In 1969, 19 year old William Powell wrote the now classic The Anarchist Cookbook. He was very angry at the time that the US military was pursuing him to fight in the Vietnam War. It’s basically a “how-to” book on surviving a violent government action against its own citizens. Today William is on a very different sort of quest.
He would like his own book taken out of print.
In this article Powell details his radical change of heart and his belief that violence is not an effective or appropriate response to violence. For the last 40 years he has worked in Africa and Asia as a teacher specializing in those with learning disabilities in the poorest and most forgotten places. He grieves that this book, written when he was so young and lacking real wisdom, continues to be used to encourage and facilitate violent approaches to evil.
We’re grateful that real change is possible, and that even hearts bent on destruction and hatred can be redeemed and turned to deep goodness.
From Powell’s author remarks on Amazon:
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.