Review Index


By ANDREW MACDONALD (Barricade Books; 1978/96)

Here we have one of the most hateful, ignorant and insanely wrong-headed books of all time. It’s been cited as the bible of the many racist militia groups that sprung up during the eighties and nineties, and directly implicated in the 1984 murder of shock jock Allen Berg and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. The novel wasn’t offered for sale to the general public until the mid-1990s, courtesy of the notorious Lyle Stuart, never one to shy away from controversy (he also put out THE ANARCHIST COOKBOOK, perhaps the only publication more incendiary than this one).

     In a newly written introduction Stuart steadfastly defends the author’s first amendment rights yet still brands this “a dreadful book” that’s “ignorant” and “full of hate.” All true, yet the novel is also disconcertingly well written. Related in the form of diary entries by an Aryan-minded revolutionary named Turner, the prose is unerringly rational and focused, with a good juxtaposition of action and introspection.

     What THE TURNER DIARIES lacks is a plausible narrative and a fully rounded protagonist. The diary format (inspired by Jack London’s Socialist parable THE IRON HEEL, of which THE TURNER DIARIES often reads like a sick parody) frees the author from having to construct a background explaining how Turner came to hold his ultra-racist views. Instead the narrative begins with Turner, in consort with a nationalist group called The Organization, commencing his revolution in the far-off year of 1991. The corrupt U.S. government, led by Jews who want to destroy the white race, has just outlawed all firearms. The Organization’s members, however, have stashed their guns and explosives, and quickly put them to use against their oppressors.

     Within a two-year period The Organization handily manages to bring the U.S. government to its knees through shootings, bombings, and counterfeit currency. At one point Turner is captured by the authorities and tortured, but for the most part the revolution is carried out with a remarkable lack of hardship, with Turner finding time to canoodle with his girlfriend when he’s not throwing bombs (Turner’s sweetie, luckily enough, shares his racist views, and doesn’t even mind the male-centric setup of The Organization, which decrees that women can only make decisions with the approval of their husbands). Naturally all the black and Jewish people Turner encounters behave according to his pre-disposed stereotypes, and so he feels no compunction in killing them.

     Throughout, Turner rages against the “hateful” and “barbaric” behavior of his enemies, a downright psychotic assertion in light of all the murders he commits, including the mass hangings of white “race traitors” throughout the streets of Los Angeles. Eventually Turner becomes a suicide bomber, crashing a plane into the Pentagon(!) in 1993. An epilogue informs us that by the year 2001 the revolution begun by Turner and his cohorts grew far beyond the U.S. to “spread its wise and benevolent rule over the Earth for all time to come.”

     This book is popular with libertarians due to the fact that it makes some admittedly pertinent points about the loss of individual liberty in America. But any good points made herein tend to be drowned out by all the racist blather. Furthermore, libertarians are attacked in the text, as are liberals, non-radical conservatives and anyone else who looks or thinks differently than Turner/MacDonald.

     Incidentally, “Andrew MacDonald” was actually the late William Luther Pierce (1933-2002), the leader of the white supremacist organization The National Alliance. Pierce evidently really believed the horseshit spouted in THE TURNER DIARIES, which would be laughable if not for the many real-life crimes it spawned.