The Anarchist CookbookADDPMP390
The Anarchist Cookbook, first published in 1971, is a book that contains instructions for the manufacture of explosives, rudimentary telecommunications phreaking devices, and related weapons, as well as instructions for home manufacturing of illicit drugs, including LSD. It was written by William Powell at the apex of the counterculture era to protest against United States involvement in the Vietnam War. Powell converted to Anglicanism in 1976, and later attempted to have the book removed from circulation, but the copyright belonged to the publisher who continued circulation until the company was acquired in 1991. Its legality has been questioned in several jurisdictions.
At the time of its publication, one Federal Bureau of Investigation memo described The Anarchist Cookbook as “one of the crudest, low-brow, paranoiac writing efforts ever attempted”. The book was reviewed by the Department of Justice, the White House, the FBI, and by both John Dean and Mark Felt, Richard Nixon’s lawyer and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s associate director respectively. While having concerns about the text, the FBI concluded that it could not be regulated as it was published through mass media. Furthermore, the FBI ruled that the Anarchist Cookbook does not incite “forcible resistance to any law of the United States” and is therefore protected under the First Amendment. While much of the text was deemed to be inaccurate, the FBI concluded that the chapter on explosives “appears to be accurate in most respects”. Since its conception, the FBI has kept records of the book, releasing the bulk of its investigation file in 2010.