[N]ew evidence undermines Mr. Capote’s claim that his best seller was an “immaculately factual” recounting of the bloody slaughter of the Clutter family in their Kansas farmhouse. It also calls into question the image of Mr. Dewey as the brilliant, haunted hero.
As I mentioned in a previous post on this book, I’ve got some interest in the accuracy of In Cold Blood, having spent the bulk of my senior year in college researching and writing my honor’s thesis on it.
The Dewey allegations are nothing new, and frankly I find some of the WSJ piece’s implications reductive (such as—unless I’m misreading here—an apparent motivation for the movie contract). The main thrust of my honor’s thesis was that In Cold Blood, despite not being “immaculately factual” (as Capote claimed) still conformed to a lot of the norms of classic journalistic objectivity.
I’m not sure if this evidence, if true, changes much of that—the chapters the WSJ labels as “crucial” aren’t, really, much more “crucial” than dozens of other scenes in the book—but it is an interesting revelation nonetheless.