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The Turner Diaries

The Turner Diaries
Author William Luther Pierce (as Andrew Macdonald)
Country United States
Language English
Series 1978
Genre Fiction
Published 1978 (National Vanguard Books)
Media type Print

The Turner Diaries is a 1978 novel by National Alliance), published under the pseudonym "Andrew Macdonald".[1] The Turner Diaries depicts a violent revolution in the United States which leads to the overthrow of the federal government, nuclear war, and, ultimately, a race war. All groups opposed by the author, such as Jews, gay people, and non-whites, are exterminated.[2] The book was described as "explicitly racist and anti-Semitic" by The New York Times and has been labeled a "bible of the racist right" by the Southern Poverty Law Center.[3][4] The novel has been associated with white separatists, right-wing radicals and others who have committed violent crimes. [5][6]


  • Plot summary 1
  • First and second editions 2
  • Influence 3
  • Crimes by persons purportedly inspired by this book 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6

Plot summary

The narrative starts with a foreword set in 2099, one hundred years after the events depicted. The bulk of the book quotes a recently discovered diary of a man named Earl Turner, an active member of the white Aryan revolutionary movement that caused these events. The book details a violent, apocalyptic overthrow of the United States federal government by Turner and his militant comrades in a brutal 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 fictional Cohen Act. Turner and his cohorts take their organization underground to engages in a terrorism, assassinations, and economic sabotage throughout the United States.

Turner plays a major role in all activities within the

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  3. ^ The New York Times April 26, 1995
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  11. ^ EXCLUSIVE: Disturbing firearms seizures in Kelowna
  12. ^ Memorandum D9-1-15: Canada Border Services Agency's Policy on the Classification of Hate Propaganda, Sedition and Treason
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  14. ^ TIME
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See also

  • The Order, an early 1980s white supremacist terrorist group, was named after the group in the book. The group committed one of the biggest highway robberies of all time, murdered three people (including controversial radio host Alan Berg), and engaged in other acts of violence, claiming to seek a a race war.[13]
  • Timothy McVeigh, convicted for the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, was found after the attack with pages from The Turner Diaries. His attack closely resembled the bombing of FBI headquarters in the novel.[14]
  • John William King was convicted of dragging James Byrd, an African American, to his death in Jasper, Texas in 1998. As King shackled Byrd's legs to his truck, he was reported to have said, "We're going to start The Turner Diaries early."[15]
  • David Copeland, a British Neo-Nazi who killed three people in a bombing campaign against London's black, Asian and gay communities in April 1999, quoted from The Turner Diaries while being interviewed by police.[16]
  • Several off-duty police officers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin were tried for a 2004 civil rights assault against Frank Jude, Jr.; a copy of The Turner Diaries was found during a search of the home of one of them; he was later convicted.[17]
  • A copy of The Turner Diaries and other Neo-Nazi propaganda were found in the home of Jacob D. Robida, who attacked three men at a gay bar in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Robida fled, killing a hostage and a police officer before committing suicide.[18]
  • Dylann Roof, the suspected gunman in the 2015 massacre at a predominantly African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, in which nine people died, allegedly possessed a copy of The Turner Diaries.[19]

Crimes by persons purportedly inspired by this book

The novel was initially sold only through mail order and partially serialized in National Alliance publications. As of 2000 it was reported to have sold about 500,000 copies.[1][10] The book is considered to be hate propaganda and is prohibited from being imported into Canada.[11][12]

According to the [8] The Simon Wiesenthal Center calls it a "hate book".[9]


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

The Turner Diaries was first serialized in the mid 1970s 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) took the form of 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's text.

First and second editions

The novel ends with an epilogue from the year 2099, summarizing how the Organization continued on to conquer the rest of the world and how all non-White races were eliminated. Africa was invaded and all of its black inhabitants were killed. The Puerto Ricans (described as a "repulsive mongrel race") were exterminated and the island of Puerto Rico was re-colonized by whites. When China begins an attempt to invade European Russia, the Organization launches a full-scale assault with nuclear, chemical, radiological and biological weapons which render the entire continent of Asia uninhabitable and rife with "Great One', the dream of a white world finally became a certainty...and that the Order would spread its wise and benevolent rule over the earth for all time to come".[2]

The Organization then uses both their Southern Californian base of operations and their nuclear weapons to open a wider war in which they launch nuclear strikes against suicide mission; he flies a cropduster equipped with a nuclear warhead and destroys the Pentagon before the invasion can be ordered.

Eventually, the Organization seizes physical control of Southern California, including the nuclear weapons at

Later, Turner's hideout is raided by law enforcement. During an ensuing gun battle with authorities, everyone in the unit manages to escape but Turner is captured after nearly being killed. He is arrested and sent to a military base for interrogation by the FBI and an Israeli intelligence officer. He is tortured to force the release of information, but resists. The interrogators fail to extract the most valuable information. The diaries pick up two years after, when the military prison is raided by other Organization members and Turner is set free. [2]

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