The Fourth Turning: What the Cycles of History Tell Us About America's Next Rendezvous with Destiny (英語) ペーパーバック – 1997/12/29
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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 the cycles of history and locate America in the middle of an unraveling period, on the brink of a crisis. How you prepare for this crisis--the Fourth Turning--is intimately connected to the mood and attitude of your particular generation. Are you one of the can-do "GI generation," who triumphed in the last crisis? Do you belong to the mediating "Silent Majority," who enjoyed the 1950s High? Do you fall into the "awakened" Boomer category of the 1970s and 1980s, or are you a Gen-Xer struggling to adapt to our splintering world? Whatever your stage of life, The Fourth Turning offers bold predictions about how all of us can prepare, individually and collectively, for America's next rendezvous with destiny.
"I put down The Fourth Turning with a mixture of terror and excitement....If Strauss and Howe are right, they will take their place among the great American prophets."
--David Kaiser, Boston Globe
"One of the best efforts to give us an integrated vision of where we
--Wall Street Journal
"A startling vision of what the cycles of history predict for the future."
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In a nutshell, the book advances the view that history roughly repeats itself every 80 years. Further, every 80 year period is characterized by the arrival of Artists (silent generation in this cycle), Prophets (boomers), Nomads (Gen Xers) and Heroes (millennials). Previous incarnations of this cycle ended with the war of independence, the civil war and world war II. This naturally sets up the denouement for this cycle which the authors expect to occur in the 2025 time frame. Each cycle is divided into turnings: the present one is characterized by First (High: 1946-1964), Second (Awakening: 1964-1984), Third (Unraveling: 1984-2008) and Fourth (Crisis: 2008-202X). From the book's perspective and Neil Howe's subsequent blog posts, we entered the Fourth Turning in 2008. There's nothing spooky or mystical about these cycles and turnings: instead the authors stress that human nature and culture seem to have these rhythms and that Anglo-American history is stable enough to be characterized in this manner. Other cultures may either be too stable or too chaotic to follow this type of pattern.
Prior to the arrival of Donald Trump and despite the eerie portend of the financial crisis, I would have dismissed this book. Now, it looks positively prophetic. Is there any doubt now that the combination of (i) income inequality, (ii) the economic problems of the white working class, (iii) the culture wars, (iv) multiculturalism and globalism, (v) the ravages of identity politics and postmodernism and (vi) terrorism is not going to be a combustible mix over the next decade? And that these will simultaneously distract us from combating global warming - the clear threat of the next era? While I find it hard to buy into the notion that the US will face an existential crisis (as predicted by the book), there's definitely merit in the view that the next ten years will probably have the capability of shocking us however jaded we may be at the present time.
Most of the reviews here talk in great detail about what this book covers.
What I can say is it has completely changed the lens through which I am viewing current events. I only wish I had read this amazing work 10 years ago. I can safely say it would have altered decisions I have made.
I will say that the first part of the book can get a bit monotonous as the various periods of history are explored. However, I will tell you it is worth it to pay attention and to persevere. The last 30-40% of this book will have you on the edge of your chair as you realize the authors, for the most part, saw in 1997 what is happening today. The accuracy of the predictions of life in our time is amazing.
Read this, take lots of notes, and recommend it to a friend. It is one of the essential reads of our time.
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