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

ISBN: 0767900464

ISBN13: 9780767900461

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

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Book Overview

NATIONAL BESTSELLER - Discover the game-changing theory of the cycles of history and what past generations can teach us about living through times of upheaval--with deep insights into the roles that Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials have to play. 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...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Troubling but crucially important

Strauss and Howe offer an analysis of the past 500 years of Western civilization, through the lens of generational dynamics. They are repeating (and condensing) some of their prior work in Generations, and putting more emphasis on our present reality. The authors posit that there is a four-generation cycle that has repeated itself time and time again over the past five centuries. Every fourth generation, there is a massive upheaval -- the American Revolution, the Civil War, and World War II being the most recent examples. They argue that we are due for the next massive crisis by about 2020 to 2025, and that all the signs of disintegration of society we see around us are patterns that have existed in the periods prior to the massive upheavals of the past. I found this book to be a page-turner; I found it incredibly difficult to put down. If you're a church leader, read this book in conjunction with Mike Regele's book The Death of the Church, which is grounded, in large part, on the work of Strauss and Howe.

The most profound book I have read in a long time

I have always believed history was linear, and that we were progressing somehow as a species, until I read this book. Like many other unenlightened, I saw history in short segments, comparing today to the 50s, or to the 60s, and I saw linearities that I could then extrapolate from. Since reading The Fourth Turning, I realize how history is cyclical, and where we are now, we have been before, in a sense. When you hearken back to the 50s, and how "good" it was, you don't need to despair, but instead realize that those times will come back. (Personally, the 50s sound awful to me.) The Fourth Turning has profoundly reshaped my view of the world, history and my place in it. Rather than fighting history as it is being made, I recognize now that the wheel is turning, and I cannot stop it. I realize now, it is wiser to understand where we are going as a society, and to make rational preparations instead. I recommend any thoughtful person to read this book. You will never think the same. In a way, you will pity those who do not see history as cyclical, as they are fooled at every turn. You will understand that the current cultural war has happened before. Can you remember, progressives vs. christian teetotallers in the teens and twenties. Can you remember the, uh, abolitionists versus the pro-slavery crowd in the 1840s? The revolutionaries vs. the pro-British in the 1760s. We have been at each others throats again and again. Cyclical, hmmm.

Historical Prophecy

Member of the 13th Generation? Millenial Generation? The Boomers? Care to track your own development through the maze of historical events to find out where you've been, and more importantly, where you are going? Where our country is going? Then pick this book up immediately. Simply put, the "Fourth Turning" is THE most important book written in the last twenty years, and a book that should be required reading.Strauss and Howe apparently have devoted their lives to the study of history and the development of generations in societies. The book is loaded, and I mean, loaded with historical references, some of which I wasn't familiar with until now. By looking at these events, and more importantly, looking at the people that went along with those events, Strauss and Howe noticed some recurring patterns in generations over the centuries. Apply this pattern to our country, and to our future, they have correctly predicted that we are headed for a "Fourth Turning", a time of great criss and peril.Normally, I shun books that people claim to have "visions of the future" involved with them. They are frequently erroneous and based on the whims of the author. However, "The Fourth Turning" is different. By basing their theories of the future on past events, they offer support and credence to their thoughts. The effect is both enlightening and chilling, but it is one that we simply cannot ignore.I found every single page of their book fascinating as a study or recent history and future history. Also, I personally found self-enlightenment in reading about the generation in which I belong, the long lost "Gen X" crowd, or the title they label it, "13th". It explains a lot about the world in which I was raised, and the world we live in today.One chilling fact: this book was written in 1997, and the authors predicts a calamatous and unimaginable event in the early part of the 2000s that would signify the start of the Fourth Turning. Who can read this book and not think of September 11th?Don't delay. Read this book. We are entering a winter in our times, and those people prepared with that knowledge certainly will have a more steady base in the fourth turning to come.

Puts History, and the near future in a clear perspective

This is one of the most important books about history that was ever written. This introduces an ancient concept of cyclic time, and makes it new again. The sub-title "An American Prophecy" might be a little misleading when you read the book, but that's only because of reader's expectations. Many people are expecting a Nostradamus type prediction of the future piece by piece. That's not what this book is about, and they clearly state it in the book. This book is about the cycles of time, and how they have affected past events, and what they tell us about the future. One reviewer on this website has called this work "New Age Astrology." That reviewer is very closed-minded. He makes prejudical statements about the book, and one wonders if he read the whole thing. This book is FAR from astrology because astrology depends upon blind faith to succeed. This book succeeds not because of blind faith in some New Age religion, but because of its nearly perfect track record. The authors of these books have realized that American society goes through cycles of time. These cycles have been nearly precise, and are subject to anonalies, but this book succeeds because history shows that many of the events in America happen over and over again. Also the events that happened between 1946 and today are shown to have a historical precedence, and this is made clear. The proof is in our history. If you want proof, ask people in society, and consult historical sources, and you will come to the same conclusion. So far, when talking to many people in society, this book has not failed me once. This is proof enough about the authenticity of this book. The same review said that this book disregards all of the scientific, technological, and intellectual advancements. I my analysis of this book the author misses many of these developments because they are unnecessary. The book shows that no matter what comes along, they, too, are subject to the cycles of time, and a historical analysis of technologies such as cars, radios, television, and of social movements such as feminism, civil rights, and new age religions prove this very point. The authors merely say that circular and linear time are equally important, and that they actually help the other. I recommend this book to anyone who cares about the future, and of this nation. The historical events have repeated themselves throughout history, and why should today be any different? We are not more special than the other generations who had to go through the seasons of time. Each time I read the book, it gets better because I get more and more from it, and therefore, am able to fit the theory into actual and historic life. If you doubt this book, go seek info from primary sources, be they your children, friends, peers, parents, grand-parents, or grand-children, and you will see how right this book is. I will reiterate that the point of this book is not predicting the

A provacative and exciting look at the past and the future

(A version of this review appeared in The Boston Globe, which owns the rights. Please post it, just as you have posted excerpts from the New York Times review. Thank you.) Alas, in our age of professional specialization, one must look outside the academy for works of real originality and breadth. One such is The Fourth Turning, by William Strauss and Neal Howe, which shows how much more can be done with themes of rise, decline, birth, death, and change. Six years ago, in Generations, Strauss and Howe laid out a provacative and immensely entertaining outline of American history, based on a four-stage cycle of generations and historical periods. Now, in a somewhat shorter, more focused, and even more provocative sequel, they have recast their argument with an eye on the immediate future. There, they see an inspiring, chilling era of tragedy and triumph. The "fourth turning" to which their title refers is nothing less than a national crisis on the scale of the American Revolution, the Civil War, or the Depression and the Second World War--and they expect it to break out sometime during the next decade. That crisis will be the climax of the fourth great "saeculum" in American national life--a Latin word referring to the span of a normal long life, that is, between 80 and 100 years. Their argument can only be understood with reference to history, but space does not allow all four of the great cycles of American history to be laid out. We can, however, understand their view of the current saeculum--which began around 1964--by analogies with two previous, completed ones: the (somewhat accelerated) Civil War saeculum from about 1822 through 1886, and the Great Power saeculum from 1886 through 1963. Like every other saeculum, they argue, this one began with an Awakening--in this case, the consciousness revolution of the 1960s and 1970s, parallel to the Transcendental Awakening of the 1820s and 1830s, the father of abolitionism, and the Missionary Awakening of 1884-1908, which focused on social issues. All Awakening eras feature social activism among the young, increased substance abuse, and an emphasis on women's and minority rights. They are driven by young adults--most recently, the Baby Boomers--who are rebelling against the consensus of the "High" periods in which they grew up--the Jeffersonian high of roughly 1800-1820, the post-Civil War high of 1865-85, and, most notably, the "American high" of 1945-63, whose consensus atmosphere is so deeply missed by so many older Americans today. Awakenings, however, produce ideological ferment rather than ideological consensus, and lead directly not to the golden age foreseen by their youth, but rather to an Unraveling in which divisions over values become worse and worse, and the glue that holds society together rapidly weakens. Few will be inclined to dispute the authors'contention that we now find ourselves in an "Unraveling" that
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