In Cold Blood
By Truman Capote
(Modern Library, Hardcover, 9780812994384, 416pp.)
Publication Date: February 19, 2013
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Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best nonfiction books of all time
From the Modern Library’s new set of beautifully repackaged hardcover classics by Truman Capote—also available are Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Other Voices, Other Rooms (in one volume), Portraits and Observations, and The Complete Stories
Truman Capote’s masterpiece, In Cold Blood, created a sensation when it was first published, serially, in The New Yorker in 1965. The intensively researched, atmospheric narrative of the lives of the Clutter family of Holcomb, Kansas, and of the two men, Richard Eugene Hickock and Perry Edward Smith, who brutally killed them on the night of November 15, 1959, is the seminal work of the “new journalism.” Perry Smith is one of the great dark characters of American literature, full of contradictory emotions. “I thought he was a very nice gentleman,” he says of Herb Clutter. “Soft-spoken. I thought so right up to the moment I cut his throat.” Told in chapters that alternate between the Clutter household and the approach of Smith and Hickock in their black Chevrolet, then between the investigation of the case and the killers’ flight, Capote’s account is so detailed that the reader comes to feel almost like a participant in the events.
Truman Capote was born September 30, 1924, in New Orleans. After his parents’ divorce, he was sent to live with relatives in Monroeville, Alabama. It was here he would meet his lifelong friend, the author Harper Lee. Capote rose to international prominence in 1948 with the publication of his debut novel, Other Voices, Other Rooms. Among his celebrated works are Breakfast at Tiffany’s, A Tree of Night, The Grass Harp, Summer Crossing, A Christmas Memory, and In Cold Blood, widely considered one of the greatest books of the twentieth century. Twice awarded the O. Henry Short Story Prize, Capote was also the recipient of a National Institute of Arts and Letters Creative Writing Award and an Edgar Award. He died August 25, 1984, shortly before his sixtieth birthday.
"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