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The Anarchist Cookbook Paperback – September, 1989

3.8 out of 5 stars 503 customer reviews

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Paperback, September, 1989
$52.00 $8.99
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--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Author

I have recently been made aware of several websites that focus on The Anarchist Cookbook. As the author of the original publication some 30 plus years ago, it is appropriate for me to comment.

The Anarchist Cookbook was written during 1968 and part of 1969 soon after I graduated from high school. At the time, I was 19 years old and the Vietnam War and the so-called "counter culture movement" were at their height. I was involved in the anti-war movement and attended numerous peace rallies and demonstrations. The book, in many respects, was a misguided product of my adolescent anger at the prospect of being drafted and sent to Vietnam to fight in a war that I did not believe in.

I conducted the research for the manuscript on my own, primarily at the New York City Public Library. Most of the contents were gleaned from Military and Special Forces Manuals. I was not member of any radical group of either a left or right wing persuasion.

I submitted the manuscript directly to a number of publishers without the help or advice of an agent. Ultimately, it was accepted by Lyle Stuart Inc. and was published verbatim - without editing - in early 1970. Contrary to what is the normal custom, the copyright for the book was taken out in the name of the publisher rather than the author. I did not appreciate the significance of this at the time and would only come to understand it some years later when I requested that the book be taken out of print.

The central idea to the book was that violence is an acceptable means to bring about political change. I no longer agree with this.

Apparently in recent years, The Anarchist Cookbook has seen a number of 'copy cat' type publications, some with remarkably similar titles (Anarchist Cookbook II, III etc). I am not familiar with these publications and cannot comment upon them. I can say that the original Anarchist Cookbook has not been revised or updated in any way by me since it was first published.

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.

William Powell

About the Author

Recognized as one of America's foremost colorists, William F. Powell has taught art classes and workshops for 35 years in various art media. Today he is an extremely popular author, and he attracts more admirers each year with the numerous titles he has produced for Walter Foster Publishing, including "Color Mixing Recipes", which he originally conceptualized, designed, and illustrated himself. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Barricade Books (September 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0962303208
  • ISBN-13: 978-0962303203
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 8.2 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (503 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #774,683 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am an avid collector of controversial books both for their historical and entertainment value. Don't waste your money on The Anarchist Cookbooks sold here on Amazon. While the picture(s) may show an original one, these are actually re-prints from 2002 and a lot of the original content has been removed or edited. I am very disappointed in the misleading sales tactic.
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Format: Paperback
My first exposure to this counter-culture classic was in the most unexpected of settings, my college ROTC classroom. The book written in protest of the Viet-Nam War was being used by a Green Beret veterain of that same war to train us who might be leading troops in, yes, that same war. The irony speaks for itself. I understand that William Powell no longer agrees with what he wrote as a young man, and symphathise with the plight of an artist who has lost control of his work. However, I am glad (and somewhat suprised) that this is still available. Not only is it an important sociological piece of the period, but it is filled with information that could be useful if (god forbid) things ever hit the fan. That same ROTC instructor told me time and again, "Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it," so this book gets a space on my shelf just in case. It's the best book I hope you'll never need.
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Format: Paperback
First published in the turbulent '60's, this book has attained a sort of cult status for that time. It reflects many of the mores and problems of that generation of young people, and is worth it for a read for that, if for no other reason.
So far as bomb-making and all of that, the book is technically good, but the methodology involving use of nitrogen compounds, particularly red, fuming nitric acid and cotton, to make guncotton, is fundamentally ununsound and unsafe. You could blow a hand off or worse very easily, following Powell's directions. I think "The Monkeywrench Gang" and others of its genre are more in tune with today's eco-warrior desires. Also, the book never mentions the superiority of Oxydol and its green beads, as a binding agent for homemade napalm. For shame.
Even with these quibbles, the book is entertaining, and offers a clear glimpse into the mentality of a now-settled generation.
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Format: Paperback
I first read "The Anarchist's Cookbook" when I was a teen back in the late 70's. I was actually interested in the writing tho not the philosophy and my friends and I made several of the compounds listed in the book. Only one worked and if I remember correctly at least 2 almost killed us while we were preparing them!
I joined the marines soon after high-school and it was during my third year and taking numerous survival classes that I was introduced to the book again. By my Staff Sargent nonetheless! He almost smiled a number of times as he showed our unit the various ways the reader could kill themselves and (often) first responders by simply following the instructions THE AUTHOR wrote! Just about every explosive recipe is wrong one way or the other, usually in the way a particular ingredient is introduced into the mix. Talking about psychodelics, he raves about nutmeg without discussing the extremely thin line between a dose and an overdose! (approx .25 - .30 gram). He also ignores other, more easily obtained and safer alternatives. Now I have heard that later editions started this. Well, if by later editions you mean ones printed in 1975 -1976 then you might be right.
I would avoid this book at all costs. There are MUCH better titles out there which DO have correct information in them such as "The Poor Man's James Bond Vols 1 & 2.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I used to own a copy of this book back in the 70s and I remembered it as being some dark, secret handbook of recipes and anarchy.

Somewhere over the years I lost my copy and had totally forgotten about it.

But at a recent gun show I saw copies for sale and being at the age where I am starting to get nostalgic for what I consider a "better time" (meaning the 70s and 80s), I picked up a copy to recapture some lost youth I suppose.

Oh my... how 30 years can change ones perception.

This book is interesting to read for its historical snapshot of late 60's drug induced hippy era idealism and anti-establishment rebellion, but otherwise THIS IS PRETTY DARNED FUNNY !!!!

As a degreed Chemist myself, I will say that maybe 30% of the formulas will actually work IF (and I stress IF) you don't kill yourself first because of the inherent dangers and lack of safety instructions. The other 70% of the formulas are pretty much rubbish.

As for the drawings and schematics for booby trap devices they are less detailed and about as useful as the pictures you see Wiley Coyote reading on a Road Runner cartoon.

Finally the forward by Peter Bergmann is so off the mark and now proven wrong by history that it dates the book horribly -- but as I said earlier also makes it a fun "snapshot of late 60s- early 70s" mentality among the youth culture.

It's a cute little relic and piece of "dark literature" from a simpler more innocent time in America --- but for those of you truly seeking to form your own world order, overthrow the government and let Anarchy run wild, you may want to look elsewhere for your motivation and education.
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