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Reading One of the Most Racist Books

“The Turner Diaries” is an apocalyptic tale of genocide against racial minorities set in a near-future America. Published in 1978 by William Pierce, the founder of the neo-Nazi National Alliance, and written under a pseudonym, the race-war novel has been dubbed the “bible of the racist right” by the FBI.

Set in 2099, the book tells the story of Earl Turner from his uncovered diary. Turner, a one-time electrical engineer, believed to witness the decline of the United States and society because white citizens had begun to lose their position as the dominant majority in the 1990s. Turner turns to a group called “the Organization,” a white supremacist group, and joins the fight against the Jewish, African American and other minorities-ran government. 

Leading the “Organization” is “The Order.” The Order pushes the Organization to commit acts of terror like bombings, sabotage and assassinations throughout the United States to get “the System,” an allegory for the United States government, to continue to strip away individuals’ rights and freedoms in an attempt to gain sympathy and new members for the group.  

Turner and his group inside the Organization are tasked with slowing the issuing of passports, and this leads to the group bombing the FBI headquarters in Washington D.C. The explosion kills 700 people, and causes enough damage to stop the issuing of passports altogether. Initially, Turner is upset about taking the lives of so many, but gets over it quickly, because in his viewpoint there is no other way to defeat the System.

Turner is invited to join The Order soon after. The government cracks down, raiding Turner’s hideout and arresting him. The FBI and the Israeli government begin torturing Turner to extract information, but ultimately Turner does not disclose any major information and only reveals minor information. After months of arrest, The Order breaks Turner out of prison but announces he will be punished for being captured. 

While this is happening, the Organization continues to expand in California, with the group raiding a U.S. Air Force Base and acquiring nuclear weapons, which they use to target New York City and Tel Aviv. With the acquisition of weapons, the group now controls California and begins to ethnically cleanse the western United States of non-Aryans, creating a White ethnostate in California. The Organization cracks down on “race traitors.” This crackdown leads to the “Day of the Rope,” a mass public execution of traitors. 

The United States then develops into a nuclear civil war and a global war with the Soviet Union. Anti-Semitism soars around the world, with the French, Dutch, Israel and Soviet Union collapsing because of Anti-Semitic violence. The United States moves to a military dictatorship and launches an offensive war onto California. Turner’s punishment for capture is to fly a plane with a nuclear warhead into the Pentagon. Turner is successful with the kamikaze attack, and goes down as a hero who helped to usher in the new society.

The Organization eventually conquers the world, killing all non-whites. The book ends with “just 110 years after the birth of the Great One, the dream of a white world finally became a certainty… and The Order would spread its wise and benevolent rule over the earth for all time to come.” The “Great One” is Adolf Hitler. 

In terms of a book, it is terrible. It is beyond dry in its delivery. Some sections read out more like a guide on how to make something, rather than a novel. There is no character development in the book, either. Turner is racist at the start of the book, and is still racist at the end. Turner may show some emotion about his actions, but is quickly dismissed. There are only two positives about it: the book has a cover, and it has 211 pages. 

This book is extremely racist, if you could not tell from the summary. There are numerous characterizations about African Americans being cannibals and looters. Also in the book, Jews are a monolithic group that controls all of society. Every issue is tied back to anti-white racism, and how society cannot be racist towards minorities. For example, sexual assault laws are non-existent in the book because they are said to be racist against black people. The book puts forth the idea that Blacks are the only people committing sexual assault constantly, and primarily against white women. 

Numerous things do not make sense in the book, either. The U.S. government somehow does not know about the existence of The Order, and the FBI does not handle passport applications. The Department of State handles passports and has handled them since 1925 in the book. This defeats the whole purpose of their mission. And why would the government keep nuclear warheads in a majorly insecure section of the United States with the rise of the Organization? The U.S. military had access to tanks and aircrafts in the 1990s (and in the 1970s, when the book was written), but they do not use them. The U.S. government in the book is a totalitarian system that controls the masses, yet is also ineffective and incompetent. 

The book does not look into the future of society after the white supremacists win. This book is supposed to encourage others to join the neo-Nazi movement, but it does not give any reasons to do so unless you hate minorities. Society does not advance after the Organization takes over the world, as instead it creates a similar tyrannical system to the one portrayed at the beginning of the book.

Impact

“The Turner Diaries” made initial headlines when a violent white nationalist gang appropriated the name of The Order. The group would commit numerous crimes in an attempt to spark a race war, and most prominently, by killing Jewish radio host Alan Berg in 1984.

The book has recently gained attention since its publication because it was a key inspiration for the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, which killed 168 people using a truck bomb – similar to the FBI headquarters bombing in the book. When the perpetrator Timothy McVeigh was arrested, police found pages from the book in the front seat of his car. At his trial, numerous witnesses confirmed that McVeigh was enthralled with the book and had recommended it to his friends.

In 1998, three white supremacists attacked James Byrd Jr. in what is described as one of the most brutal hate crimes in Texas history. They chained him to the back of their truck and dragged him for miles before Byrd was decapitated. John William King, one of the white supremacists, said, “We’re going to start ‘The Turner Diaries’ early.”

In 1999, neo-Nazi David Copeland cited the book as the inspiration for his multiple nail bombings in London. “If you’ve read ‘The Turner Diaries,’ you know the year 2000, there’ll be the uprising and all that, racial violence on the streets… It was to cause a racial war in this country.”

This book is full of antisemitism and racism, was written by a neo-Nazi, and has inspired numerous terrorist attacks. And somehow the worst part about it, is its terrible filled-with-errors black and white outlook with little nuance.

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