The book is a documentary account (no, I'm not entirely sure what that means) of the 1959 murders of a family in a small town in Kansas. Oddly or unfortunately enough there were plenty of other murders, just as pointless, just as brutal, but apparently not as shocking or well-known, around the same time, so don't confuse the story as an end of innocence tale. Why Capote chose to write about this one, I don't know, but he does so with great eloquence and empathy making this work every bit as exciting and unbelievable as fiction. If you're interested in history--or in murder (I'm being flippant, but there's fascinating insight into the mind of murderers)--then you may well enjoy, for lack of a better word, this book. I also saw the movie, as I am planning to teach this text and I wanted to see what was covered and, more importantly, what wasn't. Unfortunately, the film is from the 60s, and suffers greatly from the point of view of a modern movie-goer who expects action and adventure, although it did a somewhat decent job painting a vivid picture in two hours what the book took 340 pages to do.