Newsweeks Past: 'In Cold Blood... An American Tragedy'

Truman Capote
Truman Capote spent three years reporting and researching the story of a murdered family. AP

In November 1959, the American author Truman Capote read in The New York Times about the brutal murders of a well-to-do Kansas farmer, and his teenage son and daughter. He spent the next three years reporting and researching the story, and three more in editing his copious notes. The result was In Cold Blood, a piece of narrative non-fiction that marked the dawn of a new era of American journalism.

The publication, in 1966, of "343 cool, clear, controlled, crescendoing pages," made the cover of Newsweek in a report that marvelled at the $2m-dollar financial avalanche of book and movie rights those pages had already triggered.

"I had this theory about reportage," Capote told Newsweek. "I've always felt that if you brought the art of the novelist together with the technique of journalism – fiction with the added knowledge that it was true – it would have the most depth and impact."