Modern Library 100 Best Nonfiction Books

In Cold Blood

Publisher: Modern Library
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.



The Last to See Them Alive

THE village of Holcomb stands on the high wheat plains of western Kansas, a lonesome area that other Kansans call "out there." Some seventy miles east of the Colorado border, the countryside, with its hard blue skies and desert-clear air, has an atmosphere...
Read More


"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