‘Anarchist Cookbook’ Author Wants It Banned In Wake Of Latest Murder

Anarchist cookbookOne suspects that more than a few disinfonauts have perused a copy of The Anarchist Cookbook since it was first published in 1970. It quickly became something of an underground classic, but author William Powell later disavowed it. On the book’s Amazon page he is quoted as saying:

During the years that followed its publication, I went to university, married, became a father and a teacher of adolescents. These developments had a profound moral and spiritual effect on me. I found that I no longer agreed with what I had written earlier and I was becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the ideas that I had put my name to. In 1976 I became a confirmed Anglican Christian and shortly thereafter I wrote to Lyle Stuart Inc. explaining that I no longer held the views that were expressed in the book and requested that The Anarchist Cookbook be taken out of print. The response from the publisher was that the copyright was in his name and therefore such a decision was his to make – not the author’s. In the early 1980′s, the rights for the book were sold to another publisher. I have had no contact with that publisher (other than to request that the book be taken out of print) and I receive no royalties.

Unfortunately, the book continues to be in print and with the advent of the Internet several websites dealing with it have emerged. I want to state categorically that I am not in agreement with the contents of The Anarchist Cookbook and I would be very pleased (and relieved) to see its publication discontinued. I consider it to be a misguided and potentially dangerous publication which should be taken out of print.

Now he is calling for it to be completely taken out of print in the wake of a high school murder, setting him at odds with the publisher, according to NBC News:

It was an accessory in the arsenal of Karl Pierson, the student who opened fire last week inside a Colorado high school, leaving one girl in a coma before taking his own life.

“The Anarchist Cookbook,” which Pierson read in the days before his rampage, isn’t a guide to culinary revolution. It’s the original how-to of homicide and mass murder — and sales are still raging, with distribution from the likes of Amazon and Barnes & Noble, even as the work is linked to terrorist acts around the world.

Now, in rare interviews with NBC News, the publisher and the author of the “Cookbook” are trading blows about the book’s future.

“’The Anarchist Cookbook’ should go quietly and immediately out of print,” says William Powell, who wrote the book as a stern 19-year-old, an opponent of the Vietnam War who felt violence was justified if it could prevent even greater violence in the process. He has since renounced that position, but never so forcefully, telling NBC in an email that “it is no longer responsible or defensible to keep it in print.”

Published in 1971, the book has sold more than two million copies and influenced hundreds of malcontents, mischief makers, and killers. Police have linked it to the Croatian radicals who bombed Grand Central Terminal and hijacked a TWA flight in 1976; the Puerto Rican separatists who bombed FBI headquarters in 1981; Thomas Spinks, who led a group that bombed 10 abortion clinics in the 1980s; Timothy McVeigh, who bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995; the Columbine High School shooters of 1999; and the 2005 London public transport bombers…

[continues at NBC News]

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22 Responses to ‘Anarchist Cookbook’ Author Wants It Banned In Wake Of Latest Murder

  1. Hadrian999 December 17, 2013 at 2:39 pm #

    going out of print…..that’ll make a difference lol

  2. American Cannibal December 17, 2013 at 2:39 pm #

    Better luck in the next life, Powell.

  3. emperorreagan December 17, 2013 at 2:45 pm #

    I had a copy years ago and sold it. I agreed with the assessment I had read that most of it was crap. Uncle Fester’s books seemed much better.

  4. dragline December 17, 2013 at 2:51 pm #

    What he’s saying is he used to be a great Christian.

    • rhetorics_killer December 18, 2013 at 1:41 am #

      Yes, and that now that he has reached an average ‘dreamy’ life, he is no longer an anarchist.. what a move..!

  5. InfvoCuernos December 17, 2013 at 3:51 pm #

    I feel like its a “gateway” book. Its not very useful in and of itself, but pre-internet, it opened up my eyes that there was a counterculture that consisted of more than hippies that just wanted to smoke pot all day. Now its purpose for me is to serve as an indicator that someone wants to appear edgy without actually making any commitment. And the banana peel recipe is total shit.

    • jasonpaulhayes December 18, 2013 at 7:00 pm #

      Well said !

      When I was a kid I had the book and yeah it was a lot of fun to get out the chemistry set (though you never see them in the US anymore) pretend you were an Alchemist, make small incendiary devices, pick locks, etc. With good parenting, supervision and education, nobody got hurt and together with my teachers, friends and family I learned a lot and had a lot of good times.

  6. Rhoid Rager December 17, 2013 at 6:13 pm #

    The biggest tragedy is that he put the word ‘Anarchist’ on the cover. What a shithead.

    • Jin The Ninja December 17, 2013 at 8:14 pm #

      that’s my feeling.
      if he called it ‘the idiots guide to mayhem and murder’ it would have been much more accurate and much less (incorrectly) political.

      • Anarchy Pony December 17, 2013 at 8:16 pm #

        “Idiots inaccurate guide to mayhem and murder” is more like. Half the stuff(at least) in it is wrong.

  7. godozo December 17, 2013 at 10:29 pm #

    I got it back in the mid eighties, back when its title gave it an edgy reputation. Read it through, loved the rants, didn’t pay too much attention to the recipes, found it puzzling that a book written in 1969 would have its Anarchist history ending around World War One. Sold it when I needed the $$$ eventually.

    Later on came to find out that the original author put the book together in a fit of anger, cobbling much of it together from what he could find. Hence his incomplete guide on detonating suspension bridges, his banandina recipe and the odd recipe in the back which I now wonder whether it was a clue planted by Mr. Powell to tell everyone to not take the book TOO seriously.

    Haven’t thought about it since I read the note by the author.

  8. Dingbert December 17, 2013 at 10:42 pm #

    My “Anarchist Cookbook:”

    Page 1: Machetes.
    Page 2: Molotovs.
    Further Reading: Alberto Bayo and Carlos Marighella.

    The end.

  9. DeepCough December 18, 2013 at 1:35 am #

    There are a whole lotta books out there that make The Anarchist Cookbook look downright amateurish (which it is, compared to the “Black Book” manuals).

    • Louis Janney December 18, 2013 at 7:48 am #

      The most recent being any book by Ayn Rand. Didn’t she also disavow her position and accept welfare and food stamps later in her life? However, her disciples still are intent on using her philosophy to destroy society.

      • DeepCough December 18, 2013 at 9:16 pm #

        I agree, Ayn Rand is full of shit.

      • godozo December 19, 2013 at 12:19 am #

        Don’t know about any disavowals. I saw a tape of her last speech, and she didn’t seem to have backed off a bit from her stands. Also, If I remember right she signed onto Medicare under the name “Alyssa O’Conner.”

        • Louis Janney December 19, 2013 at 9:15 am #

          So if I sign up for benefits as Roger Rabbit , it makes it OK to be a taker and yet rail against takers in my nom de plume?

          • Andrew December 19, 2013 at 11:08 am #

            Greed is good if I’m the one being greedy. If others are being greedy, it cuts into my deserved rewards.

    • Gordon Klock December 18, 2013 at 10:35 pm #

      I once had all 3 volumes of the Improvised Munition Blackbooks, very scary recipes for making all sorts of horrific, explosive/incendiary/& generally deadly things,(like how to turn a Zippo into a functional hand-grenade), the recipes were mostly dangerous as hell (with LOTS of stern,sober,& concise warnings at every step in the procedures),unlike this stupid,”Anarchist” cookbook, that would mostly harm & possibly kill anyone who followed it’s limited, & often vague directions…(intentionally dangerous, for political/manipulative reasons?)

  10. Jason Chrisite December 18, 2013 at 10:34 pm #

    I traded mine for a sack of kind bud at the Oakland Swap Meet. Over-rated, but it still has some neat stuff in it. The author’s obviously an idiot.

  11. puppetDoug December 23, 2013 at 2:00 pm #

    Hm? A book that inspires mass murder with its mere existence? We should totally take it out of print. That or put it in every drawer of every motel room in the country.

    • Fred Derf December 23, 2013 at 4:24 pm #

      Good point.

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