William Powell, author of the 1969 quasi-classic work 'The Anarchist Cookbook', has repented of writing it. In an op-ed in the Guardian, he wrote:
Forty-four years ago this month, in December 1969, I quit my job as a manager of a bookstore in New York City's Greenwich Village and began to write the Anarchist Cookbook. My motivation at the time was simple; I was being actively pursued by the US military, who seemed single-mindedly determined to send me to fight, and possibly die, in Vietnam.
I wanted to publish something that would express my anger. It seems that I succeeded in ways that far exceeded what I imagined possible at the time. The Cookbook is still in print 40 years after publication, and I am told it has sold in excess of 2m copies.
I have never held the copyright, and so the decision to continue publishing it has been in the hands of the publisher.
I now find myself arguing for it to be quickly and quietly taken out of print. What has changed?
. . .
Over the years, I have come to understand that the basic premise behind the Cookbook is profoundly flawed. The anger that motivated the writing of the Cookbook blinded me to the illogical notion that violence can be used to prevent violence. I had fallen for the same irrational pattern of thought that led to US military involvement in both Vietnam and Iraq. The irony is not lost on me.
To paraphrase Aristotle: it is easy to be angry. But to be angry with the right person, at the right time and to the right degree that is hard – that is the hallmark of a civilized person.
There's more at the link.
I can understand the anger. I felt it for many years in South Africa, and it led me to make mistakes of which I remain ashamed to this day. (It also led me to do some things of which I remain proud . . . I suppose there are pluses and minuses to almost everything.) I can understand Mr. Powell wanting to remove the fruits of his anger from the marketplace today.
Unfortunately, once one has cast one's bread upon the waters (figuratively speaking), it goes where time and tide take it. One has lost control of its destination. The Anarchist Cookbook has allegedly inspired more than a few terrorists and criminals around the world. Once that sort of thing is out there, the genie can't be put back into the bottle. That's why I most profoundly and devoutly hope that the Anarchist Cookbook will never be put into widespread use in this country by those who are fed up with the way things are going. Sometimes the cure really is worse than the disease. I've seen that at first hand, over far too long a period in far too many countries. I know.