When I was working my first job (early 80’s), I heard about this secret book that could teach you how to make spy gear (I hesitate to say explosives and other dangerous things) and super-secret things that could over throw a foreign government that might invade our soil. The invasion fever was on, because around the same time, I remember the movie Red Dawn came out and who knows what skills one might need to survive in such an apocalyptic world. One might need to know how to make Booby Traps or the like just to stay one step ahead of the game.
Then I heard about this book…
It was called the Poor Man’s James Bond and supposedly it was tracked by the government since it contained secrets beyond belief…how to create weapons and explosives and even more. There were even hints of making drugs at home in this book! You could only order it by mail and even doing so, you were allegedly putting yourself at risk of being watched by unknown institutional entities.
Well, I always wondered about this book and what dirty secrets it contained. I put it out of my head until it turned up a recent search through archive.org, mostly by accident.
Here’s a brief discussion on the book:
“The Poor Man’s James Bond is a four book series originally intended for the survivalist-minded, compiled by writer Kurt Saxon (credited with coining the term “survivalist”). They were marketed toward the survivalist movement of the 1970s and 1980s, and as a counterpoint to The Anarchist Cookbook which Saxon claimed contained inaccurate information. The first volume was an expansion of an earlier Saxon book, The Militant’s Formulary.
According to Saxon, during the 1960s he sent brochures about The Militant’s Formulary to “several thousand” police and fire chiefs. His stated purpose was that, as a result of several officers being killed by “improvised weaponry directed at them by radicals”, police and fire departments could use the literature “to recognize improvised bombs and such and their common components”. However, some of the recipients believed Saxon to be a radical, and sent letters stating this fact to the police in Saxon’s hometown of Eureka, California. In response, the chief of the Eureka Police Department replied with letters assuring the others that Saxon was “on their side”.
Much of the content of these books consists of reprints of old books now in the public domain. The first volume talks about how to blow up a car, make napalm and poisons such as ricin, nicotine, arsenic and cyanide. It also contained a full U.S. Army self-defense manual along with a gunsmithing workshop. This included diagrams of how to alter the firing mechanism for different firearms. These modifications were often to increase rate of fire. The second volume talks about improvised weapons that could be made legally using common household items. It also had a number of easily made and readily available booby traps and a number of other explosives recipes. The third volume, which was not widely available, is the least controversial as it mostly contained information on crime in modern society, how to beat the system, and significantly less information on “anarchism” or “terrorism.” A fourth volume was published, but it is very rare to find a copy and contains more of what the previous volumes contained. In 2002, a fifth volume was published in CD-ROM format. In each book the author states that nothing in the book should be remanufactured, procured or otherwise created without first consulting the government of the area.”
This book is typewritten and as of yet, I haven’t fully researched to see if any ISBN print editions were made available (if you find out, please let me know in some comments below); however, I did find on Wikipedia.com an interesting article on Kurt Saxon and what he is doing these days (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurt_Saxon).
In additional to volume 1, I also found all 5 volumes of these interesting reads. Take a look at this list here.
Another potentially dangerous read is the Manual for Mahem that teaches one how to make anti-tank missiles, booby traps and bombs. An article about Kurt Saxon article appears inside.
Sadly enough, even though he is still alive, his Wikipedia entry states he is living in assisted living facility.
Times seems to get us all in the end despite having the will to continuously fight.
So, after doing more research, I came across an article about The Anarchist Cookbook which was similar in scope to The Poor Man’s James Bond series but stayed in print until about the year 2000 when the publisher decided to drop it in favor of public responsibility.
I actually almost named this site, The Archivists’ Cookbook but chose Journal to give my readers a more informative feel (plus it was already taken).
Anyways, I’m always looking for interesting reads/finds so please use the comment page to send me to a link and I’ll include your info…