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In Cold Blood (Penguin Twentieth Century Classics) [Paperback]

Truman Capote
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (181 customer reviews)

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Kindle Edition £5.67  
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Paperback, 29 April 1993 --  
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Book Description

29 April 1993 Penguin Twentieth Century Classics
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.

Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (29 April 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140187014
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140187014
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 13 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (181 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 486,876 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


'The American dream turning into the American nightmare ... a remarkable book' Spectator --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Truman Capote was born in New Orleans in 1925 and was raised in various parts of the South, his family spending winters in New Orleans and summers in Alabama and New Georgia. He left school when he was fifteen and subsequently worked for the New Yorker which provided his first - and last - regular job. In 1948 his first novel, Other Voices, Other Rooms, was published to international critical acclaim, assuring Capote a place among the prominent postwar American writers. He died in August 1984. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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First Sentence
The village of Holcomb stands on the high wheat plains of western Kansas, a lonesome area that other Kansans call 'out there'. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gruesome, captivating and tragic 13 July 2006
This really is essential reading for everyone over the age of about 14. A classic. Truman Capote recounts the story of the murders of four members of the Clutter family, one November night in 1959, and provides details of the events leading up to the murders, what the killers (Dick and Perry) did whilst on the run, their arrest, trial and punishment. I real a lot of books, but this is one of the best I've ever read and I couldn't put it down - despite knowing it doesn't have a happy ending for anyone, I wanted to know what actually happened to the Clutters and why. This book doesn't try to psychoanalyse murders - it tells the story in a factual way, but written like a novel, and it is fantastic, gruesome and tragic because it's true. Six people died as a result of that night - let Truman tell you how.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In Cold Type... 24 Mar 2006
By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME
Truman Capote's 'In Cold Blood' is enjoying a resurgence of popularity thanks to the Oscar-winning film depicting the author's life and work during the writing of this phenomenal piece. At one point in the film, the character Capote makes the statement that when he thinks about how good this book will be, he can hardly breathe. Perhaps it is because it is part of our history now, I don't consider the book to be that good, but it was a work fairly close to groundbreaking in its impact - it was a new genre, the narrative telling of a non-fiction event as if it were a fictional novel.
The narrative centres upon the murder of a Kansas family by two men, Perry Smith and Dick Hicock, who are in many ways far from typical killers, much less cold blooded killers. The family, the Clutters of Holcombe, Kansas, are far from typical victims, nor is this the kind of place such a murder would be expected. Capote does a remarkable job at an even-handed analysis and narrative treatment of all the characters, from the family itself to the townspeople and investigators, as well as the murderers themselves. Perhaps it is because he found an area of identification?
This is a psychological thriller of a sort - at least it would be, were it not a true life tale. Getting into the minds of the criminals and the investigators was no easy task for Capote, but what comes forth on the page is very crisp and insightful reporting, without the kinds of embellishments one might expect from a figure such as Capote when dealing with middle-America folk.
The question of why for the killing is still never fully resolved, despite Capote's attempt to set out all the story and psychological detail.
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62 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A genuine classic 26 July 2006
This is one of these books that everyone tells you is a classic. Personally speaking, that sort of recommendation always puts me off, but having seen and loved the film "Capote" I thought I should give the book a go and boy, am I glad I did!

The story is a harrowing one, and in the hands of a less skilled writer its telling could have become overwrought. Capote's greatest skill is his ability to keep his emotions in check, avoiding making judgements, just telling the facts as best he can and as a result allowing all of his characters to come to life on the page. The Clutter family are not canonized, but instead shown as real people, all with their own problems, hopes and fears. Smith and Hickock, though never excused by Capote, are shown as three dimensional, flawed human beings rather than two dimensional monsters.

Reading this book was an emotional experience. You are left feeling sad and shocked, yet with a sense of hope. It is a book that will stay with me for a long time and one that truly deserves to be called a classic.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A unputdown-able book 3 Aug 2006
Like many others, I came across this book after seeing the film 'Capote'. It's such a good book that I just couldn't put it down. At the same time I really didn't want it to end, purely because of the superb quality of the writing and the knowledge that a book this good only comes along now and again. Capote draws you in and immerses you in the parallel worlds of the Clutters and their murderers Hicock and Smith. It's a credit to Capote that a book published in 1966 about four gruesome murders that took place in small town America in 1959 and where we know who did it and what the final outcome was, can still hold such a powerful sway today.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars American crime story at it's best. 27 Nov 2001
By A Customer
The story, which is actually the account of a real crime, is written in the style that I imagine a film would be set. Truman Capote opens by quietly setting the scene, taking us through the seasons in the life of a sleepy little prairie town in Kansas, while gradually moving the focus towards both the Clutter family and elsewhere to their executioners. The Clutters are the good, upstanding, clever and attractive family with whom Capote manages to imbue an air of invincibility and strength, putting doubts on the reader's early assumption that they will become the victims of the horrendous and senseless crime which is beginning to unfold just one day's drive away over the dusty yellow Kansas landscape. The perpetrators are two hapless, pathetic figures, whose twisted logic and lack of affinity to reality, disguises their not inconsiderable intellect. In each case, they are brought up in an environment of loveless-ness, poverty and mistrust which leads them to a life of petty crime then prison and the subsequent nurturing of a pathological disregard for the basic rules of society. Despite the incredible cruelty and pointlessness of the crime, Capote manages to provoke the reader, not without a little help from the 'lynch-mob' mentality of the judicial system in Kansas, into strong feelings of pity for the accused, with their 'half-breed and misfit' tags that marked them out as victims long before that fateful day.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Fabulous read would recommend
Published 1 day ago by Jayne Mutimer
5.0 out of 5 stars So great
Tremendous book! Well worth the money it is such a gripping book and so tense I didn't want to put it down.
Published 6 days ago by rebecca
5.0 out of 5 stars I thoroughly recommend this for a long car journey
Scott Brick, who reads this very long Capote work, is superb. He keeps our interest up and his mixture of female and male voices are very deftly done. Read more
Published 6 days ago by Karine Crabbe
5.0 out of 5 stars really in depth book!
A must read. Tells you the story of everyone's say...locals, the family & the criminals.
Glad I came across it.
Published 9 days ago by ashley angus
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Read.
A brilliant book and a fascinating read, all the more effective because it is a true story.
Published 11 days ago by Lintobo
2.0 out of 5 stars Rather tatty, also the suppliers sticky bar code labels ...
Rather tatty, also the suppliers sticky bar code labels were stuck all over the dust cover, cannot be removed without tearing .
Published 19 days ago by James Gilbey
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
essential a level reading
Published 26 days ago by fiski
5.0 out of 5 stars I installed an alarm at my house after reading it
I installed an alarm at my house after reading it
Published 27 days ago by Lukasb
5.0 out of 5 stars Truman Capote deserves his reputation with this book alone. ...
Truman Capote deserves his reputation with this book alone. Could have been written last week. Fresh fast and full of food for thought . Buy it !
Published 28 days ago by fatmanbat46
4.0 out of 5 stars A steely gaze at wretched lives
Capote tells the dreadfully story of powerful events in a voice that suggests fiction. All the characters are fiercely examined and portrayed without any fear or favour. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Chris
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