In Cold Blood

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In Cold Blood

by Truman Capote

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group | February 1, 1994 | Trade Paperback

In Cold Blood is rated 4.6471 out of 5 by 17.

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.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 368 pages, 7.94 × 5.18 × 0.79 in

Published: February 1, 1994

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0679745580

ISBN - 13: 9780679745587

Found in: Murder, Murder

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Murder, most realistically told In Cold Blood, a “true account of a multiple murder and its consequences,” as its subtitle states, is about how two men – Richard ‘Dick’ Hickcock and Perry Smith – kill an entire farming family – the Clutters – in their home in the western Kansas town of Holcomb and of how they try to escape the law, were captured, tried and executed. The murder took place on Sunday, Nov. 15, 1959. The two men were hanged just after midnight on Wednesday, April 14, 1965. In between those two dates and threaded through those bare-bones details is Truman Capote’s details-rich and disturbingly profound masterpiece. Released in the same year that Hickcock and Smith were executed, In Cold Blood would become a phenomenal bestseller and classic genre-busting work – a so-called ‘non-fiction novel,’ perhaps the first such creation. It’s a book that has reached myth-like proportions through time and in its treatment on the big screen. Admittedly, I was misled by Hollywood’s portrayal of the story in movies like the excellent Capote. I had expected a confessional-style probing of the killers’ minds as told to the writer, not the seemingly straightforward, crime story of this book. The genius of Capote was in having distilled all the details of this story while reporting on the crime for The New Yorker. Its outcome is one of characters – murderers, their victims and many of the town’s bystanders and actors in this grim drama – who are richly detailed and full of life. Their lives are revealed in a work that pivots from plot post to plot post with terrifying and taut action. For instance, there is the tragic example of Mrs. Clutter. We remember her in details given of her fascination with miniature items, “assorted Lilliputian gewgaws – scissors, thimbles, crystal flower baskets, toy figurines, forks and knives,” Capote writes. “Little things really belong to you,” Mrs. Clutter says. “They don’t have to be left behind. You can carry them in a shoebox.” Detail is important to Capote, and they help the book come alive. Such as the sign in the Mexican hotel room where the killers find temporary refuge: “Su dia Termina” which translates to “Your Day Ends at 2 p.m.” A premonition if ever there was one. Perry’s memory of the killing scene is also vivid. He tells Dick at one point of his “spells of helplessness,” of “remembered things” like: blue light, exploding in a black room, the glass eyes of a big toy bear – and when voices, a particular few words, started nagging his mind: “Oh, no! Oh, please! No! No! No! No! Don’t! Oh, please don’t, please!” And certain sounds returned – a silver dollar rolling across a floor, boot steps on hardwood stairs, and the sounds of breathing, the gasps, the hysterical inhalations of a man with a severed windpipe. Perhaps the greatest achievement of In Cold Blood is how Capote was able to draw our sympathies to all the characters. Not just the victims, but the perpetrators of the crime. So we feel for Perry and his rough background and identify with his dream of being in an African jungle and reaching into a bushel of diamonds in a tree and encountering a snake that guards the tree. We put ourselves in the same cell as Dick and its single, forever-lit lightbulb with its “monotonous surveillance” and the heat in summer that makes it “so hot my skin stings.” Even Dick’s gallows’ humour – he tells one person that he believes in hanging “just as long as I’m not the one being hanged” – makes him human. And, yes, tragic. Capote was a master craftsman and it’s his you-are-there reportorial style writing that makes this work so good. Like how the hangman, impatiently adjusting his cowboy hat to resemble a “turkey buzzard huffing, then smoothing its neck feathers,” is depicted. Even how the town is brought to life. In Cold Blood opens with a description of a seemingly peaceful setting with its “high wheat plains.” It closes “the whisper of wind voices in the wind-bent wheat.” This is writing of the highest order.
Date published: 2013-10-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This is how you write a great book First of all if you want to be a writer, read this book. Second, this is advice for all who enjoy reading in general, Do not die without reading this book first. this book tells the story of two men Perry Smith, and Dick Hitchcock, who kill four members of the Clutter Family , in Holcomb, Kansas. On November 15, 1959. Dick Hitchcock writes Perry Smith a letter, asking Perry to come visit him. Dick tells perry in the letter That they can make a easy score by robing this farmer in Holcomb, Kansas. When Perry and Dick get to Mr. Clutter farm they believe he has a safe in this house, with lots of money. The problem is there is no safe in the house. They left the house with only roughly 40.00. Perry Smith and Dick Hitchcock taped the mouth of all the family members, tied all the family members up, Father, mother, daughter, and the son. Then Perry and Dick, kill all four members of the family, with a 12 gauge shot gun. This is were the book takes off, and gets interesting. Truman Capote gets into the heads of the Victims, Murders, detectives, jury, lawyers, judges, The psychiatrist, And even the families of the victims in involved, as well as the criminals families, Plus their friends. As the detectives are working on this case, it's feels as if you are also working on the case, with the detectives. As you are reading this book, you can not help, but feel you know all the people in this book personally. I have roughly about fifty books on my page that I have reviewed, and this is the first time that I have given any book five stars. Even in spite of the fact that this book is a little dry in the beginning, ( first 8-10 pages roughly. ) It's well worth five stars.
Date published: 2013-09-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent In Cold Blood is a novel written by Truman Capote depicting the details surrounding the murder of a family from Holcomb, Kansas. The book starts off with the Clutter, whom are the family that end up getting murder. It also follows the sequence of events that the two murders went through before, during and after the murders. Capote spent six years writing about what happen surrounding the Clutter family's murder. I found this novel an excellent work of non-fiction. I personally had no idea about any of the details surrounding this novel. I've not seen Capote or Infamous which are to adaptations of In Cold Blood and Truman Capote's fascination with the case and its murderers. I picked this book up because it was recommended by a colleague of mine, saying that this was one of his favourite books and the best one written by Capote. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in reading about a real life murder case and the psychology of a murderer.
Date published: 2013-01-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! I loved this book. It was so detailed, it was as though it was a fictitious novel. I can't wait to watch the movies.
Date published: 2011-01-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A true classic! This novel by Truman Capote has been hailed as the best true crime story ever written, and it definately lives up to the praise. It was originally published in 1965 and delves into a homicide that took place in a small farm town in Kansas. The murder is that of the Clutter family who were brutally gunned down in the middle of the night by two career criminals, the shy Perry Smith and the more brazen Richard Hickock. Richard Hickock comes up with the scheme to rob the Clutter's after he hears that they have money hidden in a safe at their farm house. When come to get their big score in the middle of the night, they soon learn that the money does not exist and are left with a house full of witnesses. Once they have killed the family, the story then follows them as they try to outrun the law and make their way out of the country. Truman Capote soon catches wind of the story and becomes so enthralled with it, that he travels down to Kansas with his friend Harper Lee (who went on to write To Kill A Mockingbird) to follow the happenings more closely. What makes this story so well written is the fact that it did consume Capote so much. He even went on to develop a friendship with Perry Smith that last until his hanging. In Cold Blood is a compelling and suspenseful read from cover to cover. The story is full of intriguing characters who are so well written that putting the book down becomes an impossibility as you become invested in what will happen to them next. Capote is also able to achieve the difficult task of making the reader feel empathy towards the one criminal, Perry Smith. Now whether this is because he was actually a decent person led astray by Hickock, or if it was due to Capote's own feelings for Perry, that is left up to the reader. I would recommend this book to anyone who not only loves true crime stories, but anyone who has an apprecitation for a well written and enthralling story. In Cold Blood is a literary masterpiece that will continue to be relevant through the years.
Date published: 2010-02-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from intriguing crime story Got me interested by the time I got to the discoveries of the murders(1/4 way into book)...story of a couple of degenerates who senselessly murder an entire family for a mere $50.00 cash, their rebellious cross-country journey and their inevitable demise at the gallows.
Date published: 2009-05-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Gripping! This is a true story about the 1959 murders of Herb Clutter, a wealthy farmer in Holcomb, Kansas; his wife, Bonnie; his daughter, Nancy; and his son Kenyon by two ex-cons and would-be robbers - Richard Hickock and Perry Smith. Capote spent six years of his life on this book and it shows. It's compelling, engaging, great prose and a real page-turner. Capote, with this novel, created a new genre of writing -- literary journalism. It reads like a mystery novel with "clues" and "build-ups" that you often forget that it is based on actual events. Also, the characterization is just brilliant -- he gives the readers a chance to get to know the Clutter family before the murders, and even kept a non-biased opinion about their killers. Great book. Great writer. I recommend it.
Date published: 2009-01-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Greatest Novel Ever! I first time heard about this book was after reading a review about the movie Capote starring Philip Seymour Hoffman. Because of its acclaim I decided to watch the movie myself. I was immediately immersed into the movie, and I can totally understand why Hoffman won his academy award. Inspired to learn more, I decided to go straight to the source. I took out In Cold Blood from my local library. From the moment I read the first page, I knew this book was different from the rest. The way it was written made me feel as if I was actually there every step of the way. And all the words flowed fluently without any missteps along the way. I never felt comfortable reading a book this professionally written. By the time I finished the last page, all I could do was sit back and reminisce about everything I had read. This was the first I have ever felt satisfied with an ending of a novel. So expertly written, the ending didn't leave me crave for more or feel it was too much. It actually made me say out loud, "now that's an ending." And I still agree.
Date published: 2008-02-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Haunting Tale of Riveting Suspense Truman Capote was destined to do great things with his writing and ''In Cold Blood'' was not disappointing. He captured the global psyche with his character renderings, his surreal descriptions of the Kansas wheat fields and the faces he put to the monsters behind the horrible Clutter murders. If you want to read something that is out of the ordinary and completely encapsulating, then you should definitely read "In Cold Blood"
Date published: 2006-08-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best in "non"-fiction Don't be turned off by the hype--this will exceed what you expect. Brilliant.
Date published: 2006-07-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A book for the ages. This is a truly great book. I read it actually after seeing the recent film 'Capote'. I had meant to read it for years but never did. It was SO hyped and highly praised that I really felt that there was no wayit could live it to the billing. Well, I was wrong. My fear was that it may have been ground-breaking at the time but no would seem not as good. That may actually be somewhat true but the book is written in simple prose with a straight factual narration and I really loved the book. I would recommend to all - well most. Some scenes and the general subject matter may be a little much for small children but it is far from gruesome. A book for the ages.
Date published: 2006-06-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastically written Like many, the recent film Capote drew me to this book. My expectations were high, and were fulfilled as I completed the first chapter, and soon after, the entire book. Like all Truman Capote's novels, In Cold Blood was fantastically written. What stood out about this book is the creation of the genre that it is famous for: the non-fiction novel. Every character Capote writes of actually existed, and it is within the telling of this story that his talent is revealed. Everything, from the town of Holcomb, to the lives of Perry Smith and Dick Hickock, is described in minute detail, stimulating a fascination of the events and people that led to the Clutter murders almost half a century ago. In short, it is an amazing book.
Date published: 2006-05-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from IN COLD BLOOD Truman Capote's non-fiction book on a Kansas murder of a farm family has several aspects in it in which are excellent. It is of course very well written. However the aspect that I find amazing is that it is a true story. One's analysis of the book is not of a novel with fictional characters - a piece of imagination (although those can be quite interesting). The emotions one feels in reading are based on an event in the world that is quite important.
Date published: 2006-05-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A classic, not just of its genre but of all time When he wrote In Cold Blood Truman Capote set out to consciously change the world of literature. He succeeded in ways he never imagined. While his main goal - to spawn the nonfiction novel - resulted only in a handful of memorable books (the new journalism of Hunter S. Thompson and Tom Wolfe), the book gave birth to an industry of lurid true crime books, few as good as the original. Still, Capote's prose ( she was not spoiled but spared, led to suppose that life was a sequence of agreeable events) will live long after lesser books have been forgotten.
Date published: 2005-10-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Breath taking and heart pounding “In Cold Blood,” by Truman Capote is a heart-shaking thriller that left me in a cold sweat. I am an addicted fan of murder mysteries, and I have read many novels of gruesome crimes. What I have never done was read a novel of such descriptive details and personal thoughts on such a horrific crime. Truman Capote invited us into the minds of not only the family that was murdered, friends of the victims and the detectives, but he brought us into the conscience of two cold-blooded murderers by the names of Perry Smith and Dick Hickock. Truman Capote did such a fantastic job portraying every type of character. I fell in love with the murdered family and was heartbroken when the crime was committed. I was also heartbroken when I had fallen for the charm of one of the murderers, Perry. Perry Smith was such a sweet man that I sympathized for, and admired him. Dick, on the other hand, I did not sympathize for - I detested him with a passion. I suggest very much that you read this novel.
Date published: 2002-04-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from In Cold Blood Even though I knew right from the start who the killers were, I still look forward to reading the rest. I guess this was because it is really craftily constructed. I especially enjoyed the part how Capote, in order to describe Billy’s visit to the Clutter home, used Billy’s testimony to show him being there. Also Capote leaves out the murder scene and later, when the killers finally confess, Capote simply includes their description of what happened. Capote leaves the details of the murder out of the book, encouraging the reader to guess exactly what happened, as in a detective novel. He also chose not to reveal the motive of the crime until the killers confess. The best part of the book is t the end when the reader actually gets to see the execution of the killers through Dewey’s eyes. Since this is based on a true story we see that throughout the novel, he has painted detailed emotional portraits of many of his characters, making it obvious that he has interviewed them at length.I would recommend this book to readers if they enjoy a detective type book.
Date published: 2001-05-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from In Cold Blood The book in question - In Cold Blood was a harsh reality check into what some people are capable of accomplishing. I read this book when I was just fourteen and I never forgot it. Then one day, I was looking to buy a new movie and I came across In Cold Blood. I had to buy it! I wanted to see if this director could capture the emotions and chilling reality of the book. He came very close, but a movie is never as detailed as the actual book. I am now 25 years old and as I watched the movie, all the memories of reading it came flooding back. I think that the book made an impression on me because it is a true story and Truman Capote is a phenomenal author. It is just too sad that it is a true story.
Date published: 2001-02-28

– More About This Product –

In Cold Blood

by Truman Capote

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 368 pages, 7.94 × 5.18 × 0.79 in

Published: February 1, 1994

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0679745580

ISBN - 13: 9780679745587

Read from the Book

I The Last to See Them Alive THE village of Holcomb stands on the high wheat plains of western Kansas, a lonesome area that other Kansans call "out there." Some seventy miles east of the Colorado border, the countryside, with its hard blue skies and desert-clear air, has an atmosphere that is rather more Far West than Middle West. The local accent is barbed with a prairie twang, a ranch-hand nasalness, and the men, many of them, wear narrow frontier trousers, Stetsons, and high-heeled boots with pointed toes. The land is flat, and the views are awesomely extensive; horses, herds of cattle, a white cluster of grain elevators rising as gracefully as Greek temples are visible long before a traveler reaches them. Holcomb, too, can be seen from great distances. Not that there is much to see--simply an aimless congregation of buildings divided in the center by the main-line tracks of the Santa Fe Railroad, a haphazard hamlet bounded on the south by a brown stretch of the Arkansas (pronounced "Ar-kan-sas") River, on the north by a highway, Route 50, and on the east and west by prairie lands and wheat fields. After rain, or when snowfalls thaw, the streets, unnamed, unshaded, unpaved, turn from the thickest dust into the direst mud. At one end of the town stands a stark old stucco structure, the roof of which supports an electric sign--DANCE--but the dancing has ceased and the advertisement has been dark for several years. Nearby is another building with an irrele
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From the Publisher

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.

From the Jacket

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.

About the Author

Truman Capote, 1924 - 1984 Novelist and playwright Truman Streckfus Persons was born in 1924 in New Orleans to a salesman and a 16-year-old beauty queen. His parents divorced when he was four years old and was then raised by relatives for a few years in Monroeville. His mother was remarried to a successful businessman, moved to New York, and Truman adopted his stepfather's surname. Capote's first novel was "Other Voices, Other Rooms" (1948), which told the story of a boy growing up in the Deep South. "The Grass Harp" (1951) is about a young boy and his elderly cousin discovering that some compromise is necessary for people to live together in a community and was adapted to screen in 1996. The play "The House of Flowers" (1954) is a musical set in a West Indies bordello. Capote then wrote, "Breakfast at Tiffanys" (1958), which tells the story of how Holly Golightly goes to New York seeking happiness. Capote became preoccupied with journalism and, sparked by the murder of a wealthy family in Holcomb, Kansas, began interviewing the locals to recreate the lives of the murderers and their victims. The research and writing for this novel, "In Cold Blood" (1966), took six years for him to complete. Other works of Capote's include the classic "A Christmas Memory" (1966), which is an autobiographical account of a seven-year-old boy, his cousin, and an eccentric old lady, "Music for Chameleons" (1981), which is a collection of short pieces, interviews, stories and conversations that we
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From Our Editors

With the publication of this book, Capote permanently ripped through the barrier separating crime reportage from serious literature. As he reconstructs the 1959 murder of a Kansas farm family and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, Capote generates suspense and empathy

Editorial Reviews

"A masterpiece . . . a spellbinding work." —Life


"A remarkable, tensely exciting, superbly written ''true account.'' " —The New York Times
 

"The best documentary account of an American crime ever written. . . . The book chills the blood and exercises the intelligence . . . harrowing." —The New York Review of Books

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