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371 of 397 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It Just Doesn't Get Any Better, February 8, 2000
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This review is from: In Cold Blood (Paperback)
** PRODUCT UPDATE ** In early 2013 the Modern Library (a division of Random House) reissued four Capote works: a new PORTRAITS AND OBSERVATIONS, a combined OTHER VOICES, OTHER ROOMS and BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S, the collected SHORT STORIES and this one -- IN COLD BLOOD. Dust jackets are in harmonizing colors and common typography (see product photos); the books themselves are hardbound, in classic ML beige. A good price, too. Of course, IN COLD BLOOD is still available in paperback, too, as it has been ever since the mid-1960s.

The magnificence of "In Cold Blood" doesn't lie in the subject matter but in its treatment. There are--unfortunately--more depraved criminals and more elaborate police investigations detailed in a great many "true crime" accounts. But I doubt that any of them is as well written as "In Cold Blood."

I haul my copy out every 2-3 years just to remind myself how wonderful the rhythms and nuances of the American language can be at the hands of a master. I am totally drawn into the lives of the prosperous and completely unsuspecting Clutter family of western Kansas and the two drifters, Perry and Dick, who by themselves didn't amount to much but together proved lethal that fall night in 1959.

A trivia note: Capote's research assistant on this book was Nell Harper) Lee, who shortly after would become famous as the author of "To Kill a Mockingbird."

I'd recommend Gerald Clarke's excellent biography "Capote" to learn about this one-of-a-kind book, its creation, reception, and how it affected the author's life.

PRODUCT UPDATE (2012): The hardcover edition of IN COLD BLOOD with a photograph of the Clutter house on the cover is a quality edition issued by the Folio Society of Great Britain. I wish I could elaborate in a separate review but as you can see, I've already filed one review and Amazon will not let me file a separate one, despite the fact that this book has 31 (!) different formats. I will say that the Folio edition has a very intelligent introduction, and that it is the only version of IN COLD BLOOD I know of that has illustrations. They consist of black-and-white photographs of the Clutter family, the killers, the lawmen on the case, Garden City and the home village of Holcomb during that period. I own the volume and like all Folio society books, it is very well manufactured but not cheap.
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Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 2, 2007 1:34:09 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 2, 2007 1:34:46 AM PST
prk says:
Harper Lee wrote Mockingbird before Capote's investigations.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 22, 2007 5:24:44 AM PDT
Aili says:
The reviewer did not say Harper Lee wrote the novel after this research-- just that she became famous for it shortly after. (To Kill a Mockingbird was published in July 1960; she and Capote visited Kansas for research just after the murders at the end of 1959.)

Posted on Apr 11, 2008 8:43:08 AM PDT
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on May 4, 2008 8:29:24 PM PDT
Check and see if you have a penny in your pocket. Oh no you don't! It's a one-cent piece.
I chose the metaphor for a reason. Cf. one description of Winston Churchill: "Fifty percent American, one hundred percent British." And "American English" is a separate and distinct variety of English (when distinction is necessary, it's also permissible to speak of "British English").

Posted on Oct 31, 2008 11:47:16 PM PDT
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2008 2:55:13 PM PST
It was a deliberate metaphor, a non-literal expression, for impact's sake. I don't expect everyone to understand that. - a.s.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 9, 2009 4:15:56 PM PST
JER0610 says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 21, 2009 4:43:36 PM PST
It's tricky for any reviewer to deal in ultimates, but I look forward to reading your review of the Natalie Wood book. We can always use more really good nonfiction.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 13, 2010 11:47:37 AM PST
P. B. Sharp says:
I understand you, Allen, and I consider Mr. Hannigan's remarks unnecessarily rude.

In reply to an earlier post on May 14, 2010 2:25:00 AM PDT
Thanks! - Allen
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