Dystopian fiction and radical politics

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Turner Diaries on PBS American Experience

I spoke with PBS American Experience about the impact and origins of The Turner Diaries, as part of their recent series on right-wing domestic extremism, including films on the Oklahoma City bombing and Ruby Ridge.

For more about The Turner Diaries, check out The Turner Legacy: The Origins of White Nationalism's 'Bible', a major research paper I wrote as part of the Counter-Terrorism Strategic Communications project at the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism--The Hague.

Related to that paper, I also penned an article for The Atlantic on how The Turner Diaries shaped the direction of white nationalism in the United States, starting an evolution that has culminated in alt-right movement.

And if you're interested in how dystopian fiction interacts with radical and extremist politics more broadly, click around this site, including some "director's cut" material expanding on works that inspired The Turner Diaries, with additional detail that didn't fit into the paper:




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.



Logan's Run

Dystopian Robo-Call

The Spook Who Sat by the Door

The Turner Legacy

Racism and Radiophones

The Unparalleled Invasion

The John Franklin Letters

Coming Friday: The Turner Legacy

Bitch Planet

Tweets from Dystopia 2016


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.


"...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
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  • 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

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