The Fourth Turning: What the Cycles of History Tell Us About America's Next Rendezvous with Destiny

Front Cover
Crown/Archetype, Jan 16, 2009 - Social Science - 400 pages
7 Reviews
This astonishing book will change the way you see the world -- and your place in it.

With startling originality, The Fourth Turning illuminates the past, explains the present, and reimagines the future. Most remarkably, it offers an utterly persuasive prophecy about a new American era that will begin just after the millennium.

William Strauss and Neil Howe base this vision on a provocative new theory of American history. The authors look back five hundred years and uncover a distinct pattern: Modern history moves in cycles, each one lasting about the length of a long human life, each composed of four eras--or "turnings"--that last about twenty years and that always arrive in the same order.

First comes a High, a period of confident expansion as a new order takes root after the old has been swept away. Next comes an Awakening, a time of spiritual exploration and rebellion against the now-established order. Then comes an Unraveling, an increasingly troubled era in which individualism triumphs over crumbling institutions. Last comes a Crisis--the Fourth Turning--when society passes through a great and perilous gate in history. Together, the four turnings comprise history's seasonal rhythm of growth, maturation, entropy, and rebirth.

Strauss and Howe locate today's America as midway through an Unraveling, roughly a decade away from the next era of Crisis. In a brilliant analysis of the post-World War II period, they show how generational dynamics are the key to understanding the cycles of American history. They draw vivid portraits of all the modern generations: the can-do G.I.s, the mediating Silent, the values-absorbed Boomers, the pragmatic 13ers, and the child Millennials. Placed in the context of history's long rhythms, the persona and role of each generation become clear--as does the inevitability of the coming Crisis.

Whatever your stage of life, The Fourth Turning offers bold predictions about how all of us can prepare, individually and collectively, for America's next rendezvous with destiny.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
5
4 stars
2
3 stars
0
2 stars
0
1 star
0

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Miro - LibraryThing

In this exceptional book the authors take a life-cycle view of human affairs that is analogous to the four seasons. A complete cycle repeats and runs through four quarters ; Spring, Summer, Autumn ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - KeithAkers - LibraryThing

I approached this book initially very skeptically. My previous experience with "prophecy" was, as I vaguely recall, a book called "The Great Depression of the 1990's" or something like that. But the ... Read full review

Contents

Winter Comes Again
1
Seasons of Time
25
Seasons of Life
53
Cycles of History
91
Gray Champions
139
American High 19461964
145
Consciousness Revolution l964el984
171
Culture Wars l9842005?
201
9v Fourth Tumings in History
254
A Fourth Turning Prophecy
272
The Eternal Return
329
Acknowledgments
337
Index of Names
367
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2009)

William Strauss and Neil Howe, the authors of Generations: The History of America's Future and 13th-GEN, write and lecture frequently on generational issues.  Strauss is the cofounder and director of the Capitol Steps, a political cabaret.  Howe, a historian and economist, is a senior advisor for the Concord Coalition.  They both live in the Washington, D.C., area.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Bibliographic information