William Powell just cannot outrun his teenage mistakes. His 1971 debut The Anarchist Cookbook, released when he was 19, is back in the news this week after it was tied to Colorado high-school shooter Karl Pierson, the latest in a decades-long line of mass murders said to have been learned from the how-to guide. Powell — perhaps futilely, thanks largely to the Internet, where copies abound — would like it to just go away.
“The Anarchist Cookbook should go quietly and immediately out of print,” he told NBC News today. “It is no longer responsible or defensible to keep it in print.” Unfortunately, he also doesn’t own the work.
“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,” Powell writes in a similar message that appears on the book’s Amazon page. “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,” he explains, calling it a “misguided and potentially dangerous publication.”
The guy making money off of it cares far less. “I’m sure I got my money back,” said Billy Blann, whose Delta Press brought the rights in 2002. Blann’s other titles include Justifiable Homicide, The Poor Man’s Nuclear Bomb, and The Butane Lighter Hand Grenade. Capitalism and its homicidal enemies unite!