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The book Steal This Book was written by Abbie Hoffman in 1970. It includes advice on such topics as growing marijuana, how to start a pirate radio station, live in a commune, steal food, steal credit cards, prepare a legal defense, make pipe bombs, and obtain a free buffalo from the US Department of the Interior. It discusses various tactics of fighting as well as giving a detailed list of affordable and easy ways to find weapons and armour that can be used in the event of a confrontation with law enforcement. The book advocates rebelling against authority in all forms, governmental and corporate.
In a sarcastic reference to an episode which occurred in 1969, when the Brazilian government had invited almost a hundred reporters to visit the country, Hoffman says: "Some foreign countries have special arrangements for free air travel to visiting writers, artists or reporters. Brazil and Argentina are two we know of for sure. Call or write the embassy of the country you wish to visit in Washington or their mission to the United Nations in New York. Writing works best, especially if you can cop some stationery from a newspaper or publishing house". Since 1964 Brazil was under a violent dictatorship, and torture crimes against political prisoners used to be a common practice. At that time, several reporters around the world (especially in Europe and in the USA) started to publish accusations against those crimes. In order to revert the bad international publicity, the invitation was made, with no practical results, as the quote above shows.
ISBN 1-56858-053-3 (25th anniversary edition)
References in popular culture
Mona Simpson, hippie mother of Homer J. Simpson, was seen reading Steal This Book in an episode of The Simpsons. In addition, Steal This Book was one of the banned books seen during a discussion in Bart Simpson's classroom in the Simpsons episode "The PTA Disbands".
The website for the roleplaying game Dungeons & Dragons has a series of articles called Steal this Hook!. A footnote explains that Hoffman's book has nothing to do with Dungeons & Dragons, but that they stole the title anyway.
In episode 205 "That Was Then, This Is Dumb" of the animated television show Daria, Jake Morgendorffer talks to himself in a mirror, saying "Once you could fit all your worldly possessions into a backpack. Pair of jeans, a few T-shirts, a copy of Steal This Book."
- Steal This Movie - a biographical film of Abbie Hoffman
- Steal This Album! - an album by System of a Down
- Anarchist's Cookbook