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Publisher's Summary

An utterly persuasive prophecy about a new American era that begins just after the millennium, The Fourth Turning illuminates the past, explains the present, and imagines the future. William Strauss and Neil Howe base this vision on a provocative new theory of American history. With intellectual audacity, the authors look back 500 years and uncover a distinct pattern: 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 20 years and always arrive in the same order. First comes a High, a period of confident growth as a new order takes root. Next comes an Awakening, a time of spiritual exploration and rebellion against the now-established order. Then comes an Unraveling, an increasingly troubled era as individualism triumphs over crumbling institutions. Last comes a Crisis - the Fourth Turning - when society passes through a great and perilous gate in history.
Strauss and Howe locate today's America as midway through an Unraveling, roughly a decade away from the next era of Crisis. They show how generational dynamics are the key to understanding the cycles of American history and draw vivid portraits of all the modern generations: the can-do G.I.s, the mediating Silent, the self-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 becomes clear - as does the inevitability of the coming Crisis.
By applying the lessons of history, The Fourth Turning makes some bold and hopeful predictions about America's next rendezvous with destiny, and shows us how we can prepare for what's ahead.
©1997 William Strauss and Neil Howe
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Critic Reviews

"One of the best efforts to give us an integrated vision of where we are going." (Wall Street Journal)
"A startling vision of what the cycles of history predict for the future." (USA Weekend)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Aldous on 04-17-10

Fascinating

This book gave me a new perspective on our history and our possible future. This book was written in 1997 and I read it in 2010. It's not a book predicting the future, but it does make some forecasts that are pretty spot-on. I find this book quite valuable and would recommend this book to my children when they grow up. The knowledge in it is valuable in that it gives you foresight of cycles to come in our culture. I agree with the authors' premise that time is cyclical and not linear.

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Beloo on 10-17-03

As the World Turns...

This book presents a fresh and fascinating viewpoint of how the order and relationship of generations to one another bring about great and unexpected changes in our society. The thesis builds upon a previous study done by the authors in an earlier book entitled "Generations" and works to apply the theories advanced in that book to the conditions as we have them today. Far more than a book of shallow prognosication, it equips each of us with a new lens that can be used to see relationships and trends heretofore invisible. I recommend it for anyone with an interest in history who wishes to challenge their staid views of the past.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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5 out of 5 stars
By Peter Lawless on 01-01-18

phenomenal prescience from a book written in 1997

the authors accurately predict much of what came to pass in the 00's.. and give us deep insights in how to proceed, today 20 years after it was written and 10 years after the GFC

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