This is the story of Glenn Turner’s fall from grace, power and wealth.
The story of this charismatic, dynamic young man’s rise from his humble beginnings, grinding poverty, his birth in a charity ward, handicapped with a severe speech impairment, disfigured by a harelip, and disadvantaged by a meager education, was chronicled by John Frasca in a book called, “Con Man Or Saint?” and in a motion picture produced by Earl Owensby, entitled “Dare To Be Great.” This book is not an attempt to rehash Frasca’s books or Owensby’s movie in other words, in another way, nor is there any need to. These works were excellent and stand alone. This is the story of what happened to Glenn Turner, after he “made it,” after the period covered in the book and movie.
This a story that has never been told but cries out to be told.
This is a story, a true story, just as the characters in the book lived it.
In the words of the legendary Clark Stone, ” The names of some of the characters, places and circumstances have been changed to protect the guilty.”
This is a story of government persecution, prejudice and abuse of power, spawned by the Richard Nixon Watergate era. It is a story of a tragic, willful, systematic destruction of a man and his people, for the purpose of passing laws against a system of marketing, a feat that would be the making of a lot of people’s reputations. Fanned by the flames of irresponsible yellow journalism and executed by young prosecutors who were like young surgeons fresh out of medical school and yearning to cut on someone, anyone, to test these skills. These young men and women could not wait to get into court. Glenn Turner was a suitable victim. Meaning well, and perhaps even bringing themselves to believe they were fighting the “good fight,” these government officials were not ignorant of the acclaim and prominence they would garner by bringing down a man of Glenn Turner’s stature. Most of them needed little invitation to hop aboard the band wagon and join the lynching party of Glenn Turner and his people.
They were successful. Glenn Turner was stripped of his wealth, reputation, his companies, and even his family. They were so successful that even today, some 20+ years afterward, there are many people who never met Glenn Turner, or were involved in any way, who accept without question that the man was a crook, a swindler, a cheat, as the government said he was, forgetting that the government of that day was proven to be the abusers of power, corrupt and consummate liars.
And what about Glenn Turner? Is he embittered, soured on life, licking his wounds? No! Glenn Turner today still maintains his love of God, country and his fellow human beings. He cares about people and works tirelessly for the benefit of others as he always has. He has run for public office twice. Each time he was able to raise the funds for his race, run a credible, clean campaign, addressing the issues and did well at the polls. In his first race, at the height of his legal problems. Glenn Turner ran for the U.S. Senate from the State of Florida. Gagged by the Judge, awaiting a second trail on mail fraud, fighting extradition to New York State and totally without experience in campaigning or politics, he scored high in the race, confounding his tormentors. He beat six worthy opponents, one of them the former President of the Florida Bar Association. While he did not get into the runoff race, he helped many people change their opinion of him.
This is the story of the way a man and his people were treated. In the opinion of the writers, it was unfair, un-American, and unconscionable. It is one more black mark against the Watergate government of Richard Nixon and further indication as to how far that corruption spread before it was brought down. This story would have been unbelievable a few years ago. Now knowing the excesses of government and the press of that shameful era of our country’s history, it is credible and should be told.
Mr. Frasca always felt it was his destiny and purpose to let the Turner Story be told and the truth be heard. As a highly acclaimed investigative journalist, he began to research the accomplishments of Glenn Turner — which led to two of his books, “Con Man or Saint?” and “The Unstoppable Glenn Turner”. He also wrote ” GWT Changed The World for Me” and “A Fun Book from a sharecropper’s 100 Best Stories”. Some of these are out of print at this time. Con Man or Saint is part of one of Mr. Turner's packages and it is also under the title of "Glenn W. Turner" in our book section.
John Frasca was a native of Lynn, MA, and a graduate of Mississippi College. He served as a Marine Corps Officer in World War II, worked for newspapers in Mississippi, Texas, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Florida and had written articles for This Week, American Mercury and Colliers. In addition to the Pulitzer Prize, he received 35 major awards for journalism, including the Heywood Broun Award.
A series of highly acclaimed articles for the Tampa Tribune not only brought freedom to a man falsely imprisoned but also brought to John Frasca journalism’s highest honors the Pulitzer Prize and the Heywood Broun Award.
His book, “THE MULBERRYTREE,” received a special Edgar Allan Poe Award.
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