Banned Books Week Spotlight – In Cold Blood

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Original publication date: 1966

This week is banned books week in the United States.  All week I will be highlighting banned, challenged, and censored books I own and have read.

Publisher description:

Until one morning in mid-November of 1959, few Americans–in fact, few Kansans–had ever heard of Holcomb. Like the waters of the river, like the motorists on the highway, and like the yellow trains streaking down the Santa Fe tracks, drama, in the shape of exceptional happenings, had never stopped there.” If all Truman Capote did was invent a new genre–journalism written with the language and structure of literature–this “nonfiction novel” about the brutal slaying of the Clutter family by two would-be robbers would be remembered as a trail-blazing experiment that has influenced countless writers. But Capote achieved more than that. He wrote a true masterpiece of creative nonfiction. The images of this tale continue to resonate in our minds: 16-year-old Nancy Clutter teaching a friend how to bake a cherry pie, Dick Hickock’s black ’49 Chevrolet sedan, Perry Smith’s Gibson guitar and his dreams of gold in a tropical paradise–the blood on the walls and the final “thud-snap” of the rope-broken necks.

Status: Banned but later reinstated at a high school in Georgia (citation).

Reason for challenge in the U.S.: Parental complaints of sex, violence, and profanity (citation), what else!

My thoughts: “In Cold Blood” was certainly a dark book, but it was also a gripping one.  The depictions of the vicious murder of the Clutter family were horrifyingly realistic.  Perhaps even more disturbing, Capote almost manages to make the reader identify with the murderers.

Your Turn: Have you ever read “In Cold Blood” or any other creative nonfiction true crime books?  What did you think?  How do you feel about true crime books in general?

Buy this book on Amazon.

Check out my Banned Books Week Spotlights all week, every day at 2 pm Central through Saturday, Octobter 4th.

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Rebecca of The Book Lady’s Blog is doing Banned Books Week Spotlights as well, every morning at 9 am.  Check her out as well!

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15 comments to Banned Books Week Spotlight – In Cold Blood

  • I read this right after I saw the film Capote, and I remember how chilling and fascinating it was. I don’t read much true crime—not that I have anything against it—but I thoroughly enjoyed In Cold Blood. I’m surprised those whiny parents didn’t complain about the fact that Capote was gay and had a disturbing attraction to one of the murderers.

  • I read In Cold Blood years ago when I was on a true crime kick. I thought the book was fascinating and well written.

  • I read this years ago when I was in high school. It really stuck with me the way he wrote it because you got to know the family, their life and friends, as well as the murderers. So it wasn’t one sided or the other. And it really happened. And the whole reason why it happened was absured. Oh and the depiction of seperating the family memebers and how each was killed was so horrifying and terrible but the murderers didn’t seem like monsters…just guys who got mixed up and did the wrong thing. A really really wrong thing. It was chilling.

  • I absolutely loved this book! I have always enjoyed true crime, but nothing compares to this book.

  • I’ve read In Cold Blood. I think the story behind the story is the most fascinating – the fact that Capote never wrote another novel. Makes you wonder. I also LOVED Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt. It reads like a great mystery and yet, it’s true! Loved it so much I bought a replica of the Bird Girl statue and she is currently in my own garden. Now that I think about it, I really do have a lot of true crime books in my library and I get pretty hooked when some true crime story comes on A&E.

  • I read *In Cold Blood* in college; Capote has a gift of manipulating his readers!

  • tracy

    I haven’t read this one, but I just finished Capote in Kansas which was about him and made me interested in reading it.

  • lindymc

    I read this years ago, and was fascinated enough to search out and read several other “true crime” books, such as the Mullendore Murder Case, several set in Texas, Helter Skelter, etc.

  • I read this for the first time a couple of years ago (and then seen a couple of the movies). I remember really enjoying it! I haven’t read too many true crime novels but the ones I have, I liked.

  • I read In Cold Blood earlier this year and ended up really enjoying it, although I was definitely skeptical at first. I haven’t yet read anything else by Capote, but I plan to.

  • johhnny

    this book was sick..! and stuff and other things as well. the end

  • Lindsay!

    Ive read In Cold Blood and I think if it wern’t for the sex, profanity and violence, the charcters and their traits couldn’t be fully preceived. Capote’s use of imagery is so vivid that you were in the car with the killers, you saw the Clutter family’s murder unfold, and you were in the court room. I think itd be a shame for such litterature and attention to detail to go to waist because the book was banned or challenged.

  • Alexa

    I just finished reading In Cold Blood about an hour ago, and I’m 14, reading it for a school project. I wanted a scarier book than this, and one that really chilled me to the bone, and it didn’t really do that for me. I admit that the book is very well written at some parts, but not all of it is that way. He did do some fantastic writing, but it’s not my favorite book of all time. Still, I will recommend this book to anybody who likes true crime novels, but not for a first time true crime read (like me).

  • Jessica

    This is my summer reading for AP English and I WISH my school banned it. This book is way too detailed and gruesome for me and has left me terrified. I can’t even fall asleep because I know I will have nightmares about this awful thing.
    No way I’m finishing it.