The Fourth Turning:
An American Prophecy—What the Cycles of History Tell Us About America’s Next Rendezvous with Destiny

Release Date:
Dec. 1997
Page Count:

About This Publication

Looking back to the dawn of the modern world, The Fourth Turning reveals a distinct pattern in human history, cycles lasting about the length of a long human life. Each cycle is composed of four “turnings,” and each turning lasts the span of a generation (about 20 years). There are four kinds of turnings (High, Awakening, Unraveling, Crisis), and they always occur in the same order.

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Praise for this Book

“The outcome of the crisis will depend on how we respond to their warning.”
— William A. Niskanen, Chairman, CATO Institute

“Even if the traditionalists among us do not fully accept the authors’ bold hypothesis, we will never be able to think about history in the same way.”
— Dan Yankelovich, Chair of D.Y.G. Inc.

The Fourth Turning is a gripping, well-written account that explains a lot. It offers a much wider context for interpreting current events that one gets from the usual political or academic commentary.”
— Prof. Lawrence Mead, New York University

“Stimulating, provocative, and culturally aware. Strauss and Howe’s The Fourth Turning will inspire true believers in search of a new new age to believe in.”
— Anthony Esler, professor of history, New York University

The Fourth Turning is an ambitious, hotly topical book, drenched in the mysteries of eternal return…. There is a good feel here for how American history has been shaped by generational character. If you ever wondered how you get from Dwight Eisenhower to Bill Clinton, this book will clarify things.”
— American Way Magazine

“With Generations, Strauss and Howe put forward a fresh, compelling new way of understanding the nation’s past and present. Now, in The Fourth Turning, they apply their approach to the future— giving us some idea of where we are in the flow of history, and what we might do about it.”
— Morton Keller, professor of history, Brandeis University

“This prophecy is more than just a moving vision of America. It is a very personal, thought-provoking review that draws on the past to define the challenges for which today’s citizens of all generations must begin to prepare.”
— The late Paul Tsongas, former Senator and Concord Coalition co-chair

The Fourth Turning brilliantly explains the forces of history that are pushing America toward another rendezvous with destiny. This book will show older Americans why they should care about our future and younger Americans why they should care about our past.”
— Peter G. Peterson, Chairman, the Blackstone Group

“Alas, in our age of professional specialization, one must look outside the academy for works of true originality and breadth. One such work is the The Fourth Turning by William Strauss and Neil Howe…. If they are right, they will take their place among the great American prophets.”
— The Boston Globe

“A must read… Strauss and Howe use an amazing knowledge of popular culture to remain entertaining throughout, despite the heavy subject matter, and produce a metahistory to ponder as we approach the new millennium.”
— Kirkus Reviews

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