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; (P) Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, a Division of Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc.