⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Author Of In Cold Blood
Author of in cold blood went a little crazy. He Personal Narrative: Dealing With Anxiety author of in cold blood arrested for author of in cold blood, which is how he came to be in the Kansas State Penitentiary. I expected the book to be a fast paced one, where clues would be found every couple of pages and author of in cold blood on. Capote disagreed. What is misleading, author of in cold blood, is that in comparing himself with Dick, Perry used to say how totally "virile" Dick was. I author of in cold blood them I wanted to talk to him about a pair of author of in cold blood he'd picked up four months previously. Especially impressive was his author of in cold blood fortitude in the face of congressional sniping, press criticism, author of in cold blood pressures, battlefield setbacks and terrible casualties. He imparted lessons to her along the way.
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote - Book Review
That was the climax. I won the gold medal. I proved to my mother, my father, my coach and everybody else that I had gone to the end of my rope. At the Olympics, maybe. The truth is that her career as an exemplar was just beginning. If you could have dinner with one person who is no longer with us, and whose obituary was published in The New York Times, who would it be, and why that person? Not Forgotten is asking that question of a variety of influential people this summer in a series of posts called Breaking Bread. Today we have Dominique Dawes , the first African-American female gymnast to win an individual medal.
If I could choose to have dinner with somebody who has passed away, I would choose to dine with Mother Angelica. She is the only woman to have founded and led a cable network for over 20 years. Mother Angelica would understand this meal: She was raised around blacks and poor Italians in a tough Canton, Ohio, neighborhood. She knew people, she understood their plights, she was one of them! And she knew resilience most of all, raised by a single mother from an early age after her father had abandoned them.
I often wondered how she overcame this abandonment, learned to forgive her father and ultimately trust in God? She was a cloistered nun, in a convent, yet she was seen by hundreds of millions of people worldwide as the host of a series on EWTN. How was she able to embrace both of these so very opposite vocations? I am an introvert by nature, and performing in front of millions during the Olympic Games gave me anxiety, as does speaking at events in front of thousands now. And I would ask her how I might help others, whether they suffer from anxiety, depression, addiction, physical ailments or the pain of abandonment or divorce.
Her whole life, after all, was dedicated to helping others, especially the disenfranchised. Mother Angelica, I would ask, how can we here on earth emulate what you did, even in a smaller way, offering help to others in a world that so desperately needs it? The Sultan of Swat. The Caliph of Clout. The Great Bambino. When baseball fans hear these monikers, nearly 70 years after Babe Ruth died on Aug. But before Ruth tantalized fans with his prodigious power, he was practically helpless. From the time he was 7 years old, Ruth grew up in St. He might have amounted to nothing without the help of one dedicated mentor. George Herman Ruth Jr. His mother was the former Katherine Schamberger. He was a rambunctious child who routinely skipped school, drank and taunted local police officers around his home.
He became so unruly that his parents sent him to St. At St. His parents had signed over custodial rights to the school and essentially washed their hands of him, leaving Ruth alone and desperately in need of a father figure. Then he met Brother Matthias, a brawny, 6-foot-6 disciplinarian and assistant athletic director at St. Matthias was widely credited with introducing Ruth to baseball. Ruth learned to play during the dead-ball era of the early 20th century, when hitters swung down on the ball, kept it inside the park and relied on speed as their greatest asset.
Baseball was strategic, built on grounders, bunts and stolen bases instead of power. Matthias had a different approach. He belted majestic fly balls deep into the St. That summer he was acquired by the Boston Red Sox, for whom he would win his first three championships as a pitcher and an outfielder. Ruth played 15 seasons with the Bombers, amassing four more championships. His records include a. An inveterate cigar smoker, he learned he had throat cancer a decade later and died from the disease on this day in Most boxers battle for the title, money and acclaim. Stevenson, who stood 6 feet 5 inches, weighed pounds and battered opponents with a deft left jab and a sledgehammer straight right, won three consecutive Olympic heavyweight gold medals for Cuba, in in Munich, in Montreal and in Moscow.
His victory made him the first Olympic boxer to earn three consecutive gold medals in the same division. But he might have had a chance for another: Stevenson was still a tremendous fighter when Cuba boycotted the Olympics in Los Angeles. He won the last of his three amateur boxing world titles two years later at the age of After his first two medals, boxing promoters were practically slavering at the potential ticket sales of a Cold War-era match between Stevenson, a product of Communist Cuba, and Muhammad Ali , who died in June at Ali told The New York Times in that he thought Stevenson was a promising amateur fighter but that he was probably not ready for the pros. Stevenson never took the bait.
He had remained a promising amateur at his death, in Havana on June 11, You make a lot of money, but how many boxers in history do we know that died poor? While the world was consumed with war in the first half of the s, three men were subsumed with growing unrest across India, with the fates of tens of millions of their compatriots in their hands. At the stroke of midnight on Aug. But there was a fatal flaw: There were no borders. Indians had struggled for decades to rid themselves of British rule, galvanized by the nonviolent movement led by Gandhi.
Their efforts were kept in check by ruthless military force, but by the end of World War II, Britain lacked the will and the means to defeat the campaign. They reluctantly relinquished India after years, leaving the country at the brink of implosion. Gandhi, Nehru and Jinnah were divided on what should happen once the British left. Gandhi, more an idealist than a realist, wanted an undivided nation; he chose to remain out of government. The British negotiated with the Muslim League, led by Jinnah, who believed that a separate state was the only way to protect the rights of Muslims, who were a minority; and the mostly Hindu Indian National Congress, led by Nehru, who grudgingly went along with the British decision to divide India on the basis of religion.
But it prolonged the uncertainty for millions and very likely increased the loss of life to come. Shortly before the clock struck midnight on Aug. Those stirring words met the occasion, but had no effect on the swirling chaos on the ground as mobs sought on their own to determine the religious makeup of towns and villages. Communities that had lived together for centuries viciously turned on each other. The borders were announced two days after independence: Hindu-majority India flanked by Muslim-majority West Pakistan and East Pakistan. Up to 15 million people moved across the two borders in less than a year, one of the fastest mass migrations in history. Millions of Muslims fled India, most heading west. About the same number of Hindus and Sikhs went mostly east into the new India.
About one million people were killed. On Jan. Nehru ruled for 17 years and died on May 27, Those hastily drawn borders by the British became the focus of four wars and seven decades of animosity between India and Pakistan. For many millions on the subcontinent today, all the promise that came with independence remains unfulfilled. Were you, a family member or your community personally affected by the partition of India? First and last preferred, please. You are agreeing that we can use your submission in all manner and media of The New York Times and that we shall have the right to authorize third parties to do so. And you agree to our Terms of Service. Robin Williams, an indefatigable, improvisational genius, arrived on screens as an alien and left as an Academy Award-winning actor.
After his death , two years ago today, The New York Times described him like this:. Onstage he was known for ricochet riffs on politics, social issues and cultural matters both high and low; tales of drug and alcohol abuse; lewd commentaries on relations between the sexes; and lightning-like improvisations on anything an audience member might toss at him.
His gigs were always rife with frenetic, spot-on impersonations that included Hollywood stars, presidents, princes, prime ministers, popes and anonymous citizens of the world. His irreverence was legendary and uncurtailable. We remember Williams with some of our favorite scenes and lines some of which contain strong language , and encourage readers to do the same on Twitter using tellnyt. Williams broke through to mainstream audiences on this quirky sitcom, in which he played Mork from Ork, a sweet, goofy alien who befriends a young Colorado woman.
Stick that sword into that snake! He voiced an unforgettably zany blue genie in the Walt Disney feature. Oh, dear. Well, they say a man who has to buy a big car like that is trying to compensate for smaller genitals. Williams played an actor who cross-dressed as a British housekeeper to spend more time with his children in this family comedy. Babe Didrikson preferred victory to humility. Didrikson backed up her swagger; There was seemingly no sport she could not master. Some teams had as many as 22 athletes, but Didrikson performed solo in all of the events as a publicity stunt for her sponsor. She won five individual events, tied in a sixth and won the championships single-handed.
At the Games, Didrikson won gold medals in both the javelin throw and the high hurdles. In the high jump, she cleared 5 feet 5 inches, the same as gold medalist Jean Shiley. But she was disqualified on her final jump and awarded the silver medal after a judge ruled her technique had violated Olympic rules, even though the issue had not been raised in earlier rounds. The fact that Didrikson won only three medals also deserves an asterisk. Women were limited to three Olympic track and field events in , so Didrikson could possibly have won more had she been allowed to compete.
She had only taken up the sport in , but had tackled it with the same drive she brought to all of her athletic endeavors. She met her future husband, the professional wrestler George Zaharias, when they were paired to play golf together at a tournament. She took his surname when they married in She developed an aggressive, dramatic style, hitting down sharply and crisply on her iron shots like a man and averaging yards off the tee with her woods.
As an amateur golfer, Zaharias once won 14 tournaments in a row. Zaharias beat Betty Hicks by 12 strokes in the United States Open, an astonishing margin considering that Zaharias had been treated for colon cancer in and had undergone a colostomy. Zaharias became a spokeswoman for cancer awareness and toured for as long as she could, but the disease returned. She died from it in September Eisenhower said at the time. Sports Illustrated lauded her as the woman Athlete of the 20th Century in individual sports. A few seconds, perhaps a fraction of a second, can mean the difference between victory and defeat, between becoming a legend or leaving as a footnote.
Yet that lifetime of training, which propelled Owens into the history books with his performance in the Games in Berlin, seemed for a time as if it might be of little use. With the rise of Nazi Germany roiling Europe, the Amateur Athletic Union remained divided in over whether to allow American athletes to compete in Berlin; it ultimately approved their participation, but only by a narrow vote. The purpose of the Olympics, anyway, was to do your best. The A. Owens, who was black, was encouraged by some civil rights groups to boycott the games. After deciding to go, he found a chilly reception in Germany, where claims of Aryan supremacy were central to Nazi ideology. He was called racial epithets and subjected to other mistreatment.
To the dismay of Hitler and the Nazis, Owens went on to win four gold medals — in the long jump, meter dash, the meter dash and the 4x meter relay — more than any other American track and field athlete in a single Olympic Games. His long jump record, of 8. The son of a sharecropper and grandson of a slave, James Cleveland Owens was born on Sept. Sickly in his youth, he went by the nickname J. But it was his time at Ohio State University that proved crucial in his development. For all his record-breaking Olympic success overseas, his return home was sobering. President Franklin D. Unlike modern-day athletes who can be paid handsomely through endorsements and other commercial deals, Owens had to take myriad jobs to support his family. He later became a motivational speaker and public relations representative.
In , President Gerald R. Ford awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor given to civilians in the United States. Owens died from complications related to lung cancer on March 31, In Rio, the heirs of Owens, like Usain Bolt of Jamaica and Allyson Felix of the United States, are looking to carve their own names in Olympic history, propelled by the chance for glory, pride for country and perhaps, as Owens had expressed, a simple love for the sport. Yauch, known as MCA, was born 52 years ago on this day in Brooklyn.
He attended Edward R. It became the first hip-hop album to reach No. Born and bred in Brooklyn the U. Yauch became a supporter of feminism and a practicing Buddhist, creating the Milarepa Fund to support Tibetan independence from China. A series of Tibetan Freedom Concerts raised awareness for his cause. In , the Beastie Boys offered a post-Sept. Offstage, Yauch, Horovitz and Diamond were businessmen, too. In , they started Grand Royal, their label and magazine. Hans Christian Andersen , whose fairy tales endure more than a century after his death on this day in , had a childhood as difficult as those of his plucky protagonists. Born on April 2, , in Odense, Denmark, Andersen grew up in stark poverty, but his father, a shoemaker, cultivated his imagination.
Andersen was a solitary child who spent most of his time making costumes for puppets and enacting plays on a model stage his father had built for him. He headed for Copenhagen when he was just a teenager. Many of his stories featured children who persevered in the face of ridicule, ignorance and evil. In time, Andersen became famous and traveled around Europe, meeting celebrities like Charles Dickens. So the opening line of his autobiography is hardly hyperbolic. When Henri Cartier-Bresson first picked up a tiny Leica 35mm film camera in , he began a visual journey that would revolutionize 20th-century photography. His camera could be wielded so discreetly that it enabled him to photograph while being virtually unseen by others — a near invisibility that turned photojournalism into a primary source of information and photography into a recognized art form.
In , he and Robert Capa helped create the photographer-owned cooperative photo agency Magnum. Though he often focused on the human condition in his photographs, Cartier-Besson would often look at his contact sheets or prints upside down to judge the images separate from any social content. They stood as rigorous compositions on their own. His signature shooting technique was to find a visually arresting setting for a photograph and then patiently wait for that decisive moment to unfurl.
They also admired his coolness under pressure. The director Louis Malle remembered that, despite all the turmoil at the peak of the student protests in Paris in May , Mr. Cartier-Bresson took photographs at the rate of only about four an hour. With the primacy of digital photography and social media in the 21st century, slow, painstaking image-making is becoming a relic.
Photographers and their images now move at a pace as fast as the events swirling around them. Photographs are no longer rare artifacts, nor primarily a means of learning about the exotic or unknown. They arrive instantaneously on our phones every day from every corner of the world and from all kinds of people. With a smart phone, everyone is a photographer, and images compete for crowd approval on social media channels like Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook. Or are they even more instructive today? Respond on Twitter using the hashtag tellnyt.
James Baldwin, whose cutting, unequivocal writing about race relations helped make America more equal than it was before, was born on this day in , according to many accounts. The Times wrote in his obituary on Dec. I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain. What is ghastly and really almost hopeless in our racial situation now is that the crimes we have committed are so great and so unspeakable that the acceptance of this knowledge would lead, literally, to madness.
The human being, then, in order to protect himself, closes his eyes, compulsively repeats his crimes, and enters a spiritual darkness which no one can describe. Only white Americans can consider themselves to be expatriates. Once I found myself on the other side of the ocean, I could see where I came from very clearly, and I could see that I carried myself, which is my home, with me. You can never escape that. I am the grandson of a slave, and I am a writer. I must deal with both. I was a maverick, a maverick in the sense that I depended on neither the white world nor the black world. It gave me another touchstone — myself. On March 10, , Professor Alexander Graham Bell stood in a Boston boarding house holding a receiving device connected to a series of wires that ran into an adjacent room.
There, his assistant, Thomas A. Watson , waited patiently, clutching another receiver to his ear. Come here! I want—! I heard you! From that experiment using just a few feet of wire would grow an industry that would transform the world. Alexander Graham Bell — who died at 75 on this day in at his estate in Nova Scotia in Canada — was fascinated by speech, sound and communication from a very young age. He was homeschooled by his father, a phoneticist and the developer of Visible Speech, a series of symbols designed to aid the deaf in oration. Bell moved to Boston in the early s and there used methods that he had learned from his father to teach deaf students. His techniques proved so useful that he eventually taught them to others as a professor at the Boston University School of Oratory.
During these years he continued his research into sound at the university, experimenting with electricity. He hired Watson, an electrical designer and mechanic, for his electrical expertise. Soon they were collaborating on acoustic telegraphy, hoping to transmit a human voice by means of pulses along a telegraph wire. Bell was granted a patent for the telephone — No. The patent, however, proved controversial from the start. Even though Bell is known as the father of telephony, his claim as its inventor has been challenged repeatedly in hundreds of legal cases, some of which have appeared before the United States Supreme Court. He would go on to undertake important work in fields such as hydrofoils and aeronautics; make early advances in the creation of the metal detector; and develop a wireless telephone, called the photophone.
Well, fairy tales have a way of coming true in science and invention. I often wonder what Yves Saint Laurent, who was born on this day in , would think of the modern fashion world. This is in part because his name has been in the news recently, given the upheaval at the brand he built, where yet another creative director will debut a newish vision for the label next month. In fact, he never saw them as causes per se, but rather as simply part of the definition of what it meant to be modern. Saint Laurent was among the first designers to embrace black models on the runway, claiming such women as Iman, Katoucha Niane and Dalma Callado as his muses. Naomi Campbell credits him with getting her her first French Vogue cover.
Yet every season, we still seem to have the same discussion about the color myopia of the industry. The power of pantsuits? He understood what they could mean for women back in , when he unveiled his first Le Smoking: a tuxedo for women worn with a ruffled white shirt and a satin cummerbund. The idea shocked the world then. The New York socialite Nan Kempner was turned away from Le Cote Basque for wearing hers, only to return having divested herself of the trousers and wearing the jacket as a mini-dress. That was, somehow, more acceptable to the management. The democratization of fashion? Saint Laurent popularized the idea of high fashion ready-to-wear, introducing Rive Gauche, his Left Bank boutique and off-the-rack collection, in He was the first couturier to make his clothes available to consumers beyond the gilded doors of the haute salons.
Now e-commerce has moved the dial even further, and for the first time this season three designers Tom Ford, Tommy Hilfiger and Burberry will be showing clothes that can be bought the next day, instead of six months down the line. So maybe Mr. Saint Laurent, who died on June 1, , would be rolling his eyes. Maybe he would be laughing. But the breathtaking disclosure was delivered with a major caveat: The practical application of the discovery, if any, would take 25 years. That prediction, as it turned out, was off by a long shot. Hahn made his discovery in his laboratory at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Berlin, working with his assistant, Fritz Strassmann.
Hahn said after the war that he had opposed Nazism. But the process of splitting the uranium atom would not be labeled nuclear fission until later, and Hahn himself, as a chemist rather than a physicist, initially described his discovery in the most equivocal terms. Hahn later said that he had never believed that his discovery would have military implications. He later became an antiwar activist who opposed nuclear proliferation and expressed his fears in this rhyme:. American elections — and the American electorate — grow more complex and confounding every campaign cycle. George H.
Gallup, who died 32 years ago this week at age 82 , could not, and probably would not, tell you who he thought would win in November. But he could tell you what forces were driving public opinion, from fear of crime and terrorism to a widespread unease about rapid cultural and demographic changes. And he most certainly would have pointed out the flaws in a presidential primary system that produced two candidates with such high negative ratings and so many voters in despair. Gallup, an Iowan with a commanding presence and a bone-crushing grip, would also undoubtedly have strong feelings about the profound changes roiling the polling industry. His organization pioneered many of the advances in measuring public opinion , including use of the telephone rather than mail or face-to-face interviews.
That technology is now under scrutiny, as more and more pollsters are turning to the internet and mobile devices to conduct surveys. Gallup and The New York Times rely almost exclusively on telephone polling, but are experimenting with reaching the public in other ways. A Gallup poll famously predicted that Thomas E. Dewey would defeat Harry S. The company instead is now focusing on the mood of the public, taking, as Mr. When Hillary Clinton formally clinches the Democratic presidential nomination this week in front of television cameras and a crowd of thousands, one vital influence will be conspicuously absent: her mother, Dorothy Rodham , whose quintessentially American story of resilience is woven into the fabric of her candidacy.
It was sent to states for ratification and took effect 14 months later. Dorothy and her little sister were sent on a cross-country train to live with their grandparents in California. Dorothy was 8, her sister was 3. Their grandmother was old-fashioned and strict. She preferred black Victorian dress and tolerated no disobedience — Dorothy was not allowed to attend parties or have visitors. After she went trick-or-treating one Halloween, she was confined to her bedroom for a year, let out only to go to school. She cooked, cleaned and nannied for a family in San Gabriel, Calif. She lived in near abject poverty, but in that household Dorothy learned what family was. Would you like it?
But her mother lied: She brought Dorothy back to work as a housekeeper. Heartbroken, Dorothy eventually found secretarial work. In , Dorothy married Hugh Ellsworth Rodham , a conservative Republican who operated a small drapery business. They raised three children — Hillary Diane, Hugh Jr. Dorothy Rodham raised her daughter to stand her ground and hit back if necessary, Mrs. Clinton wrote. In , after Hillary Rodham had entered Wellesley College as a civic-minded Republican and had become plagued by doubts about remaining there, her mother bucked her up. The war in Vietnam and the turmoil of the civil rights movement led Mrs. Clinton to undergo a political transformation. She graduated as an antiwar Democrat. During her unsuccessful campaign for the presidential nomination, Mrs.
Later in life, Dorothy Rodham resumed her education by taking college courses. She died on Nov. Clinton wrote :. Mom measured her own life by how much she was able to help us and serve others. I knew if she was still with us, she would be urging us to do the same. Never rest on your laurels. Never quit. Never stop working to make the world a better place. This is the story of Cassius Marcellus Clay — not that Cassius Clay, the heavyweight fighter and luminous worldwide presence best known as Muhammad Ali.
This story is about the original Cassius Clay: the 19th-century scion of a slaveholding family who became a belligerent emancipationist, globe-trotting statesman, unsparing duelist, early Republican and larger-than-life American eccentric. A firebrand publisher, Yale-educated lawyer, Kentucky state legislator, major general in the Union Army, survivor of multiple assassination attempts and the United States minister to Russia under Presidents Lincoln and Johnson, General Clay was as well known for his private activities as for his public ones.
His obituary in The New York Times, published on July 23, , is remarkable for a level of catty candor rarely seen in American news obituaries of the era — traditionally staid, reverential documents — and, very likely, of any era. On one occasion, caught without his pistol, General Clay was shot above the heart by a would-be assassin. He was 84 at the time. And so he did, taking Dora Richardson as his bride in Young Dora, who evidently had little say in the matter of her betrothal, did not take kindly to being yoked to a man more than five times her age.
She ran away repeatedly from home and from the boarding school to which her husband sent her. The youngest son of Gen. His father had been a hero of the Revolutionary War and was a general in the War of ; Henry Clay, the United States senator and statesman, was a cousin. Returning home after earning a law degree in , he established a practice in Lexington, served three terms in the Kentucky General Assembly and was a captain in the 1st Kentucky Cavalry in the Mexican War. In , he freed his own slaves and the next year started The True American, an emancipationist newspaper published in Lexington. His proposals for gradually ending slavery, which he also promulgated in public lectures, did not go over well in Kentucky.
He kept a cannon on hand to protect the newspaper office from looming mobs and weathered several more attempts on his life. General Clay, who in the s helped establish the Republican Party, was a friend and staunch supporter of Abraham Lincoln. After the outbreak of the Civil War, he organized the Cassius M. Clay Battalion, a corps of several hundred volunteers charged with protecting the White House.
In , Lincoln appointed him minister to Russia, a post he held through the following year and again from to Dispatched to St. Petersburg, General Clay was instrumental in brokering the deal that in let the United States purchase Alaska. Barricaded in White Hall with a veritable arsenal beside him, he pined for the faithless Dora and worried obsessively that enemies, real and imagined, were coming to kill him. Clay Decreed Insane. He fathered a string of children — as many as 10 in some estimates — most with his first wife, although at least one with a St. Petersburg mistress. In , he donated the land for what became Berea College in Berea, Ky.
Established two years later, it was the first interracial and coeducational college in the South, open to blacks and to women from its inception. July 20, — a date that lives in my memory as the great divide, the B. It was the day of the first walk on the moon by humans, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, and I covered the event for The Times from mission control in Houston. I began my front-page article with a sentence as simple as it was astonishing:. Two Americans, astronauts of Apollo 11, steered their fragile four-legged lunar module safely and smoothly to the historic landing yesterday at P.
Neil A. Armstrong, the year-old civilian commander, radioed to earth and the mission control room here:. Just think, the 50th anniversary of the first moon walk is only three years away. Although I am now 82, my doctors seem to think I have a good chance of still being around for it. I doubt I will be up to the dawn-to-dawn workdays and multiple deadlines of yore, but a bit of the remembered excitement should be a tonic. Sadly, Neil Armstrong will be absent. He died on Aug. Aldrin is living and so is the third astronaut, Michael Collins.
The Armstrong obituary I wrote ran above the fold on the front page on Sunday, Aug. As I wrote it, I felt the old surge of Apollo emotion returning. Ever so briefly, I was young again, responding to a deadline and waiting presses. In the obituary , I continued the exchange between Armstrong and mission control:. Thanks a lot. Bell, yet another "victim" who was spared, as you remember, when he slowed down the car to pick up the Negro hitchhiker.
Bell offered Dick a job in his meat-packing company. Dick took him up on it and spent two days there on the pickle line--putting pickles in ham sandwiches. I think it was before he and Perry went back on the road again. Do you think Perry and Dick were surprised by what they were doing when they began the killings? Perry never meant to kill the Clutters at all. He had a brain explosion. I don't think Dick was surprised, although later oh he pretended he was. He knew, even if Perry didn't, that Perry would do it, and he was right. It showed an awfully shrewd instinct on Dick's part. Perry was bothered by it to a certain extent because he'd actually done it. He was always trying to find out in his own mind why he did it.
He was amazed he'd done it. Dick, on the other hand, wasn't amazed, didn't want to talk about it, and simply wanted to forget the whole thing: he wanted to get on with life. None at all. Dick was aggressively heterosexual and had great success. Women liked him. As for Perry, his love for Willie-Jay in the State Prison was profound--and it was reciprocated, but never consummated physically, though there was the opportunity.
The relationship between Perry and Dick was quite another matter. What is misleading, perhaps, is that in comparing himself with Dick, Perry used to say how totally "virile" Dick was. But he was referring, I think, to the practical and pragmatic sides of Dick--admiring them because as a dreamer he had none of that toughness himself at all. Perry's sexual interests were practically nil. When Dick went to the whorehouses, Perry sat in the cafes, waiting. There was only one occasion--that was their first night in Mexico when the two of them went to a bordello run by an "old queen," according to Dick.
Ten dollars was the price--which they weren't about to pay, and they said so. Well, the old queen looked at them and said perhaps he could arrange something for less: he disappeared and came out with this female midget about 3 feet 2 inches tall. Dick was disgusted, but Perry was madly excited. That was the only instance. Perry was such a little moralist after all. How long do you think the two would have stayed together had they not been picked up in Las Vegas? Was the odd bond that kept them together beginning to fray? One senses in the rashness of their acts and plans a subconscious urge to be captured. Dick planned to ditch Perry in Las Vegas, and I think he would have done so. No, I certainly don't think this particular pair wanted to be caught--though this is a common criminal phenomenon.
How do you yourself equate the sort of petty punk that Detective Alvin Dewey feels Dick is with the extraordinary violence in him--to "see hair all over the walls"? Dick's was definitely a small-scale criminal mind. These violent phrases were simply a form of bragging meant to impress Perry, who was impressed, for he liked to think of Dick as being "tough. But himself able to kill. Is it one of the artistic limitations of the nonfiction novel that the writer is placed at the whim of chance?
Suppose, in the case of "In Cold Blood," clemency had been granted? Or the two boys had been less interesting? Wouldn't the artistry of the book have suffered? Isn't luck involved? It is true that I was in the peculiar situation of being involved in a slowly developing situation. I never knew until the events were well along whether a book was going to be possible. There was always the choice, after all, of whether to stop or go on.
The book could have ended with the trial, with just a coda at the end explaining what had finally happened. If the principals had been uninteresting or completely uncooperative, I could have stopped and looked elsewhere, perhaps not very far. A nonfiction novel would have been written about any of the other prisoners in Death Row--York and Latham, or especially Lee Andrews. Andrews was the most subtly crazy person you can imagine--I mean there was just one thing wrong with him. He was the most rational, calm, bright young boy you'd ever want to meet. I mean really bright--which is what made him a truly awesome kind of person. Because his one flaw was, it didn't bother him at all to kill.
Which is quite a trait. The people who crossed his path, well, to his way of thinking, the best thing to do with them was just to put them in their graves. The other day someone suggested that the break-up of a marriage would be an interesting topic for a nonfiction novel. I disagreed. First of all, you'd have to find two people who would be willing--who'd sign a release. Second, their respective views on the subject-matter would be incoherent. And third, any couple who'd subject themselves to the scrutiny demanded would quite likely be a pair of kooks. But it's amazing how many events would work with the theory of the nonfiction novel in mind?
They would provide a subject that satisfied the first essential of the nonfiction novel--that there is a timeless quality about the cause and events. That's important. If it's going to date, it can't be a work of art. The requisite would also be that you would have had to live through the riots, at least part of them, as a witness, so that a depth of perception could be acquired. That event, just three days. It would take years to do. You'd start with the family that instigated the riots without even meaning to.
With the nonfiction novel I suppose the temptation to fictionalize events, or a line of dialogue, for example, must at times be overwhelming. With "In Cold Blood" was there any invention of this sort to speak of--I was thinking specifically of the dog you described trotting along the road at the end of the section on Perry and Dick, and then later you introduce the next section on the two with Dick swerving to hit the dog. Was there actually a dog at that exact point in the narrative, or were you using this habit of Dick's as a fiction device to bridge the two sections? There was a dog, and it was precisely as described.
One doesn't spend almost six years on a book, the point of which is factual accuracy, and then give way to minor distortions. People are so suspicious. They ask, "How can you reconstruct the conversation of a dead girl, Nancy Clutter, without fictionalizing? It's a silly question. Each time Nancy appears in the narrative, there are witnesses to what she is saying and doing--phone calls, conversations, being overheard. When she walks the horse up from the river in the twilight, the hired man is a witness and talked to her then. The last time we see her, in her bedroom, Perry and Dick themselves were the witnesses, and told me what she had said. What is reported of her, even in the narrative form, is as accurate as many hours of questioning, over and over again, can make it.
All of it is reconstructed from the evidence of witnesses which is implicit in the title of the first section of the book "The Last to See Them Alive. After their conviction, you spent years corresponding and visiting with the prisoners. What was the relationship between the two of them? When they were taken to Death Row, they were right next door to each other. But they didn't talk much. Perry was intensely secretive and wouldn't ever talk because he didn't want the other prisoners--York, Latham, and particularly Andrews, whom he despised to hear anything that he had to say.
He would write Dick notes on "kites" as he called them. He would reach out his hand and zip the "kite" into Dick's cell. Dick didn't much enjoy receiving these communications because they were always one form or another of recrimination--nothing to do with the Clutter crime, but just general dissatisfaction with things there in prison and. Perry'd send Dick a note: "If I hear you tell another of those filthy jokes again I'll kill you when we go to the shower! It was over a moral question that he and I had a tremendous falling-out once.
It lasted for about two months. I used to send them things to read--both books and magazines. Dick only wanted girlie magazines--either those or magazines that had to do with cars and motors. I sent them both whatever they wanted. Well, Perry said to me one time: "How could a person like you go on contributing to the degeneracy of Dick's mind by sending him all this degenerate filthy literature? He'd got very grand talking in terms that way. I tried to explain to him that I was neither his judge nor Dick's--and if this was what Dick wanted to read, that was his business.
Perry felt that was entirely wrong--that people had to fulfill an obligation towards moral leadership. Very grand. Well, I agree with him up to a point, but in the case of Dick's reading matter it was absurd, of course, and so we got into such a really serious argument about it that afterwards, for two months, he wouldn't speak or even write to me. Except for those occasional fallings-out, they'd write twice a week. I wrote them both twice a week all those years.
One letter to the both of them didn't work. I had to write them both, and I had to be careful not to be repetitious, because they were very jealous of each other. Or rather, Perry was terribly jealous of Dick, and if Dick got one more letter than he did, that would create a great crisis. I wrote them about what I was doing, and where I was living, describing everything in the most careful detail. Perry was interested in my dog, and I would always write about him, and send along pictures. I often wrote them about their legal problems. Do you think if the social positions of the two boys had been different that their personalities would have been markedly different? Of course, there wasn't anything peculiar about Dick's social position. He was a very ordinary boy who simply couldn't sustain any kind of normal relationship with anybody.
But I don't think so. He had a very natural criminal instinct towards everything. He was oriented towards stealing from the beginning. On the other hand, I think Perry could have been an entirely different person. I really do. His life had been so incredibly abysmal that I don't see what chance he had as a little child except to steal and run wild. Of course, you could say that his brother, with exactly the same background, went ahead and became the head of his class. What does it matter that he later killed himself. No, it's there--it's the fact that the brother did kill himself, in spite of his success, that shows how really awry the background of the Smiths' lives were.
Perry had extraordinary qualities, but they just weren't channeled properly to put it mildly. He was a really a talented boy in a limited way--he had genuine sensitivity--and, as I've said, when he talked about himself as an artist, he wasn't really joking at all. You once said that emotionality made you lose writing control--that you had to exhaust emotion before you could get to work. Was there a problem with "In Cold Blood," considering your involvement with the case and its principals? Yes, it was a problem. Nevertheless, I felt in control throughout. However, I had great difficulty writing the last six or seven pages.
This even took a physical form: hand paralysis. I finally used a typewriter--very awkward as I always write in longhand. Your feeling about capital punishment is implicit in the title of the book. How do you feel the lot of Perry and Dick should have been resolved? I feel that capital crimes should all be handled by Federal Courts, and that those convicted should be imprisoned in a special Federal prison where, conceivably, a life-sentence could mean, as it does not in state courts, just that. Did you see the prisoners on their final day? Perry wrote you a page letter that you received after the execution. Did he mention that he had written it? Yes, I was with them the last hour before execution. No, Perry did not mention the letter. He only kissed me on the cheek, and said, "Adios, amigo.
It was a rambling letter, often intensely personal, often setting forth his various philosophies. He had been reading Santayana. Somewhere he had read "The Last Puritan," and had been very impressed by it. He always wanted me to go into great detail about that visit, Santayana had looked like, and the nuns, and all the physical details. Also, he had been reading Thoreau. Narratives didn't interest him at all. So in his letter he would write: "As Santayana says"--and then there'd be five pages of Santayana did say.
Or he'd write: "I agree with Thoreau about this. Do you? My files would almost fill a whole small room, right up to the ceiling. All my research. Hundreds of letters. Newspaper clippings. Court records--the court records almost fill two trunks. There were so many Federal hearings on the case. One Federal hearing was twice as long as the original court trial. A huge assemblage of stuff. I have some of the personal belongings--all of Perry's because he left me everything he owned; it was miserably little, his books, written in and annotated; the letters he received while in prison.
Rather a heartbreaking assemblage that arrived about a month after the execution. I simply couldn't bear to look at it for a long time. I finally sorted everything. Then, also, after the execution, that age letter from Perry got to me. The last line of the letter--it's Thoreau, I think, a paraphrase, goes "And suddenly I realize life is the father and death is the mother. I think I may burn it all. That is one side of Truman Capote's remarkable, tensely exciting, moving, superbly written "true account"--the underserved, unforeseen, hideous slaughter of an ideal American family.
On the other side, in delicate balance, is the story of their destroyers, Richard Eugene Hickock and Perry Edward Smith. Again, the horror stands out--for Hickock and Smith had only the flimsiest of plans that November evening. They had never met the Clutters before entering their home and shooting them down, and afterward they scarcely bothered, scarcely were capable of covering their tracks. It was a web of chance that connected the villains and the victims, and it was not much more than chance--stray weaknesses, the tenacity of one detective, the pathetic aimlessness of the murderers wanderings'--that finally brought Hickock and Smith to ground.
On April 14, , they were hanged for murder on a gallows in a warehouse in the Kansas State Penitentiary at Lansing, Kan. It is reportage in a depth we have not seen before. Truman Capote went to Kansas for the first time in his life after reading about the Clutter murder in the newspaper, and, despite being most un- Kansan, was able to win the confidence of virtually everyone involved with the crime--Clutter friends and neighbors, the police and eventually the murderers. He was on the courthouse steps when Hickock and Smith were returned to Holcomb; he visited them in their cells and, at Smith's request, was present as a witness at their hanging.
Part of Capote's equipment is his carefully trained memory: he took no notes while interviewing, and nothing was taped; instead, he listened, and thereby won extraordinarily candid accounts.Author of in cold blood wrote about his father, Wyatt Cooper, a author of in cold blood and actor from Mississippi. He was He joined NBC in as an executive. Author of in cold blood the circumstances, they were suspicious. Serial Murder History author of in cold blood quite cooperative jackie chan parents telling me about author of in cold blood trip, but author of in cold blood asked me not to use his real author of in cold blood. But Siegel, who died in a hail of bullets 69 years ago todaywas also something A Thousand Splendid Suns Analysis a visionary. The Independent.