Examining one of the most infamous books to have ever been published in American history, »American Anarchist« tells the story of The Anarchist Cookbook, a collection of instructions for the manufacture of explosives, illicit drugs, and other dangerous items. The book was written by William Powell as an act of protest during the Vietnam War but has been credited as inspiration and instruction for, amongst other things, the Oklahoma City federal building bomber, the Columbine High School shooters, and the London 7/7 attacks.

Combining archived footage with current interviews of Powell, Siskel conducts an investigation into one of the most controversial books ever to hit the mass market. The film touches on the idea of choice and responsibility, scrutinizing Powell for his original motives and examining them against his current feelings today. »American Anarchist« provides an interesting, and yet horrifying, survey of American, and universal, anarchy.

American Anarchist poster
American Anarchist
Charlie Siskel
United States
80 min
Documentary Competition
Premiere status
Nordic Premiere
Production year
See all films from the 2016 festival