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American Anarchist (2016)

TV-MA | | Documentary | 8 October 2016 (USA)
The story of one of the most infamous books ever written, "The Anarchist Cookbook," and the role it's played in the life of its author, now 65, who wrote it at 19 in the midst of the counterculture upheaval of the late '60s and early '70s.

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The story of one of the most infamous books ever written, "The Anarchist Cookbook," and the role it's played in the life of its author, now 65, who wrote it at 19 in the midst of the counterculture upheaval of the late '60s and early '70s.

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8 October 2016 (USA)  »

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Amerikos anarchistas  »

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Interesting Subject, Sleazy Film-maker
28 June 2017 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

William Powell wrote the Anarchist Cookbook when he was a teenager. Now in his sixties, he is a retired school teacher, who has spent most of his responsible adult life trying to help teach difficult to reach children. In this documentary, he talks about his radical years in the late 60s and his life subsequent to the book's publication. A simple man, who apparently struggles with certain implications of the book and some personalities who have found it inspirational, Mr. Powell seems to have made a good life for himself apart from his youthful foolishness. Charlie Siskel's documentary about the man would have completely failed were it not for the subject itself, which saved the film from its maker's lack of ethics and film-making talents. The editing was atrocious, and a good thirty minutes of irrelevant information could have been cut from it. Worst of all, Siskel bullies Mr. Powell repeatedly, pressing again and again to make the man feel guilty about tragedies such as the OK City bombing and the Columbine shooting. Both Mr. Powell and his wife take Siskel to task for his relentless passive-aggressive attacks, but he continues through the end of the film. While I enjoyed hearing from Powell, I was constantly brought back to Siskel's agenda to demonize him, which coated the entire documentary with a layer of muck and left a bad taste in my mouth.


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