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The Selling Of The Turner Diaries

The Selling Of The Turner Diaries image
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Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)
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Agenda Publications
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I F YOU WANT A STRAIGHTFORWARD ANSWER about where some of the profits go from the sale of the race-war novel, The Turner Diaries, don't askBorders. A memo sentto managerial employees of Borders Books & Music stores nationwide, generated by Borders' corporate offices here in Ann Arbor, appears to encourage employees to provide the press and the public with incomplete, misleading, and sometimes inaccurate information about the book's proceeds. The April 26, 1996 memo was obtained by AGENDA from a Borders employee ' 'troubled by its contents." Borders Group, Inc. on May 10 announced that it will carry the 1978 novel in all 125 of its Borders Books & Music stores. The book is already on the shelves despite a letter-writing campaign by a prominent human rights group to Borders and other major bookstore chains urging them not to sell the racist, inflammatory novel. Until now, the book was available by special order or mail order only . "When you decide how to exercise your First Amendment right to sell whatever books you please," wrote Morris Dees, co-founder and chief trial counsel for the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), in an April 19, 1 996 fax letter to Borders Group, Inc., the parent company of the Borders Books and Music chain, "we hope you consider not only the message of The Turner Diaries but also where the profits are likely to go." The Turner Diaries was written by Dr. William Pierce under the pseudonym Andrew Macdonald. "Dr. Pierce," wrote Dees, "is the leader of the National Alliance, one of thecountry's largest neo-Nazi organizations." The National Alliance, Dees continued, believes they are in a war for survival of the white race, and The Turner Diaries is, in Pierce' s words, the "blueprint" or "handbook for white victory." The two-page letter to major bookstore chains from the SPLC - a Montgomery, Alabama-based, 24-year-old organization with a history of successful litigation and activities on behalf of victims of racism and poverty - drew immediate media attention. The New York Times, in an April 20 article headlined "Group Tries to Halt Selling of Racist Novel," noted that Ly Ie Stuart, owner of Barricade Books and the publisher of The Turner Diaries, "said that Mr. Pierce would receive 5 percent of the book's sales pnce." The letter from SPLC and the ensuing media attention also appear to have inspired the April 26 memo from Borders' marketing department to its 1 25 stores, designed ' continued on page 4


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