arrange. I started to read it and much against my expectations, I found it good. My expectations were different for various reasons. Antipathy based on P.S.Hoffman's character in the movie is one reason. My recollection that I was bored by a German translation 35 years ago is another. (Could have been a bad translation or could have been a bad reader.) My failure to like Capote's short stories yet another. My recent reading of Gore Vidal's two volume memoirs yet another: these two guys hated each others' guts.

    I started reading this with the intention to give it away afterwards for a charity second hand book sale. Can't do that now.

    ...more info
  • Good Book--Good Service
    I have read the book before. This was a gift. The receipient was delighted with it. It came in a timely manner. The service I have received frokm Amazon has been consistently reliable....more info
  • Still good, but the nonfiction novel has since improved
    In Cold Blood tells the true story of the senseless murder of the midwestern Clutter family in the 1950s. The search for and the story of the two pitiful ex cons who were guilty of the horror is the book's focus. Although the nonfiction novel has evolved substantially over the years, Truman Capote is clearly a pioneer in writing captivating non fiction which reads like fiction. The story is well told and interestingly organized. Capote does a seamlessly delicate job of relaying the cold blooded nature of the crime but at the same time giving the reader an opportunity to glimpse the human side of Dick Hickock and Perry Smith from childhood to death row. Capote leaves just enough space for the reader to wonder and interpret things about the telling of the story to make the tale one dimension richer than it seems.
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  • Top Notch!
    Without a doubt, In Cold Blood is one of the best nonfiction books I have ever read. The horrific subject matter, notwithstanding, the book was a an absolute pleasure to read. It is truly Truman Capote at his literary best.

    One would think that writing about such a complicated quadruple murder, with the mountain of interviews, multiple players and complex circumstances - spanning the width and breath of the country, following the murderers'zigzagging course through Kansas, Mexico, Las Vegas and Alaska would be difficult enough, but Truman cleverly brought it all together in a ground breaking nonfiction novel that quickly became an international bestseller. You'll never get lost in this book, and you'll never loose sight of the action.

    Truman Capote's writing style is legendary, and you'll find no better example of it than in the pages of this book. His sentences roll off the pages like warm butter over a stack of pancakes. Smooth. Delicious. His writing is eloquent, yet uncomplicated. Capote writes with the reader in mind, never letting you stray from the topic at hand, always bringing your attention back to the page in a wonderfully, readable style that is his trademark. In my opinion no one does it better. In Cold Blood gets ten thumbs up!...more info
  • Beware that creaking floorboard in the night....
    When does the boy struggling to become a man have his first encounter with true EVIL? For me it came on a summer night in 1967 when I saw the film In Cold Blood with a large group of friends at our Small Town, Wisconsin theater. It was a Friday night and none of us knew anything about the film or the book on which it was based. We were just a bunch of high school kids going to the show, mainly for the air conditioning and a few laughs after a hot, humid day. While my friends did whatever they did, I was rapidly sucked into the plan to murder the Cutters. It was to be the scariest movie I have ever seen-- sending me into a virtual frozen panic attack as the black and white images shown before me: the horror of the crime itself, Perry and Dick's capture and trial, followed by their shadowy, graphic fate at the end of the film. For weeks afterward, whenever I heard a car door slam outside in the night,I'd run to look out my bedroom window, just in case. While this may be a bit of an exaggeration, it's safe to say that the film really shook me up. Later, when I read the book for a lit class in college, I went through it again--reading it in a dim, barely furnished apartment I shared with some other guys. As I read the book, and it all unfolded again ( this time in Capote's calculated, poetic prose), the nature of real evil began to take shape. In fact, In Cold Blood is really the only book I've ever read that actually terrified me; I experienced evil from the printed word (Now, that's some writing!). The fact that the Cutters, who knew nothing about what was to befall them as they went to bed that night in Kansas, only to be awoken by strangers Smith and Hickock who savagely murdered by them, helped make evil an almost tangible force that crowded around me as I read. Today when thrill killing and mass murder have become staples of broadcast news, ("true crime" even has its own section at the local Barnes & Noble), its easy to forget that this wasn't always the case. Unfortunately, Dick and Perry have since been joined in their own special section of Hell by Richard Speck, Andrew Conanan, Ted Bundy, John W. Gacey, and a long list of others. But Capote wrote about it first: In fact, once you read his chilling book, that creaking floorboard you hear in the night takes on an eerie extra significance.
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  • chilling
    I really enjoyed this book. Capote has taken the factual account of a horrible mass murder and turned it into a fascinating story that reads more like a novel. Beyond just giving us the facts, Capote creates a colorful, vivid world with deep, rich characters. Through the telling of the tale, we get to know these people inside and out, and we even begin to feel some compassion for the monsters who committed this heinous crime.

    Capote's description of small town Kansas is very accurate and realistic. The emotions and reactions of the populace are presented a format where they are not only a factual interview from the person, but also Capote imparts the emotion which the subject is imparting. We also get a unique perspective of the criminals themselves presented in a very believable manner.

    With this book, Capote basically created his own genre; taking the true crime story to another level altogether with beautiful prose and excellent story-telling. It is truly a masterpiece and a fine work of modern literature.

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  • Captivating
    True story of the murder of a family in Kansas. Capote is amazingly talented and provides the full story on this event in a unique way. Very highly recommended....more info
  • Fast and Affordable Service
    The shipment was delivered quickly and the price was great. I ahd no problems....more info
  • Would have been 5 stars 40 years ago!
    After seeing both film versions of the writing of this book, I decided it was high time to read this classic. And it is a genuine classic, no question about that. If I had read it when it first came out, I'm sure I would have been stunned along with the rest of the country. Reading it now, after the genre has been taken to new heights by the likes of Tom Wolfe (The Right Stuff) and others, it didn't pack quite the punch I expected. But it still packs a punch, no question about it. It still has the power to make you sick to your stomach as he takes you through the last hours of the Clutter family. There are moments of wonderful writing, as wonderful as writing can be about such disturbing events. ...more info
  • Sensational
    To keep it short and sharp: I have read all the classics (Tolstoy, Twain, Austin, Orwell, Fitzgerald ect ect), and I know this isn't technically a novel, but In Cold Blood stands the test of time and still remains as the most enjoyable and well written book I have ever picked up.

    One other thing: this is still the only example I have found where I would recommend watching the movie BEFORE reading the book....more info