Are there books that are unofficially banned in the UK?

iqoniq

Active Member
I've seen this ( Review bid after right-wing extremist 'told to read classic books' ) on BBC News after a right wing extremist was told to read English classics as part of his punishment for possessing a record of information likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism. Now I'm not particularly interested about the sentencing (that's something else), but more about the fact that it seems that the Anarchist Cookbook is unofficially banned. It's a book!

I've seen the said publication ( I DON'T OWN A COPY - legal disclaimer) and to be honest it's chemistry and electronics for nutters. If you don't know your stuff already, you're more likely to blow yourself up making the explosives. If you want to do it properly, you're going to end up looking like you're building a meth lab, and some of the chemicals are on watch lists. It's also nothing that can't be found on the internet or YouTube, and I have a copy of Pyro Joe's Cookbook from years ago that I found on Usenet around 95/96, purely because the recipes are so outrageous and the descriptions are hilarious, especially creating a nuclear meltdown in a moonshine still and the risk of two-headed puppies running around during said procedure. The thing is most people will look at it, go "wtf?", and then leave it on their bookshelf to look edgy or something.

Also, are they leaving out large parts of the National Curriculum out of physics, biology, chemistry and ICT (what my school called electronics)? My GCSEs taught me how to make a high yield nuclear device (we had a Russian ex-nuclear scientist, now in the UK, that the tutor knew explain it to us), a "dirty" bomb, conventional explosives, toxins and poisonous gas. With the exception of the nuclear bomb, they also informed me where I could get the chemicals, a lot of which were household ingredients. Have I tried to blow anything up? With the exception of draino or dry ice "bombs" (make a bang, but not destructive) which I did to show my kids, nope. I might have been tempted to make the meltdown moonshine still just to see if it really worked (and my kids wanted two headed puppies) if I could've got my hands on heavy water, though.

The thing is, if people are serious about doing something they'll usually find out a way to do it. It won't be because of any sense of political/religious/racial ideology (that just adds a sense of justification), but because they want to do it. Banning stuff isn't going to make any difference, especially when you've got places like YouTube which will show you how to make things in a step by step manner (apparently it's possible to make cherry Kool-Aid out of noxious chemicals, and it won't kill you). Do we start banning YouTube as well?

It probably makes the police or intelligence services look good, but while they've caught a guy with a book, does it mean they've ignored someone who is quietly building a bomb?
 

Richardxx

Active Member
Who do you think is imposing this ban? As it is fairly easy to get hold of* this ban does not seem to be very effective.
*e.g. even you have seen it.
 

TerraCanis

Well-known Member
I thought that the ban on the Anarchist Cookbook was very much official (as evidenced by its possession having formed the basis of a prosecution).
 

hippo99

Distinguished Member
It’s amazing that Iran still don’t have a nuclear weapon after all these years of trying, when it’s an open secret amongst GCSE students 🙄🤣
 

TheShrike

Active Member
I was under the impression that it wasn't illegal per se to posses "the cookbook" but in conjunction with other books and internet activity it will lead to prosecution.
As I recall from A-level physics the principle of making a nuclear bomb is quite straightforward. The devil is in refining the fissionable material and bringing a critical mass together in just the right way to detonate it - there would be a lot more nuclear armed states in the world if it were simple!
 

iqoniq

Active Member
It’s amazing that Iran still don’t have a nuclear weapon after all these years of trying, when it’s an open secret amongst GCSE students 🙄🤣
Sanctions, Israel frequently interfering (being a nuclear scientist in Iran can involve a visit from Mossad at some point) and the fact that weapons grade material isn't easy to produce. North Korea are suspected of having deployable warheads, but they're limited by the amount of enriched uranium they can produce, and their ballistic delivery system has issues. There are schematics available, but I'm kind of guessing enriched uranium is hard to come by. If the DPRK can do it then I'm pretty sure Iran can figure it out.
 

hippo99

Distinguished Member
My point was knowing the theory behind it isn’t the same as being given a step-by-step guide on actually making a weapon as per (I assume) the Anarchist Cookbook 🙂
Surely your teacher didn’t give you step-by-step instructions on making a dirty bomb or explosives?
 
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Carbon 60

Active Member
Thanks to this thread I have just discovered that a book about growing marijuana outdoors I bought decades ago, that used to be banned, is available again. It cost me £1.25 new but now it's selling used-good for £40 on Amazon, another place has sold out of used copies which were £48 each, and one chancer is trying to sell the book used for £157!
 

DemonAV

Distinguished Member
Thanks to this thread I have just discovered that a book about growing marijuana outdoors I bought decades ago, that used to be banned, is available again. It cost me £1.25 new but now it's selling used-good for £40 on Amazon, another place has sold out of used copies which were £48 each, and one chancer is trying to sell the book used for £157!

Don't you just plant the seeds and then wait?
 

Maxatoria

Active Member
It's like anything if you look hard enough you can find the methods to do lord knows how much stupid damage.

The Mrs got some retired books from the uni library where she worked and they told in no uncertain ways how to build naval shells and as a professor of physics once told me that if a 2nd year student doesn't know how to build an atomic bomb they probably won't get a high grade.

I'm not bothered to blow crap up at my age and if I do want to see something going boom there's plenty of videos to satisfy it.
 

RobinOfLoxley

Well-known Member
We mucked around with gunpowder when young by emptying cheap fireworks.
My Uncle (RAF Engineer) even had a fascinating encyclopedia on the recipe for gunpowder.

But where the hell do you buy sulphur and saltpetre?


A colleague/friend did admit to making small pipe bombs when he was 16.
Copper tube etc

He was reported for his bangs in the park and Special Branch knocked on the door
Shame, embarrassment and a verbal bollocking.
He gave up that pastime
(height of the IRA bombing campaign at the time)

In a similar park many years later, it was a convenient pedestrian route to town, two 14 year olds giggled as they dropped something at my feet, then ran off

Bloody Hell! Military Flash Bangs are very loud and very scary.
I guess they nicked it from their Dad (we live in a Military town)


The Internet has rendered books redundant.
The insurgents make IEDs from abandoned explosives
 

Richardxx

Active Member
We mucked around with gunpowder when young by emptying cheap fireworks.
My Uncle (RAF Engineer) even had a fascinating encyclopedia on the recipe for gunpowder.

But where the hell do you buy sulphur and saltpetre?


A colleague/friend did admit to making small pipe bombs when he was 16.
Copper tube etc

He was reported for his bangs in the park and Special Branch knocked on the door
Shame, embarrassment and a verbal bollocking.
He gave up that pastime
(height of the IRA bombing campaign at the time)

In a similar park many years later, it was a convenient pedestrian route to town, two 14 year olds giggled as they dropped something at my feet, then ran off

Bloody Hell! Military Flash Bangs are very loud and very scary.
I guess they nicked it from their Dad (we live in a Military town)



The Internet has rendered books redundant.
The insurgents make IEDs from abandoned explosives
Reminds me of an event in '85 or '86 when Stanley Kubrick was filmng the Vietnam war movie Full Metal Jacket in of all places Beckton in East London. (He imported palm trees in skips). Anyway some kids from East Ham broke into the 'armoury' where they stored the effect explosives used in the film and for some days they were being set off all around the neighbourhood. I saw a couple of them going off in a school playground, very scary.
 

wolfie138

Member
Poor Man's James Bond is another good read.
 

Lezman

Well-known Member
This brings back memories of the mid 90s where my mate had a copy of the Jolly Roger Cookbook on floppy disc. We would endlessly read it, one day hoping to make a bazooka that fired frozen oranges or whatever. Just completely forgot about it until I read this thread!
 

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