A Book Worth a Read: “The Anarchist Handbook” by Michael Malice

A Book Worth a Read: “The Anarchist Handbook” by Michael Malice

Monty Stites, Opinions Editor

“The Anarchist Handbook,” organized by Michael Malice, the author of “Dear Reader: The Unauthorized Autobiography of Kim Jong Il” and “The New Right: A Journey to the Fringe of American Politics,” was independently published and distributed through Amazon in May 2021. It is a fascinating read for all those who find political theory engaging. 

 

“The Anarchist Handbook” – not to be confused with “The Anarchist Cookbook,” which teaches the reader how to build bombs – is a collection of essays from the last few centuries that cover a wide range of anarchist ideology that include, but are not limited to, anarcho-communism, anarcho-capitalism and Christian anarchism. It includes essays from an array of thinkers like Josiah Warren, Emma Goldman, Leo Tolstoy and Peter Kropotkin. Also included is a copy of  Louis Lingg’s speech to the court while being tried for the May 4, 1886 bombing of Chicago’s Haymarket Square. 

 

Each essay begins with a foreword by Malice, including his own essay where the preface ends by saying, “Malice is notorious for writing about himself in a way as to confuse and annoy the reader, for no discernable purpose whatsoever.” Outside of the glib comment about his own article, Malice gives background for and contextualizes the surroundings that the authors in the collection found themselves in.

 

From Emma Goldman’s entertaining essay, “Minorities Versus Majorities,” where she argues that the majority is always antagonistic to the individual, to Leo Tolstoy’s provoking, “The Slavery of Our Times,” in which he argues that it is not only possible, but preferable, to exist without governments, this book is refreshingly absent of pigeonholing or preference. “The Anarchist Handbook” covers a large array of anarchist thought and contains no endorsements from Malice as to which he prefers. This provides the reader opportunities to think through what they read without an imposition of worth from the compiler.