Tuesday, September 24, 2013
BANNED BOOKS WEEK: Celebrate fREADom with In Cold Blood
Celebrate the freedom to read IN COLD BLOOD: A TRUE ACCOUNT OF A MULTIPLE MURDER AND ITS CONSEQUENCES by Truman Capote (1966)
Investigative journalism at its best is my description of Truman Capote’s true-crime thriller, In Cold Blood. Electrified describes how his reconstruction of four savage killings made me feel. Pulse racing, I devoured the pages with an appetite that did not sate until my eyes ceased to focus.
And yet, this literary award winner was banned for a time in Savannah, Georgia, after a parent complained that it contained sex, violence, and profanity.
It does contain these components, of course. But, it was published in 1965 at a time when such graphic horror did not yet assault from every direction. It was easier back then to assume that being blasted by a shotgun from within inches of the face, as were members of the Clutter family inside their Holcomb, Kansas, farmhouse, just didn’t happen to decent folk in 1959.
Capote’s account of their slaughter and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of two ex-convicts on parole from Kansas State Penitentiary was the jolt of reality that stole my innocence. While hard to take, it’s important to remember that even gruesome information must always be available to readers who want access to it. Pretending that human violence -- as described in In Cold Blood -- doesn’t exist, does not make it so.
Nancy Campbell, Cordova Library
Labels: Banned Books Week
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