Monday, July 21, 2008

FREEDOM OF THE JUNK PRESS: US kooks inflate price of The Poisoner's Handbook

Occasionally DD checks the used book market for news of Maxwell Hutchkinson's The Poisoner's Handbook. Since 2003 or so it's most practical use has been in sending people over on terrorism charges in the United Kingdom. Along with William Powell's The Anarchist's Cookbook, it leads the pack in this most dubious of areas, one gained when material from both was copied into English in cyberspace, and later translated into Arabic.

You see, if you're Muslim and have a electronic copies of such material, either in English or Arabic, you can be easily banged up on the charge of possessing texts deemed likely to be of potential use to terrorists.

Alibris has a good inventory of The Poisoner's Handbook, if you're interested in pushing the limits of freedom of the press in the wrong locales. In prices ranging from the mid-forties to almost three hundred bucks, relatively speaking, still a cheap ticket to a UK slammer. See here.

We learn that after its original publishing by Loompanics in 1988, it was reissued in 2000 by a company called Desert Publications. Here is a copy on sale at the bottom end of the pricing index at something called A&J Arms Booksellers.

Since there are so many copies floating around, the prices are somewhat surprising. However, with dedicated digging one can find barely worn copies for much less. The dirty secret of The Poisoner's Handbook is that after opening it once, almost nobody bothers again.

At Alibris, buys in the market for Hutchkinson are also thought to be interested in ... wait for it ... Medicine Chest Explosives: An Investigator's Guide to Chemicals Used in Home-Cooked Bombs by Donald B McLean.

They're bullish on books which, for want of a better description, fit into the category: useful for rebranding yourself as a petty nuisance and stupid person interested in poisons and bombs.

Download this page for more info on copies of pure electronic trouble!


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