The Turner Diaries

infobox Book |
name = The Turner Diaries
title_orig =
translator =


image_caption =
author = William Luther Pierce
illustrator =
cover_artist =
country = United States
language = English
series = 1978
genre = Fiction
publisher = National Vanguard Books
release_date = 1978
english_release_date =
media_type =
pages =
isbn =
preceded_by =
followed_by =

"The Turner Diaries" is a 1978 novel written by the late William Luther Pierce (leader of the white supremacist organization National Alliance) under the pseudonym "Andrew Macdonald". "The Turner Diaries" depicts a violent revolution in the United States which leads to the overthrow of the United States federal government, nuclear war, and, ultimately, to the extermination of all Jews and non-whites, cite news | url=http://www.adl.org/learn/ext_us/Turner_Diaries.asp | title=Extremism: The Turner Diaries | publisher = Anti-Defamation League | date= 2007 | first= | last= | accessdate = 2007-07-18] leaving an all white world population of fifty million.

The novel was initially only available through mail order and at gun shows, and partially serialized in National Alliance publications. The novel is now available for sale through mainstream book sources (ISBN 1-56980-086-3), or freely available from white supremacist websites. In 2000 it was reported to have sold about 500,000 copies.cite news | first=Julie | last=Salamon | coauthors= | title= TELEVISION REVIEW; The Web as Home for Racism and Hate | date=2000-10-23 | publisher= | url =http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9505E4DF1631F930A15753C1A9669C8B63 | work =The New York Times | pages = | accessdate = 2007-09-05 | language = ] cite news | first=John | last=Sutherland | coauthors= | title=Gospels of hate that slip through the net | date=2000-04-03 | publisher=The Guardian | url =http://www.guardian.co.uk/mcveigh/story/0,7369,488284,00.html | work =Guardian Unlimited | pages = | accessdate = 2007-09-05 | language = ]

The novel has been associated with a number of real-life violent crimes. Most notably, some have suggested that it served as the inspiration for the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.cite news | first=Ward | last=Harkavy | coauthors= | title=The Nazi on the Bestseller List | date=2000-11-15 | publisher= | url =http://www.villagevoice.com/news/0046,hark2,19825,9.html | work =The Village Voice | pages = | accessdate = 2007-09-05 | language = ]

Plot summary

The narrative starts with a foreword set in the year 2099, one hundred years after the events depicted in the book. The bulk of the book then quotes a recently discovered diary of a man named Earl Turner, an active member of the movement that caused these events. The book details a violent overthrow of the United States federal government by Turner and his militant comrades and a brutal contemporaneous race war that takes place first in North America, and then the rest of the world.

The story starts soon after the federal government has confiscated all civilian firearms in the country under the Cohen Act, and the Organization of which Turner and his cohorts are members goes underground and engages in guerrilla war against the System, which is depicted as the totality of the government, media, and economy that is under Jewish control (which equates, in the book, with support of multiculturalism). The Organization starts with acts such as the bombing of FBI headquarters and continues to prosecute an ongoing, low level campaign of terrorism, assassination and economic sabotage throughout the United States. Turner's exploits lead to his initiation into the Order, a quasi-religious inner cadre that directs the Organization and whose existence remains secret to both the System and ordinary Organization members.

Eventually, the Organization seizes physical control of Southern California, including nuclear weapons at Vandenberg Air Force Base; ethnically cleanses the area of all blacks, Hispanics, and Asians; and summarily executes all Jews and "race traitors." They then use both this base of operations and their nuclear weapons to open a wider war in which they launch nuclear strikes against New York City and Israel, initiate a nuclear exchange between the US and the Soviet Union, and plant nuclear weapons and new cells throughout North America. The diary section ends with the protagonist flying an airplane equipped with an atomic bomb on a suicide mission to destroy The Pentagon, in order to eliminate the leadership of the remaining military government before it orders an assault to retake California. The novel ends with an epilogue summarizing how the Organization continued on to conquer the rest of the world and to eliminate all people of other races.

Actions associated with the book

* The Order, an early 1980s white supremacist group involved in murder, robberies and counterfeiting, was named after the group in the book and motivated by the book's scenarios for a race war. The group murdered Alan Berg and engaged in other acts of violence in order to hasten the race war described in the book. The Order's efforts later inspired another group, The New Order, which planned to commit similar crimes in an effort to start a race war that would lead to a violent revolution. [cite news
author = Charles Bosworth Jr.
title = Illinois Man Sought Start of Race War, Source Says
work = St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Missouri)
publisher = Louis Post-Dispatch, Inc.
page = A1
date = 1998-03-15
accessdate = 2007-04-09
]
* At the time of his arrest, Timothy McVeigh, the man convicted for the Oklahoma City bombing, had a copy of "The Turner Diaries" in his possession. McVeigh's bombing was similar to the event described in the book where the fictional terrorist group blows up FBI headquarters. [cite news
author = John Kifner
title = Hate Groups Are Infiltrating The Military, Group Asserts
work = The New York Times
publisher = The New York Times Company
page = 14
date = 2006-07-07
accessdate = 2007-04-09
]
* John William King was convicted for dragging James Byrd, an African-American, to his death in Jasper, Texas. As King shackled Byrd's legs to the back of his truck he was reported to have said, "We're going to start the Turner Diaries early." [cite news
author = Phil Miller
title = Black Man's Killer Said: 'We're Starting the Turner Diaries Early'
work = The Scotsman
publisher = The Scotsman Publications Ltd.
page = 3
date = 200-02-23
accessdate = 2007-04-09
]
*During the course of a federal trial relating to charges of conspiracy to violate civil rights and assault under color of law of Frank Jude, Jr. in 2004 by several off-duty police officers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a copy of "The Turner Diaries" was found during a search of the home of one of the officers charged and later convicted. [cite news
author = Gina Barton
title = Ex-cop linked to rogue group
url = http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=642051
work = Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
publisher = Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
date = 2007-08-02
accessdate = 2007-08-03
]
*A copy of "The Turner Diaries" was found (amidst other Neo-Nazi propaganda) in the home of Jacob Robida, who attacked a man at a gay bar and then committed suicide in 2006. [cite news
author = Thomas Caywood
title = Infamous neo-Nazi literature found in killer's room
work = The Boston Herald
publisher = Boston Herald Inc.
page = 5
date = 2006-02-08
accessdate = 2007-04-09
]

First and second editions

"The Turner Diaries" was first serialized in the mid 70's in the National Alliance's tabloid paper, "Attack!". The first printing in paperback was May 1978. Pierce originally set his story in the 1980s. Its reprinting (September 1980) came in a slightly altered second edition that moved the setting forward ten years. Although subsequent printings of "The Turner Diaries" have featured different cover art or back cover copy, they have kept to the second edition text.

In keeping with the new 1990s time frame, events in the past are generally aged by ten years, though not always. Some examples:

*Turner's diatribe about the "long string of Marxist acts of terror 10 to 15 years ago" is changed to "20 years ago."
*Turner's lament at the success of the System's brainwashing "these past 50 years or so" remains unchanged.
*The Order's "nearly 58 years of existence" is increased to 68, making the date of its founding 1925, a reference to the SS.
*Turner's astonishment at "how many dark, kinky-haired Middle Easterners have invaded this country in the last decade" is not changed.
*The epilogue's exultation that in 1989, "exactly a century after the birth of The Great One... the dream of a White world finally became a certainty", becomes "just 110 years" after Adolf Hitler's birth.

Also to make the book fit its later date, prices are usually doubled, and sums of money are also often doubled, but not consistently. Some examples from the second chapter:

*Turner's cell is forced to go underground with only about $37 in their pockets. The second edition changes this to $70.
* A note by the future historian tells readers that in Turner's day, a dollar could buy "a half-kilo loaf of bread or about a quarter of a kilo of sugar." The second edition reads two dollars.
*Another Organization cell has $200, and helps out Turner's unit with a car and $50. In the second edition, they have $400, but still give $50.
*The price of black market gasoline doubles from $5 a gallon to $10.
*A robbery nets Turner's unit $1426, described as enough to feed them for "more than two months." This remains unchanged.

The second edition retains one major artifact of the original setting: in the first edition, dates fall on the same day of the week as their real-world 1980s dates. The later edition does not change days of the week, putting them out of sync with their 1990s dates. Another minor change is that a short passage, where Turner's lover spots his Order pendant, is moved a few pages earlier to the end of Chapter X. The first edition also featured illustrations by Dennis Nix. Later printings dropped the illustrations, used a smaller typeface, and switched from bold to italics for emphasis.

ee also

*"Hunter", a novel with similar themes also written by Pierce under the "Andrew Macdonald" "nom de plume"

References


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