“…but not everyone prints them in a book.” — Ochan Powell speaking about husband William, author of “The Anarchist Cookbook,” in Charlie Siskel‘s American Anarchist:
From Jessica Kiang‘s 9.11.16 Variety review:
“In 1970, at 19 years of age, William Powell wrote the infamous bomb-making manual and anti-authoritarian tract ‘The Anarchist Cookbook‘, and in his compelling but ultimately sanctimonious documentary American Anarchist, director Charlie Siskel insists that Powell repeatedly berate himself for it.
“What starts out as a potted political history of a turbulent time and a righteously confrontational investigation into intentionality and personal moral culpability for the actions of others (and whether such things have a statute of limitations) turns into a self-righteously insistent harangue that leaves an especially sour taste in light of Powell’s sudden passing in July, just a few months after these interviews were filmed.
“Why ask such mammoth and difficult questions when it’s easier to grill Powell about his personal morals right there on camera? It’s easier, but it’s also cheaper, and it feels borderline cruel, not to mention repetitive, when Siskel continues to pursue ever deeper mea culpas even after Powell has confessed just how much he regrets writing the book in the first place.”