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The Anarchist Cookbook will shock, it will disturb, it will provoke. It places in historical perspective an era when "Turn on, Burn down, Blow up" are revolutionary slogans of the day. Says the author" "This book... is not written for the members of fringe political groups, such as the Weatherman, or The Minutemen. Those radical groups don't need this book. They already know everything that's in here. If the real people of America, the silent majority, are going to survive, they must educate themselves. That is the purpose of this book." In what the author considers a survival guide, there is explicit information on the uses and effects of drugs, ranging from pot to heroin to peanuts. There i detailed advice concerning electronics, sabotage, and surveillance, with data on everything from bugs to scramblers. There is a comprehensive chapter on natural, non-lethal, and lethal weapons, running the gamut from cattle prods to sub-machine guns to bows and arrows. The section on explosives and booby traps ranges from TNT to whistle traps. One hundred and eleven drawings supplement the recipes. "This book is for anarchists," says William Powell, "Those who feel able to discipline themselves on all the subjects from drugs, to weapons, to explosives) that are currently illegal in this country." Techniques, disciplines, precautions, and warnings pervade what may be the most disquieting "how-to" book of contemporary times.
From the Author
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.