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The Fourth Turning

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  915 ratings  ·  183 reviews
First came the postwar High, then the Awakening of the '60s and '70s, and now the Unraveling.This audacious and provocative book tells us what to expect just beyond the start of the next century.Are you ready for the Fourth Turning?

Strauss and Howe will change the way you see the world--and your place in it.In The Fourth Turning, they apply their generational theories to t
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Paperback, 400 pages
Published December 29th 1997 by Three Rivers Press (first published December 1st 1996)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,072)
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John
The first quarter of this book is junk. It's a review of moldy pseudoscience about theories of four - four humours, four elements, four seasons, four temperaments, four phases of life. It has little or nothing to do with the central premise that there is a four generation cycle of behavior in Angle-American society - all you have to do to justify the length of this cycle to me is to point out that the normal death from old age occurs about four generations after birth. After the authors finish w ...more
J.
The Fourth Turning explains a theoretical approach to history - a cyclical system of societal high, awakening, unraveling and crisis. Each period has a corresponding stereotype: prophet, nomad, hero and artist. The time period for the cycle is the course of a generation, deemed a saeculum. Each of the four periods in a saeculum lasts between 17 to 29 years, as the authors piece together historical events to fit their theory. The only abnormality (that they recognize) is the time period for the c ...more
Pamela
Wow! I could totally see why Obama won the election after reading this--and why McCain did not. This is an amazing book on the patterns of history--and, as it was written 10 years ago, a dead-on prediction of the last 10 years. After reading it, I'm preparing for another crisis in the next 5 years. (I personally think the next American Crisis is going to be a cultural civil war--we'll see!)
Natasha
Strauss and Howe make a strong argument for studying time cyclically. Not only does a definite pattern of seasons of growth and decay emerge over the centuries, but generations are formed determined by their relation in time to historical events. For example, generations who come of age during a crisis take on a hero role as they march in step to the orders of their elders and save the day. The authors claim, "When history is viewed as seasonal . . . each generation can discover its own path acr ...more
Celeste Batchelor
UPDATE: Re-reading this one as part of a study group. I'm excited to STUDY this one deeper.

This was a necessary, but a tough read. I recommend it even though I only gave it three stars. I learned a great deal from this book, I just wish it was explained in more layman's terms. At times I felt angry and even stopped reading the book for a few days to clear my head of hurt feelings when reading of my Boomer generation parents and how they parented. I did find these generalizations to be true for
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Christy
There is so much corruption that I am looking forward to this next crisis. This attitude is predicted on page 257. Do I realize what I am actually saying? Maybe.

I give it 5 stars for introducing a new paradigm that understands history as cyclic, not linear. I loved the hero cycle described in the archetype and am going to read Hero With a Thousand Faces soon. I was fascinated at how wars turn out and are remembered in history when they aren’t 4th Turning wars. The Civil War and was a fascinatin
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Beth A.
Jul 24, 2011 Beth A. rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Beth A. by: Laura
Shelves: nonfiction, political
A slow read, but interesting and thought provoking. It’s an attempt to predict the future in a fairly general way based on patterns in history and repeating generational traits. It’s an intriguing idea that as a generation our personalities may be formed- by the parenting and actions of our elders- in such a way that our traits can be traced back and predicted forward in rotating patterns that cause historical and current events to adhere to similar patterns. This theory seemed to make sense to ...more
Shad
I know you really liked this one, which is why I was a little concerned about posting my rating. First, I think I'm a stingier rater overall. Basically, I think of the Book of Mormon as my 5, so it is pretty hard for other books to stack up. Second, while there were several things I appreciated about the book, I disagreed with much of the "methodology" and reasoning.

I did appreciate the effort to take a broader view of history, and I do think that cycles play roles in history and in our lives t
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Jayne
Back in 2008, I read The Fourth Turning by William Strauss and Neil Howe. I just came across a review (more like a synopsis) that I had put on LiveJournal at the time, so I figured I might as well post it here:

First, let the record show that "Everybody Knows" was originally written and recorded by Leonard Cohen, and to attribute the lyrics to Concrete Blonde demonstrates some willful fucking ignorance.

Second, did you know that Generation X was "the most-aborted generation in U.S. history"?

I don'
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Kristy Powers
Four Turnings, or types of large events, have recurred throughout history, especially American history and its immediate antecedents in England. The first is a High period where things are going very well, the second is a spiritual Awakening, the third is an ugly period of decline or Unraveling, and the fourth is a Crisis. Strauss and Howe prove this case over and over and over again in their book. (It took me a while to get through all the analysis.)

Need extra motivation to read this book, or j
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DWGibb
After much study and research, these guys have a theory of history that pretty well reveals what's happening now and in the coming decade in historic terms. They are very much into the cyclical nature of time and history, rather than the linear approach we've all become accustomed to. The cycle is a saeculum, about a hundred years, or a long lifetime.

Each saeculum is divided into four phases or turnings that repeat with each saeculum. The turnings are a High, an Awakening, an Unraveling and a C
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Jocie
Understand the past to predict the future. History continues to cycle- tragedy and destruction lead to a hard-working and ethical culture (hopefully), which creates prosperity, which creates decadent and ignorant great-grandchildren (hopefully not, but usually), and then society unravels which leads to tragedy and destruction. Yikes! True and scary! This book shows these cycles in American history back to the 1600's.

Why do we need to know this? When each culture falls apart it is then rebuilt- a
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Jordan
It was variously enthralling and yet maddening due to the clearly pseudoscientific astrological type numeromancy going on in this book. Parts of the book were exacting and seemed to be very spot on, the fact that the book came out in 1997 but makes such cutting use of the phrase "Winter is coming" was a disturbing coincidence considering we are both entering the Crisis period predicted by the book, and people are increasingly caught up in watching Game of Thrones wherein that line is an oft repe ...more
Scott
This is the best book I have read all year, in terms of how much it has changed my worldview. My wife has noticed that I am now seeing just about everything through the lens of generational cohorts, and in terms of the "fourth turning" we are now in as a society. The book was written by some liberal baby-boomers, but the basic premise (that we are heading toward a crisis) seems to fit with similar predictions from folks on the political right as well (such as Glenn Beck, who predicts global econ ...more
Stephanie
This book was strange. I'm rather fascinated by the theories in it, thereby making it worth a look. I've already taken sociology classes that have discussed how political opinion reliably switches from party to party every twenty years (???) or so. It's not much of a stretch to extrapolate this onto generations and larger behavioral patterns. In the end, this is largely a book about how societies are changed by war, and how it causes ripple effects on down through the generations (particularly w ...more
Henry
This was an interesting read, but I felt it was perhaps a bit overlong. I had already read about the theory online, and I'm not sure that I actually learned more by reading the book. Sure, it went into greater depth about the details, and offered more evidence for the concept of turnings, but I think you can find evidence for just about any idea if you go fishing for the right quotes and data.

I also found it a bit presumptuous of the authors to think that their generation would direct the battle
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Drkazmd65
Aug 12, 2008 Drkazmd65 rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Those interested in history or politics
Recommended to Drkazmd65 by: Review on an online political blog
I picked up this book after reading a brief review of it on the Huffington Post. The idea of this book in that brief review was enough to make me go out and pick it up off B&N.com - something I almost never do.

I wasn't disapointed. The authors lay out the idea behind four basic archetypes that more than generally correspond with 20-year generation cycles. These types are shaped by those that raise them, and the expanding or contractiong spiritual and economic cycles that they grow up in. Ea
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Keith Akers
I approached this book initially very skeptically. My previous experience with "prophecy" was, as I vaguely recall, a book called "The Great Depression of the 1990's" or something like that. But the authors make a convincing case first, that each generation (they define generations in terms of contemporaries or cohorts) really does have a different character, and second, that this generational intermix would produce a major crisis in the U. S. sometime in the period 2005 - 2025.

A social crisis
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Tress Huntley


Worth the time invested. I wonder what I would have thought about it if I'd read it when it came out in 1997. I was 26 then, and not sure I would have wanted to get its message. But interestingly, here we are pretty much exactly where the authors predicted we would be at this point in time. I found some comments the authors made after 9/11 happened, restating their confidence in the cyclical nature of history (versus linear, which I can see I have been assuming all this time probably in error)
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Kristy
Over all I found this book intriguing. I felt there was some repetition that maybe could have been left out, but their point was well made and well established. I feel there is truth in the idea that history is cyclical, not linear as we sometimes think it is. If you haven't read this book or heard about it, basically what the authors do is show how in the last 3,000 years of recorded European history the world has gone through patterns that have repeated. And unless we are so much more differen ...more
Laura
This book begins with a preface called "Winter Comes Again." I totally freaked out reading it because even though it was published in 1997, it was eerily accurate of today's circumstances. Nobody likes reading that we're heading into a cycle of "winter" where things will be tough for the next 20 years!

I really appreciated learning more about cycles in History. It was fascinating. I was impressed by how well the book was researched and documented. When I went to school, we were taught that histor
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Tara
At long last, I finished this book. If the start date is correct, it took me just over a year to get through. I find the concept fascinating, and I've been wanting to read this or their other book on generations for years. Initially, it was great to get a more in-depth understanding of the generational cycles and why they repeat the way they do. I started out reading it to my husband, but he lost interest about the time they started referring to the '60s as an "awakening era" akin to the 1830s. ...more
Keith
When I started this book I wasn’t sure if I’d ever finish it. It’s written like a college text book; you know, a lot of dry exposition supported with charts and graphs and list after list of dates and historical events. I also thought the charts were poorly laid out and confusing as hell but I stuck with it and I must say, I’m glad I did. The short hand synopsis is that the human perception of time has changed throughout history and that if we look at history through a lens of cyclical time and ...more
Doris
This book was a difficult read. It started off with psuedo-science which ignored any history which didn't meet the generalizations of the book's premise, which is simply that history repeats, and those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it. [I don't remember who I am quoting.]

This was interesting in that it looped several cultural groups into a massive overview of history, showing that many cultures see generations in groups of four, but it tends to ignore that many people on the
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David C. Mueller
This book from 1997 offers a prophesy for the next big crisis America would face in the early 21st century and how the various generations of
Americans now living would react to it. Some of the material in the book now appears pretty prophetic given the events of 9/11 and the invasion in 2003 of Iraq. In the eyes of the authors, these events are just the beginning of a crisis cycle that could last a decade or two and leave American fundamentally changed in how it sees itself and the world. Unlik
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Marcus
Dec 01, 2010 Marcus rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Marcus by: Aaron Campbell
Predicting the future has historically been a somewhat sketchy, if not occasionally lucrative, occupation. How are Strauss and Howe doing, casting their lots with Ray Kurzweil, Arthur C. Clarke, John the Revelator and Nostradamus? Commendably I'd say. The book was written in 1997 and here, 13 years later, it feels like they were fairly accurate with their cyclical approach to history and its implications for now and the near future.

The third turning, the one we're in now, and which is about to e
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Elvira Baryakina
Интересную теорию предлагают Neil Howe и William Strauss в своей книге The Fourth Turning:

Они считают, что существует четыре архетипа поколений, которые сменяют друг друга в определенном порядке на протяжении всей истории. Именно это и обеспечивает поступательное развитие человеческой цивилизации. Правда, все их примеры - из американской истории. Но все равно любопытно.

ГЕРОИ: Их детство приходится на относительно стабильные времена. Молодость -- на Кризис. У них хорошо развито чувство локтя, они
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Gigi
This is a book of study of the changes each generation of people factually go through by recalling historic events. It shows that the 4th turning is the generation of heros in our world. We begin with an event, such as WW II. The generation who fought in it tell their children about it, so that generation hears the difficulties, sees the aftermath of it in their relatives, etc. Then the generation who were told about the horrors & victories of WW II then tell their children, but it doesn't m ...more
Jay Winters
The basic idea that Strauss and Howe are trying to get across in this book is that history is cyclical. To prove that point, they set out to determine exactly what that cycle looks like. In the fourth turning, subtitled "An American Prophecy", they go about looking through history in order to arrive at a pattern that might help us to better understand the future - or at least put ourselves in a place ready for the future.

The cycle, as they see it, can generally be traced to 4 archetypal "genera
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Sara
In a word, fascinating. The entire premise is based on a cyclical, rather than linear, understanding of history, as displayed by four generational archetypes, and how history's events are greatly shaped by the stage of life each archetype inhabits during a certain time period. This is oversimplifying it, but an example would be analogous to saying that the GI generation was able and inspired to mobilize massive public works projects (interstate highway system) whereas my generation (X) would be ...more
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What will be the Fourth Turning Crisis? 5 41 Jan 15, 2012 02:15PM  
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