I made a call out in November of 2021, for volunteers to help get Kaczynskis’ unpublished and badly scanned up book ‘Truth versus Lies’, retyped up without all the annotations, so that people can easily read it online, quote it and print nicely formatted versions.
The edits are mostly finished now, so we have an almost identical retyped up 1st draft of Kaczynskis’ 1st draft. I’d just like to solve the issue of what changes he potentially wanted to have happen for the 2nd draft of the book and solving the issue of what the missing text is that is obscured by the scanning blotches. Then we can move on to trying to get both the original copy published and creating a version with some cosmetic edits like changing the awkwardly abbreviated names into fake names, whilst preserving the which fake names refer to which abbreviated names in a table at the back.
The project has also since expanded into an archive collection, a biography, and a useful tool for writing other books and essays.
All the documents linked here are restricted, but if you’d like to get involved, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org, you can email me to let me know how you’d like to help, if you’d like to join the email group, to just discuss ideas, to send me text relating to any of below. Or finally if you’re logged into your gmail now, you can go to the page you want to work on and click the ‘request edit access’ button in the top right corner, and simply explain how you’d like to help. I can also send you the documents via email or disroot.
The Email Group
11 people who responded to the call out joined the email group. We mainly used it to coordinate making edits to the Truth versus Lies document, like who was working on what chapter offline and things like what formatting rules to follow.
Some people talked about hoping to work together on a translated version.
I mostly talk about my trials and tribulations trying to find someone to go down to the University Library to request items they have lol.
And generally, I hope if there’s any way I can be of help with someone gaining some use from this project for their own pursuits, like transcribing a specific section for an essay they want to write or whatever, that they can email me or use the group email to update us on what they’re up to.
As well, I’ve started a reddit group chat and discord channel on my server for anyone who would prefer to discuss using instant messaging as well:
The Various Projects
0. The Ted Kaczynski Archives
We’re doing tasks like transcribing prison letters and getting tons of writing by and about Kaczynski into an easily browsable catalog. At some point ideally we could build a website to create an easily searchable archive. And I’ll reach out to some university libraries encase they want to add material from it to their collections or create a new one.
- 0. The Ted Kaczynski Archives – Part 1
- 0. The Ted Kaczynski Archives – Part 2
- Kaczynski Archives Comparison
Here’s the google drive folder for all the main project documents:
1. Truth versus Lies
Ted Kaczynski finished writing a book in 1999 critiquing all the media representations of his life called ‘Truth versus Lies’:
“During the media frenzy that came to be known as ‘Club Ted,’ a report surfaced that the accused Unabomber was writing a second manifesto. He was in fact at work on this compelling book that deftly treads the line between eloquent memoir and uncompromising defense. This intriguing artifact is Ted Kaczynski’s attempt to tell the other side of the tale spun by his family, who told the world he was insane to save him from the death penalty. It is also an outspoken rebuttal of the lies told by the many-media-charmed acquaintances and opportunistic strangers who surfaced to offer their stories in exchange for fifteen minutes of fame.”
Many publishers turned him down, Context Books almost printed a slightly edited version, but Ted rejected this proposal. I think the publisher was worried about copyright e.g. quoting some sources in their entirety and libel e.g. Ted calling his brother, David, “a Judas Iscariot (who) … doesn’t even have enough courage to go hang himself.”
In 2002 he donated a draft copy of the book which Context Books made to the University of Michigan along with a tonne of journals, letters and other material which the book references.
So, I copied the text into a google document and started working on cleaning up the scanning errors with 3 other people:
We’ve almost finished this now, so soon we can put it up on the anarchist library and places:
Next, we want to decide together on a few changes we’d like to suggest to Kaczynski, which will give the book a higher chance of getting a book publisher to mass print it, without risking libel and copyright. Ideally we could just black out the parts we can’t print, and then write an article on the missing parts and where to find the unedited version:
- 1. Truth versus Lies – 1C. Book publisher version
Finally, we’ll create a document which is an automatic text comparison between documents 1A and 1B for transparency:
- 1. Truth versus Lies – 1D. Photocopy of book; text comparison
And a document discussing the pros and cons of the few changes we might want to make between Docs 1B and 1C:
We sent a letter off to Kaczynski about getting permission to publish, but haven’t heard back:
Here’s a how to on requesting items from the University of Michigan Library to work out what the missing text is that is obscured by scanning blotches:
Finally, here’s a short summary of all the different documents related to the Truth versus Lies book that are out there for clarity:
2. Unfinished Autobiography
As well, I’m condensing the book down to where Ted is just talking about his memories and how he felt about them and using the text along with other material for two books:
A biography called ‘The Unfinished Autobiography of Ted Kaczynski a.k.a. The Unabomber’.
And a fictional novel called something like ‘The Imagined Autobiography of Ted Kaczynski …’
I’m mainly writing the second one to just get a clear timeline in my head of what moments Kaczynski finds most significant about his life. So, I’m writing them in two columns alongside each other at first:
- 2. Unfinished Autobiography – 2A. Biography & Fictional Autobiography
- 2. Unfinished Autobiography – 2B. Biography
- 2. Unfinished Autobiography – 2C. Fictional Autobiography
3. Reading material for Kaczynski
I’ve finished transcribing a bunch of video media on Kaczynski which I’ve now sent him as encouragement to write his own autobiography or make any further changes to his book ‘Truth versus Lies’, to get a further clarifying window into his mind as an intriguing case study in political violence:
- 3. Reading for Kaczynski – 3A. Kaczynski Video Media Representations
- The Unabomber in Motion Pictures.docx
- The Unabomber in Motion Pictures.pdf
4. David Kaczynskis’ Autobiography
I’m also going to try reaching out to David Kaczynski about either getting permission to use long quotes of his writing in a biography of the both of them, and/or if I can get paid as a researcher on a 2nd edition of his book which contained a fair few inaccuracies about the timeline of events:
5. Related project ideas
Some people talked about hoping to work together on a translated version of Truth versus Lies.
How you can help
Here are some tasks that I think would be really useful:
- You can request items from the University of Michigan Library, or visit the reading room in Michigan in person to take photographs of any missing text, – Requesting Items From The University of Michigan Library
- You can help transcribe prison letters and/or copy any interesting writing by or about Kaczynski which you think might be useful for the autobiography, as well as for a future archive – 0. The Ted Kaczynski Archives – Part 1
- You can proofread 1. Truth Versus Lies – #1B: Photocopy of book with fixed scanning errors and make sure we haven’t missed any scanning or grammar errors.
- You can help with discussing potential corrections we might need to make to get a book publisher to mass print the book, but that aren’t too big such that they would distort the original text to a degree that Kaczynski wouldn’t consent to changing when asked – 1. Truth versus Lies – 1E. Book publisher version corrections
- Finally, you can give your advice and suggestions, which would be greatly appreciated 🙂
This just started as a hobby project, so I’m not in a position to be able to pay upfront for every hour worked, but I’m happy to talk about percentage revenue sharing or back-paying based on hours contributed if the book sales reach some threshold. Everything will be discussed transparently and if we can’t agree as a group on an end product, then members can always take the writing and develop it however they like in a separate document.
I’ve no idea if the person who was going to print it ever held or still holds sole right to publish Truth versus Lies, or if either Kaczynski will say yes to any corrections needed to avoid libel. I’ve emailed the book publisher person once, but will try again.
I’d also like to pay royalties to the survivors of Kaczynski’s bombings, I know they’re supposed to receive any money Kaczynski makes as part of a $15 million restitution order, but I’m not sure if he co-writes a book what that means in terms of a percentage. I’ll email the two organizations who have published his work when we’ve finished.
My contributions are made mainly for myself and researchers similarly fascinated by his life with the goal of wanting to make the writing easier to sort and skim through.
I’d like to include a thorough critique of Kaczynski’s philosophy in any publicity we do for the books and in the forward for the biography I’m writing. I’m pro-technological advancement, and against ever physically hurting people unless in a bunch of rare circumstances like if it was; medically in their own interest, in self-defence, in the case of a justified revolutionary war or a survivor-led vigilante action.
Here are some of my past critiques of anti-technology, anti-industrialist, primitivist, anti-civilisation and misanthropic ideologies:
- Podcast planning notes: The Ideas of Ted Kaczynski (the Unabomber) & Preventing The Fascist Creep
- A Conversation with John Zerzan on Direct Action, School Shootings, Authenticity, Veganism & More
- An Open Letter to John Zerzan – A Primitivist Philosopher of Technology
- Case Revisited – Unabomber Ted Kaczynski’s Lingering Influence in 2021
- The bizarre case of vegan Neo-Nazis & deprogramming vegans who glorify violence