In 1970, William Powell wanted to help build a new society, so he taught the world how to blow up the old one. As the heady days of the late 60’s counterculture and political upheaval turned darker, Powell, at 19, wrote one of the most infamous books ever published: The Anarchist Cookbook. Part manifesto, part bomb-making manual, it went on to sell over 2 million copies, and it’s been associated with decades of anti-government attacks, abortion clinic bombings, school shootings and homegrown domestic terrorism. Now 65, Powell, haunted by his creation, struggles to make sense of the damage it’s done. After writing it, he left the US, leading an itinerant life, teaching kids with special needs — ironically, the kinds of kids who may have turned to violence and the Cookbook. The film is a cautionary tale of youthful rebellion, unforeseen consequences, and a universal, all-too human story of an older man, wrestling with his past, his identity, and coming to terms with who he really is.
AMERICAN ANARCHIST with you. The documentary will open in theaters and on demand, March 24.