The Fourth Turning
What the Cycles of History Tell Us About America's Next Rendezvous with Destiny
NATIONAL BESTSELLER • First comes a High, a period of confident expansion. Next comes an Awakening, a time of spiritual exploration and rebellion. Then comes an Unraveling, 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.
William Strauss and Neil Howe will change the way you see the world—and your place in it. With blazing originality, The Fourth Turning illuminates the past, explains the present, and reimagines the future. Most remarkably, it offers an utterly persuasive prophecy about how America’s past will predict what comes next.
Strauss and Howe base this vision on a provocative 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 twenty-year eras—or “turnings”—that comprise history’s seasonal rhythm of growth, maturation, entropy, and rebirth. Illustrating this cycle through a brilliant analysis of the post–World War II period, The Fourth Turning offers bold predictions about how all of us can prepare, individually and collectively, for this rendezvous with destiny.
Expanding on the cyclical view of history set forth in their bestsellers Generations: The History of America's Future and 13th-GEN, Strauss and Howe focus on the three "turnings," or recurring 20-year generational periods, that have supposedly marked the post-WWII era-and on the fourth, pivotal "Crisis" period that will begin, by their reckoning, around 2005. Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy, we learn, presided over the first postwar turning, an "upbeat" time of orderly suburbia, conformity and nascent rebellion. The second turning, an "Awakening" that began around JFK's assassination, brought a "consciousness revolution," tax revolts, hostility to authority. Americans turned cynical and voters split ideologically in the "Unraveling," the third turning, as Reagan-era yuppie greed gave way to national drift and civic decay. The fourth turning, the "Crisis," could see dangerous demagogues, civil violence and war, but it will also usher in a new communitarianism. The authors' simplistic framework makes newspaper astrology look like a pure science. The book's appeal lies in the way they link an all-embracing theory of history to current strivings for self-actualization and to the average person's desire for peace and prosperity. Author tour.
Redundant, but a very convincing theory of history
History is seasonal.
This book has changed my life forever, I understand my past and envision my future. There is not doubt we are all connected and need to work together to continue the human kind journey for the better.
This book explains the time we are living through like none other. So eye opening to view time itself as seasonal rather than the linear view we are taught in school.