In Cold Blood Book Review

In Cold Blood is the 1966 book by Truman Capote about the murders of four members of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas on November 15, 1959.

This book was banned for a short time in SavannaGeorgia, after a parent complained about sex, violence, and profanity.

Members of the community protested, and the ban was reversed.

This gruesome tale is a true story of the murder of Herbert Clutter, his wife, Bonnie, and their two youngest children, sixteen-year-old Nancy, and fifteen-year-old Kenyon.

Two older daughters, Eveanna and Beverly, were no longer living in the home.

Herb Clutter and his family were well liked and respected by all who knew them. Nancy and Kenyon were out-going and popular.

Mr. Clutter worked hard over the years to build his farm into a large and prosperous one. Former employees spoke well of him for his kindness, fair treatment, and generous wages.

Sale
In Cold Blood
  • Great book!
  • Truman Capote (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 343 Pages - 02/01/1994 (Publication Date) - Vintage (Publisher)

The entire community couldn’t have been more shocked when the news spread about the murders. These were people who all knew and trusted each other.

Who could have done such a horrible thing? And to the Clutters! If it could happen to them, it could happen to anyone.

People became fearful, and some began to suspect the crime could very well have been committed by someone they knew. All four victims had been bound and gagged, and killed with a shotgun at close range. Mr. Clutter’s throat had been cut.

There were hardly any clues, and nothing significant was missing. Robbery didn’t appear to be a motive.

But it was.

A common misconception about In Cold Blood is that it is a work of fiction. The book is often categorized as a “nonfiction novel” because of Capote’s use of literary techniques, such as characterization and dialogue, to tell the true story of the Clutter family murders. Some readers may assume that the book is entirely fabricated, but it is based on extensive research and factual information, such as interviews, court transcripts, and other primary sources.

Richard “Dick” Hickock and Perry Edward Smith, a couple of ex-cons on parole from the Kansas State Penitentiary killed the Clutter family.

It was Hickock’s idea. He had heard from another prisoner, Floys Wells, who had once worked at the Clutter farm, that he thought Mr. Clutter kept large sums of cash in a safe in his office at the farmhouse. The plan was to take the cash, leave no witnesses, and start a new life in Mexico.

There was no safe. In fact, it was well known that Herb Clutter did all his business by check, and carried very little cash.

Floyd Wells tipped off authorities when he learned of the brutal killings. Hickock and Smith were arrested about six weeks after the murders.

They spent five years on death row, and were executed by hanging just after midnight on April 14, 1965, in Lansing, Kansas.

Truman Capote read an article about the Clutter murders in The New York Times, and decided to go to Kansas to investigate. He took Harper Lee, a childhood friend, with him. (She would later win the Pulitzer Prize for To Kill A Mockingbird.)

Capote did not finish the book until after Hickock and Smith were executed.

One thing that not many people know about In Cold Blood is that it was initially rejected by several publishing houses before it was eventually accepted by Random House. Capote had been working on the book for six years, and many publishers felt that it was too similar to other true crime books that were already on the market. However, Capote’s literary agent, Marie Rudisill, was able to secure a publishing contract with Random House, and the book was eventually published in 1966.

In Cold Blood was especially disturbing to me for several reasons other than the obvious.

I am from Kansas, and many of the towns mentioned in the book are familiar to me, which made it seem a little too close to home.

Another thing was that Capote gives us quite a lot of personal information and insight into the backgrounds of Hickock and Smith, which made them seem more “human” than they otherwise would have.

We get to know something about them other than the senseless cruelty they displayed at the Clutter farmhouse.

It seems clear in the book that Hickock would have raped Nancy Clutter if Smith had not stopped him. At least she was spared that particular horror. For that, I was grateful.

At times, I found myself feeling a little sorry for the criminals, especially Perry Smith.

I didn’t want them to be executed. I was horrified that people were still being hanged in Kansas in 1965!

In Cold Blood reminds us of the cruelty human beings are capable of inflicting on each other – within the law (in this case, hanging), as well as outside of it. But it also reminds us that no one is all bad.

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote: An In-Depth Review

In Cold Blood is a true crime novel written by Truman Capote, published in 1966. The book tells the story of the brutal murder of a wealthy Kansas farmer, Herbert Clutter, and his family in 1959. The killer, Richard “Dick” Hickock, and his accomplice, Perry Smith, were both convicted and hanged for the crime.

One of the things that makes In Cold Blood so captivating is Capote’s writing style. He masterfully weaves together interviews, court transcripts, and his own observations to create a gripping narrative that reads more like a novel than a nonfiction book. But don’t let the literary style fool you – this is a true crime book, and it doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to describing the horror of the Clutter family’s murder.

But In Cold Blood is more than just a true crime book – it’s also a commentary on crime and justice. Capote delves into the backgrounds of Hickock and Smith, painting a picture of two men who were dealt a tough hand in life and turned to crime as a result. And in doing so, he raises important questions about the nature of evil and the death penalty.

In Cold Blood is a must-read for fans of true crime literature, and it’s a testament to Capote’s skill as a writer. It’s a book that will make you feel like you’re right there in the courtroom, and it will stick with you long after you’ve turned the last page. So if you’re looking for a chilling read that will keep you on the edge of your seat, In Cold Blood is the book for you.

Another interesting fact is that Capote formed a close relationship with one of the killers, Perry Smith, while conducting research for the book. Smith was one of the two men who were convicted and hanged for the Clutter family murders. Capote visited Smith in prison several times, and the two men corresponded regularly. Some have criticized Capote for becoming too close to his subject, and it’s been suggested that his relationship with Smith may have influenced his portrayal of the events in the book.

Awards

The book was an instant success upon its release, and it quickly garnered critical acclaim. It won numerous awards, including the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Fact Crime in 1966, and it was a finalist for the National Book Award in the same year. It was also named one of the best books of the year by Time magazine and The New York Times.

Capote’s writing style and research in the book were highly praised, and the book has been considered a pioneering work in the true crime genre, it has inspired many other authors and journalists to adopt the same type of research and storytelling methods.

In Cold Blood is not only an entertaining read, but it’s also a masterpiece of literature, and its awards are a testament to its quality. So if you’re looking for a book that’s not only a gripping true crime story but also a literary achievement, look no further than In Cold Blood.

Why In Cold Blood Has Been Banned

You may be surprised to learn that In Cold Blood has been banned and challenged in some schools and libraries across the United States. The reasons cited for the ban include graphic violence, profanity, and sexual content. Some people also felt that the book was too disturbing and violent for young readers.

Despite the challenges and bans, the book remains a popular choice for high school reading lists, and it’s often used in literature and creative writing classes as an example of excellent research and storytelling.

It’s important to remember that books are often banned for controversial or sensitive content and this does not necessarily mean that the book is not worthy of reading. In Cold Blood is a powerful and thought-provoking book that raises important questions about crime, justice, and human nature. So, if you’re looking for a book that will make you think, question, and maybe even a little uncomfortable, give In Cold Blood a try.

In Cold Blood Quotes

One of the things that makes In Cold Blood so memorable is its collection of powerful and thought-provoking quotes. Capote’s writing is both visceral and poetic, and the book is filled with memorable lines that will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from In Cold Blood:

“The village of Holcomb stands on the high wheat plains of western Kansas, a lonesome area that other Kansans call ‘out there’.”

“Dick was a man who talked a great deal but said very little.”

“The morning of November 15, 1959, was clear and sunny, with a high blue sky, and the Clutter family, who lived in a prosperous farm community near the town of Holcomb, in western Kansas, appeared to have everything they wanted.”

“For if he were guilty, what then? He would be, in the simplest terms, a monster; and monsters, by definition, are not men.”

In Cold Blood is not only a true crime story but also a literary achievement, and these quotes are a testament to its quality. If you’re looking for a book that will make you think, question, and maybe even a little uncomfortable, give In Cold Blood a try.

In Cold Blood was the first nonfiction novel, Capote coined the term “nonfiction novel” to describe his work which is a type of creative nonfiction that blurs the line between fact and fiction by using literary techniques typically associated with novels. This genre-bending book set the standard for true crime literature and journalism for decades to come.

Comparison of In Cold Blood to other true crime books:

AuthorPublication DatePlot SummaryCritical Reception
In Cold BloodTruman Capote1966The true story of the brutal murder of a wealthy Kansas farmer, Herbert Clutter, and his family in 1959. The killers, Richard “Dick” Hickock and Perry Smith, were both convicted and hanged for the crime.Widely acclaimed as a classic in the genre of true crime literature. Won numerous awards, including the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Fact Crime in 1966 and was a finalist for the National Book Award in the same year.
Helter SkelterVincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry1974A true crime account of the infamous Manson Family murders and the trial of Charles Manson and his followers.A New York Times bestseller and one of the best-selling true crime books of all time. Praised for its comprehensive and detailed account of the Manson Family and the trial.
The Stranger Beside MeAnn Rule1980The true story of the author’s friendship with serial killer Ted Bundy, whom she met while working as a volunteer at a crisis clinic.A New York Times bestseller and widely acclaimed as a classic in the genre of true crime literature. Praised for its personal and intimate account of the author’s relationship with Bundy.

Comparison of In Cold Blood to other works by Truman Capote:

Book TitleAuthorPublication DatePlot SummaryCritical Reception
In Cold BloodTruman Capote1966A true crime novel that tells the story of the murder of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas in 1959 and the investigation and trial of the killers, Richard “Dick” Hickock and Perry Smith. Written in a journalistic style, the book provides a detailed and accurate account of the events.Widely considered a classic of the true crime genre, “In Cold Blood” received widespread critical acclaim upon its release and continues to be widely read and studied today.
Breakfast at Tiffany’sTruman Capote1958A novel that tells the story of Holly Golightly, a young woman living in New York City in the 1940s. The book explores themes of love, loss, and the search for identity.The book was well received by critics and has since become a classic of 20th-century literature. It was later adapted into a successful film.
Other Voices, Other RoomsTruman Capote1948A novel that tells the story of a young boy, Joel Knox, who is sent to live with his father in a mysterious mansion in the rural South. The book explores themes of coming of age, sexuality and identity.The book was Capote’s debut novel and it was well-received by critics and readers. It established him as a talented young writer with a unique voice.

 

Leave a Comment