The Turner DiariesThe Turner Diaries
is a novel
written in 1978
by William Pierce
(under the pseudonym Andrew Macdonald), the leader of the white supremacist
group National Alliance
. The narrative starts with an account set sometime in the future, in which all people of non-European
ancestry, as well those as of Jewish
ancestry, have been killed. The bulk of the book then quotes a recently rediscovered diary of a man named "Earl Turner", an active member of the rightwing underground, who helps bring this future about. The book details a violent overthrow of the United States
federal government by white supremacists and also describes a brutal race war
that takes place simultaneously. The book is graphically violent. Non-whites are depicted as sub-human. Whites who do not support the race war are described as "traitors" who must be killed along with the non-whites.
The book opens with the bombing of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) headquarters, which some people have suggested could have served as a model for the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City (see Oklahoma City bombing). The diary section ends with the protaganist flying an airplane equipped with an atomic bomb on a suicide mission to hit The Pentagon, which is depicted as a couragous patriotic act. The novel then ends with an afterwords chapter summarizing how white supremists later succeeded in conquering the rest of the world and eliminating all people of other races.
Although The Turner Diaries was only available by mail order and at gatherings, it is believed to have sold half a million copies, and to have had many more readers, because it was handed from one person to another. The novel is now avaiable through mainstream sources. See ISBN 1569800863.
To date, several actions have been claimed to be inspired by this book:
- 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 strikingly similar to an event described in the book where the fictional terrorist group blows up FBI Headquarters.
- The Order, an early 1980s terrorist cell involved in murder, robberies, and counterfeiting, was motivated by the book's scenarios for a race war. The group murdered Alan Berg, a Jewish talk show host, 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.
- The Turner Diaries provided inspiration to John William King, the man convicted for dragging a black man to his death in Jasper, Texas. As King shackled James Byrd's legs to the back of his truck he was reported to say, "We're going to start the Turner Diaries early."
- The suicide mission to bomb the Pentagon at the end of the book is eerily similar in some people's minds to the suicide bombing of the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 by members of Muslim extremist group Al Qaeda. It has been suggested that the book serves as a model of how a grass-roots movemnent can overthrow a powerful government, and that this has lead to groups that do not even agree with the white supremacist movement to use it as a model.