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Banned Book Review: The Anarchist Cookbook

January 26, 2006

57. The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell

Reason: contains instructions for manufacturing explosives and telephone hacking devices

Contrary to what you may have heard, The Anarchist Cookbook is not, in fact, available online.  Oh, there are plenty of sites claiming to be the Anarchist Cookbook.  Most of them even include sections from the original Cookbook scattered among the collections of criminal how-tos.  But the Cookbook itself isn’t as easily available as some people would have you believe.  In fact, many of the websites claiming to be the Cookbook actually do something that the Cookbook couldn’t manage to.  Get it right.  The Cookbook itself is a collection of general instructions on how to cause mayhem, originally written by a 19 year old wanting to protest the Vietnam war.  A 19 year old without a whole lot of familiarity with the concept of research, by the way.  Along with numerous websites claiming to be the original Cookbook, you will also find websites which go into a great deal of detail on the factual errors found in the Cookbook.  The book itself isn’t very well written, and even if the instructions were accurate, most aren’t detailed enough to do any real good.  Most are the equivalent of telling someone to combine water, flour, and yeast to get bread, while leaving out the measurements and the fact that cooking is required.
As an interesting side note, there’s a great letter from the original author at the Amazon site denouncing the Cookbook.

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