The fourth turning An American prophecy

William Strauss

Book - 1997

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 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 unravelling, 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. By applying the lessons of history, The fourth turning makes some bold and hopeful predictions about America's next rendezvous with destiny. It also shows us how we can prepare for what's ahead, both individually and as a nation.

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Subjects
Published
New York : Broadway Books [1997]
Edition
1st edition
Language
English
Physical Description
382 pages ; 25 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages 341-366) and index.
ISBN
9780767900461
9780553066821
055306682X
0767900464
Main Author
William Strauss (-)
Other Authors
Neil Howe (-)
Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

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. (Feb.) Copyright 1998 Publishers Weekly Reviews

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Predicts that the U.S. will face a crisis in the next millennium that will threaten the country's survival

Review by Publisher Summary 2

An intriguing glimpse into the future provides information detailng the political and social collision that could occur shortly after the millennium, based on a repeating series of eighty to one hundred year cycles, divided into four "turnings"--a High, Awakening, Unraveling, and Crisis. Reprint.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • “A startling vision of what the cycles of history predict for the future.”—USA Weekend 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 its future. 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 eras—or "turnings"—that last about twenty years and that always arrive in the same order. In The Fourth Turning, the authors illustrate these cycles using a brilliant analysis of the post-World War II period.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.The Fourth Turning offers bold predictions about how all of us can prepare, individually and collectively, for America’s next rendezvous with destiny.