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Secular Cycles

4.50  ·  Rating Details  ·  32 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
Many historical processes exhibit recurrent patterns of change. Century-long periods of population expansion come before long periods of stagnation and decline; the dynamics of prices mirror population oscillations; and states go through strong expansionist phases followed by periods of state failure, endemic sociopolitical instability, and territorial loss. Peter Turchin ...more
ebook, 360 pages
Published July 20th 2009 by Princeton University Press (first published January 1st 2009)
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Keith Akers
Aug 09, 2013 Keith Akers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an absolutely great book, clearly of interest to anyone who is concerned about things like the collapse of civilizations, and specifically the possible collapse of our civilization. And it was published in 2009, and I'm only finding out about it, and reading it, now! I found out about it through Gail Tverberg's blog, "Our Finite World," and I hope it finds a wide readership. But a word of warning: this book is not for the faint of heart. You've got to love the subject or you'll never mak ...more
Stephen
Apr 03, 2014 Stephen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book exemplifies my type of futures - a grand sweep of human history, a causal model, and a dynamic framework from which we can view our present lives. The first chapter outlines the model and is followed by eight turns of the cycle, two per chosen country. The final chapter draws together the evidence and the model.

I found the model to be quite interesting. It seems to be based on two perspectives of history. One is the Malthusian, where history can be described as a series of cycles where
...more
Odhran
Feb 08, 2014 Odhran rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, history
Very interesting book. Outlines a theory of history which explains a significant proportion of historical change in agrarian societies. It's a very interesting approach, and one which I think will provide extremely interesting insights into history and, potentially, the future.

Some minor issues with typos, and some of the history strikes me as potentially a little weak, but those are very minor issues when compared with the overall work.
Stefan
Jun 12, 2016 Stefan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well documented validation of a very interesting theory.
Fred R
Jan 14, 2012 Fred R rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are still some very basic questions (how do you define "the elite"? What determines the number of "elite aspirants"? Is the model applicable to a post-agricultural economy? If so, what are we really talking about? People's ability to marshal enough resources to reproduce themselves biologically and economically?) that remain to be answered, but all in all I'm just a huge fan of this neo-Malthusian "structural-demographic" theory.
David Lopez
Dec 11, 2015 David Lopez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I would recommend reading war and peace and war instead of this one, this goes into much much more details but unless you know the math and are really that skeptical the same concept gets a worthy write up in his other book. Still very good and more of the same which is why I read it, but unless you really want more history from this perspective the same concept is done just fine in war and peace and war.
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