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Publisher's Summary

National best seller

“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 500 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 20 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.

©1997 William Strauss and Neil Howe

What the critics say

"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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What listeners say about The Fourth Turning

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Amazing

Great book. Listening to this in 2022 it's pretty unbelievable how accurate these two were at predicting events. 5/5

1 person found this helpful

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Okay Boomer!

Good book, but I didn't realize how old it is.
Millennials are not going to save the old parasitic Boomers. I laughed so hard when I heard that. Most Millennials experience schadenfreude when it comes to Boomers. When boomers are starving, the young foreign and native population will be laughing. Boomers brought us Universal Suffrage, feminism, massive propaganda, government indoctrination, and indifference. Enduring the solipsism and narcissism of boomers will not be forgotten. Start preparing for the collapse of Rome people! We're definitely going into the dark ages. Boomers were the first generation to vote themselves all the money. Thanks guys! See you in the waste land. 🥳

1 person found this helpful

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I cannot believe how prophetic this nook is.

My only real criticism of this book is I wish I would have read this book 20 years ago.

1 person found this helpful

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wow this is mind opening

everyone should reed this book to understand where we are why we are here and where we are going. Now in the peak of the 4th turning we see what we did wrong but how there is a great future for are kids.

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Excellent!

I absolutely loved it. There's a lot to process with this one, I'd recommend reading it at least twice. I felt like I gained a ton from the first read, and then another ton off of the second. Let your ideas, theories, and worldview run wild while you listen. It's worth appreciating just how accurate many of the assertions made in the mid 90s turned out to be.

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Long and labour-some read

This entire book could have been condensed into a chapter. It was way too long and drawn out.

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very informative for the current events 2022

Describes what is currently going on with eerie accuracy, with who our leaders are and how politics is heading.

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The recycling world. A must read.

It’s simple, if your human and you don’t just want to look at the world through the eyes of a sheep, don’t miss this one.

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Clearly Detailed Generational Analysis

While there is definitely political bias from time to time throughout, the analysis is intricately based on American perspectives, but still very useful in identifying general traits prominent in generations worldwide, as well as the causes of those traits (as far as American standards have influenced the world more and more).

The authors were careful not to reach for exactness but rather ensured discussion on multiple possible outcomes to multiple possible events, or event categories. However, they were clear that there would be some form of crisis during this fourth turning. They could hit the mark on that point for any "turning" but again, what is more relevant is how the generation that is taking over power during this turning will handle the crises that occur, and how that will affect future generations and turnings.

Overall quite good and though there's obviously some guess work that goes into this type of theorizing, it is a very carefully constructed theoretical framework and deserves attention from scholars and futurists alike.

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Speculum insight profound but....

While spot on with some broad strokes they' are way off on the specifics.

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  • GiniO
  • 2017-03-02

Authors take a "short" view of history

We are a new country and I'm not sanguine with the authors using the last 400+ years of America's existence as the basis for their speculative theory. If they wish to show that their theory "holds water", then they need to visit European culture from the 1600's to the present. Even go back another 500 years in European history to show these 4 "turnings" at work. Their ideas are provocative and worth exploring but I have a sense that they've manipulated history to fit their theories.

53 people found this helpful

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  • MB
  • 2018-11-04

Inaccurate predictions on generations

This book isn’t new, and so it does give us the ability to determine the accuracy of the predictions over the last two decades. There is evidence to suggest there are cycles and seasons within human history, and that we are likely entering into winter or within one. My issue with this book is the completely wrong predictions about Baby Boomers and beyond. The authors predictions on the millennials generation is just laughable. As a tail end GenXer, I can also say that the majority of observations and predictions about our generation are wrong. The authors offered additional opinion based suggestions and commentary at the end, which they offered as empirical truths. This wasn’t a bad book, but their predictions doesn’t stand the test of time. For that reason, I’m not satisfied with it. I do wish they would make a new version of this book and revisit and improve upon their predictions and timeline.

40 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2010-04-17

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.

35 people found this helpful

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  • Carol Barnes
  • 2018-02-23

Abridged

I really dislike that this was abridged. I don't think that I had sufficient access to understanding some of the points being made because of it. Sweeping statements would be made without enough support or discussion as to why I should think that they are so

31 people found this helpful

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  • Keith J.
  • 2020-05-02

Nothin like the book

This is an abridged version of the book. Wish they would have said this. Weak, comparative speaking.

30 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Judd Bagley
  • 2009-05-03

The grand unified theory of sociology

People who really get what this book is saying find it changes their entire world views. I am one of them and cannot recommend it highly enough. Having said that, I also cannot do enough to recommend that you get paper and audio versions and consume them in parallel. Some of these concepts really need to be seen in tabular format to be understood. At the same time, I found that listening to this abridged version greatly enhanced by comprehension of the full print version, and helped me to be more patient with it when it grew occasionally circular.

29 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Robert
  • 2004-06-29

Explanation of generational interaction

Future generations will judge this book and the theories it presents as a foundation to understanding how the generations interact. Anyone who takes the time to understand this book will be uniquely prepared for the events that are about to unfold in the not too distant future (2009).

19 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Beloo
  • 2003-10-17

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.

16 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Greg
  • 2010-04-06

Outstanding

This is a great book. Though it was written in 1996 because of the accuracy of their predictions you would have thought it was written today (2010) in retrospect of the happenings of this past decade. It'll change the way you think about and see the things happening in America today.

11 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Richard
  • 2010-11-13

An Amazing Map of What is to Come

I listened to this book four times to date. This book lays out history in a completely new and insightful way and provides razor sharp insight into what is going on in society now and what is to come. It is at once hopeful and terrifying.

6 people found this helpful

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  • highwoltage
  • 2021-01-09

Required reading 2021

Written more than 20 years ago, this book provides an avid description of the current situation in America: we’re in the midst of a generational crisis.
As such “the forth turning” is required reading to make sense of the societal upheaval, racial conflict, growing deficits and government influence, etc
While not providing all the answers or a complete manual to where well end up, after all the world is dynamic ... the book helps with the essential task of pinning down our current position and highlight the parallels to historic precedents.