HOME

ABOUT

J.M. BERGER

INTELWIRE

A blog exploring the intersection of dystopian fiction and radical politics


Friday, September 16, 2016
 

The Turner Legacy

My new paper for the International Centre for Counter Terrorism -- The Hague was published today: The Turner Legacy. The abstract:
The Turner Diaries, the infamous racist dystopian novel by neo-Nazi William Luther Pierce, has inspired more than 200 murders since its publication in 1978, including the single deadliest act of domestic terrorism in U.S. history, the Oklahoma City bombing.
The book is arguably the most important single work of white nationalist propaganda in the English language, but it is not a singular artifact. The Turner Diaries is part of a genre of racist dystopian propaganda dating back to the U.S. Civil War. This paper will document the books that directly and indirectly inspired Turner and examine the extensive violence that the novel has inspired.
By comparing and contrasting The Turner Diaries to its less-remembered predecessors, this paper analyses the reasons for the novel’s lasting impact, including its focus on rational choices over identity choices, its simplification of white nationalist ideology, its repeated calls to action, and the powerfully persuasive nature of dystopian narratives, which can be understood as a secular analogue for religious apocalyptic texts.
This paper is a milestone in the topic of this blog, which explores the relationship between dystopian fiction and radical politics. While this subject goes well beyond right-wing extremism, the importance of race to the dytopian genre is extraordinary. The earliest modern dystopian novel I could identify was a racist screed against the abolitionist movement, and anti-abolition dystopias helped fuel the genre's popularity. Dystopia is also important to racist extremism, and in a companion piece for The Atlantic, I discuss the role of The Turner Diaries in shaping what we know today as the alt right.

I will be posting more related to these themes over the next week or two, and follow me on Twitter @intelwire for more discussion. In the meantime, here are some related posts from this site:



     



THE TURNER LEGACY

 
The Turner Diaries, the infamous racist dystopian novel by neo-Nazi William Luther Pierce, has inspired more than 200 murders since its publication in 1978, including the single deadliest act of domestic terrorism in U.S. history, the Oklahoma City bombing.

The book is arguably the most important single work of white nationalist propaganda in the English language, but it is not a singular artifact. The Turner Diaries is part of a genre of racist dystopian propaganda dating back to the U.S. Civil War. A new paper from J.M. Berger documents the books that directly and indirectly inspired Turner and examine the extensive violence that the novel has inspired.


DYSTOPIAN TRAILERS



RECENT J.M. BERGER VIDEO



RECENT POSTS


Racism and Radiophones

The Unparalleled Invasion

The John Franklin Letters

Coming Friday: The Turner Legacy

Bitch Planet

Tweets from Dystopia 2016

Dystopia at the Conventions

The ISIS After-School Special

The Purge: Election Year

Why dystopia?



ABOUT

J.M. Berger is an author, consultant and analyst studying extremism. He is an associate fellow with the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism -- The Hague and a fellow with George Washington University's Program on Extremism. For more about Berger, click here.


BOOKS BY J.M. BERGER

"...smart, granular analysis..."

ISIS: The State of Terror
"Jessica Stern and J.M. Berger's new book, "ISIS," should be required reading for every politician and policymaker... Their smart, granular analysis is a bracing antidote to both facile dismissals and wild exaggerations... a nuanced and readable account of the ideological and organizational origins of the group." -- Washington Post

  • Foreign Affairs: Best books of 2015
  • Wall Street Journal: Must-reads on terrorism
  • Washington Post: Notable nonfiction of 2015
  • New York Times: The top books of 2015

    More on ISIS: The State of Terror

    "...a timely warning..."

    Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam:
    "At a time when some politicians and pundits blur the line between Islam and terrorism, Berger, who knows this subject far better than the demagogues, sharply cautions against vilifying Muslim Americans. ... It is a timely warning from an expert who has not lost his perspective." -- New York Times

    More on Jihad Joe