Let's just say that I've crossed paths with the Anarchist Cookbook [Wikipedia] [Amazon] a couple of times in my life. In my youth, making a film canister bomb was a popular diversion, and the cookbook teaches you how to make it with stuff you can buy at a scientific material supply store. The first step is making gunpowder — a much more straightforward process than you'd think. Before I moved to Berkeley in 1995, I'd never owned a copy — I didn't even know that it was sold in bookstores. I figured that you'd have to locate some anarchists and then trade them some vegan stir fry and/or a black hoodie if you wanted a copy. But soon after I moved here, I ran across a really old copy of it (at Shakespeare and Co on Telegraph, for those keeping track), and I figured that it couldn't hurt to have it around. You never know when you're going to need to make mustard gas, right? I brought it up to the counter, and the clerk — a grizzled, older Berkeley beardo — glanced at the cover, then looked gravely at me. He said: "I'm sorry, but I'm going to need to see some ID before I sell you this." Assuming that one needed to be 18 years old to buy it, I started to reach into my pocket. He started laughing, and said something like, "Hey man, I'm just kidding. We still live in a free country, right?" I laughed, and then another clerk added, "Yeah, someday you'll have to register that book with the local police." It was quiet for a moment, and then we all laughed. Was 1995 really that long ago? It seems like a much simpler time.Related: the Draino bomb. Beware.UPDATE: I didn't read the Amazon entry for this book before I wrote this, but I just noticed that it contains a note from the author, William Powell, who requested that the book be taken out of print: "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."Salon chimed in when it learned of Powell's request: "It must be hard to spend your whole life trying to live down an unedited screed that you wrote at the surly age of 19, which just happens to contain some recipes that might accidentally kill, maim or otherwise discombobulate the budding anarchists trying to brew them."