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Books-A-Million (BAM), the bookstore chain based in the South and Midwest, is selling copies of The Turner Diaries and other propaganda published by the neo-Nazi National Alliance through its website—as well as other books neo-Nazis love including Kevin McDonald’s antisemitic screed Culture of Critique and work by Holocaust Denier Stephen Mitford Goodson.
The Turner Diaries was a 1978 race war fantasy novel written by neo-Nazi ideologue and National Alliance founder William Luther Pierce. It tells the story of a soldier for “The Order”—a secret neo-Nazi resistance fighting against a Jewish-controlled government that seizes guns from white people and deputizes gangs of black people to terrorize them.
Beyond its absurd, over-the-top racism, The Turner Diaries describes asymmetrical warfare tactics a violent insurgency within the United States would use—and which some inspired by the book did use. A neo-Nazi gang called “The Order,” named after the group in the book, murdered a Jewish radio host and committed armed robberies to try to fund an insurgency in the ‘80s. But even deadlier was the infamous 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, which killed 168 people, 19 of which were children. The bomber, Timothy McVeigh, was radicalized in part by The Turner Diaries.
Books-A-Million has 260 stores in 32 states, mostly across the South and Midwest. They’re headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama. When it was last publicly traded in 2014, the company made $474 million in a year. It’s currently privately owned by the family of Clyde B. Anderson, who started the chain as a news stand in 1917. In 2014, 24/7 Wall Street listed BAM as one of the worst places to work in the U.S., citing employees’ “high stress, low pay,” as well as “low chance of promotion” and “hours based on magazine and discount card sales.” In 2016 it partnered with a Silicon Valley firm called FastPencil to start self-publishing books, though LCRW did not find evidence that neo-Nazis were using this service.
As of this writing, LCRW found six titles published by National Alliance or its other front, Pierce’s “Cosmotheism” cult, available for order on BAM’s website. The Turner Diaries is marked up to $30 on BAM’s site—it’s $24 straight from the National Alliance themselves (although they usually have difficulty taking online payments.) On BAM’s website, all versions of these titles have publishing dates in 2019 or 2020 and list the publisher. We also found a title by neo-Nazi Counter-Currents publishing, the work of aforementioned Holocaust denier Stephen Goodson, and “Might is Right,” the proto-fascist manifesto cited by the Gilroy Garlic Festival spree shooter. Many of these books show up on the ‘Customers also bought’ tab on the page.
LCRW was first informed about BAM stocking neo-Nazi groups’ materials by the hosts of the Not Your Grandmother’s Book Club podcast, who forwarded a complaint to BAM’s customer service and its reply.
“At Books-A-Million, we sell a variety of books on numerous subjects. Our intention is not to offend any valued customers with the product sold in the stores or on our website. Instead, we strive to provide titles on as many topics as available and requested by our customers,” ‘Tiffany’ from BAM’s HR said in the email LCRW was shown.
“Because an item is sold in our stores or online does not mean that we agree with or promote that idea. Our policy is to follow all local ordinances relative to the sales and display of these materials,” ‘Tiffany’ concludes.
Books-A-Million did not reply to LCRW’s request for comment at press time.