Book Review: The Fourth Turning Is Here


What Is the Fourth Turning?

The Fourth Turning is a theory put forth by authors William Strauss and Neil Howe in their book of the same name. It suggests that history follows a cycle of four turnings, each lasting approximately 20-25 years. These turnings are characterized by distinct social, political, and economic dynamics.

According to Strauss and Howe, the first turning is a High, marked by societal optimism and institutional stability. The second turning is an Awakening, characterized by rebellion against established norms and values. The third turning is an Unraveling, where institutions become weak or ineffective. And finally, the fourth turning is a Crisis, where society faces significant challenges requiring collective action.

This theory proposes that we are currently in the midst of the fourth turning in America. This means we can expect to see increased social unrest, political polarization, and economic upheaval as we navigate through this crisis period.

Understanding the concept of the Fourth Turning can help us make sense of current events and anticipate future trends. By recognizing these patterns throughout history, we can better prepare ourselves for what may lie ahead.

A History of the Four Turnings

In the grand tapestry of human history, there have been countless moments that shape the course of nations and define entire generations. One such framework for understanding these pivotal moments is called “The Four Turnings.” This concept, popularized by authors William Strauss and Neil Howe in their book “The Fourth Turning,” offers a fascinating lens through which to view historical patterns.

The idea behind The Four Turnings is that society goes through predictable cycles, each lasting about 20-25 years. These turnings are characterized by distinct attitudes, values, and behaviors that are shared by individuals who came of age during those times. Just as the seasons change, so too do these societal moods.

According to Strauss and Howe, the four turnings can be classified as follows: First comes the High (a period of strong institutions and collective optimism), followed by an Awakening (when social conformity gives way to individualism). Next up is the Unraveling (a time marked by cynicism and skepticism towards traditional institutions), culminating in a Crisis (a tumultuous phase where old systems collapse and new ones emerge).

Looking back at history with this framework in mind reveals intriguing parallels. For example, think about America’s founding generation – they experienced their own version of The Four Turnings. They lived through a High during the Revolutionary War when patriotism was at its peak. Then came an Awakening with philosophical debates on liberty and individual rights. The Unraveling occurred during political infighting between Federalists and Anti-Federalists leading up to the Civil War crisis.

Fast forward to more recent times – we find ourselves now in what Strauss and Howe refer to as The Fourth Turning: a time of societal upheaval where old ways no longer work but new solutions have yet to fully take hold. It’s a period marked by uncertainty but also potential for profound transformation.

Understanding The Fourth Turning helps us make sense of current events like political polarization, economic instability, and social unrest. It reminds us that these are not isolated incidents but

The Fourth Turning in America

In the United States, the concept of the Fourth Turning has gained significant attention and relevance. This theory suggests that every 80 to 100 years, our nation goes through a cycle of four turnings or seasons: High, Awakening, Unraveling, and Crisis.

During the High turning, society is characterized by unity and strong institutions. The Awakening turning follows as individuals begin to question and challenge existing norms. Then comes the Unraveling turning where societal bonds start to weaken and trust erodes.

We arrive at the Crisis turning – a period marked by intense turmoil and upheaval. It is during this season that old systems collapse under their own weight, allowing for new ideas to take hold.

Looking back at American history through this lens reveals fascinating patterns. The Revolutionary War era was a Crisis turning which birthed a new nation. The Civil War era represented another Crisis with profound social change.

Today’s America finds itself on the brink of yet another Crisis turning. Economic inequality, political polarization, climate change – all these issues are converging towards an inevitable reckoning.

As we navigate this tumultuous time in our history, it’s essential to understand the implications of living in a Fourth Turning. It requires resilience and adaptability from individuals and communities alike.

We must be prepared for sweeping changes that will shape our future for better or worse. By recognizing historical patterns and embracing collective responsibility, we can actively participate in shaping what comes next.

The Fourth Turning challenges us to confront difficult truths about ourselves as a society while also offering hope for renewal on the other side of crisis. Only by facing these challenges head-on can we lay foundations for a more just and sustainable future.

The Impact of the Fourth Turning

As we enter into the fourth turning, it’s crucial to understand the profound impact it will have on our society. This cyclical pattern, identified by authors William Strauss and Neil Howe in their book “The Fourth Turning”, suggests that every 80 to 100 years, a major crisis occurs that reshapes the world as we know it.

During this phase, societal institutions undergo significant transformations. The fourth turning is characterized by intense social upheaval and a breakdown of established norms and systems. It is a time of great uncertainty but also holds immense potential for change.

In the past, fourth turnings have seen some of history’s most pivotal events unfold. From the American Revolution to World War II, these periods have shaped nations and altered the course of human history. The challenges faced during this time often bring out both humanity’s darkest tendencies and its greatest capacity for resilience.

With advancements in technology and global interconnectedness, today’s fourth turning has even greater implications than those before it. We are witnessing rapid shifts in economic power structures, political ideologies clashing on a global scale, and environmental crises demanding urgent action.

The impact of this turning will be felt across all aspects of life – from politics to economics to culture. Institutions may crumble or be reinvented entirely as new paradigms emerge. It is a time when individuals must adapt quickly to navigate an increasingly unpredictable landscape.

While daunting, this period also presents opportunities for positive change. As old systems erode under pressure, innovative solutions can arise from unexpected places. Collaborative efforts may lead us towards sustainable practices and inclusive societies.

Navigating through such turbulent times requires foresight and resilience at both individual and collective levels. By understanding the patterns that shape our world during these turnings, we can better prepare ourselves for what lies ahead.

In conclusion,
the impact of the fourth turning cannot be underestimated or ignored.
It demands our attention
and challenges us to confront the uncertainties of our time.
By recognizing the potential for transformation

Preparing for the Fourth Turning

As we brace ourselves for the arrival of the Fourth Turning, it becomes imperative to think about how we can navigate through this tumultuous period. The Fourth Turning is not something that can be avoided or ignored – it is a natural and inevitable cycle in history. So, what steps can we take to prepare ourselves?

It is essential to educate ourselves about past turnings and understand the patterns that have emerged throughout history. By studying these cycles and their corresponding events, we can gain insight into what may lie ahead.

Building strong communities will be crucial during this time. The Fourth Turning often brings with it societal upheaval and uncertainty. By fostering connections within our neighborhoods and supporting one another, we create a network of resilience that will help us weather any storm.

Next, maintaining an open mind and adaptability will be key attributes in navigating through this turning. As circumstances change rapidly, being flexible in our thinking allows us to adjust our approach as needed.

Furthermore, preparing financially for potential economic challenges is wise during this period of upheaval. Saving money, reducing debt burdens, and diversifying investments can provide a safety net when facing uncertain times.

Taking care of our physical and mental well-being should not be overlooked. Engaging in self-care practices such as exercise, meditation or therapy can help build inner strength and resilience necessary to face whatever comes our way.

In conclusion,
While we cannot predict exactly what lies ahead during the Fourth Turning,
we must recognize its presence
and actively prepare ourselves
to meet its challenges head-on.
By educating ourselves,
building strong communities,
being adaptable,
financially prepared,
and prioritizing self-care,
we position ourselves
to weather even the most turbulent periods.
Let us embrace change rather than fear it
as we navigate through this turning together


As we navigate through the uncertainties of our current times, it becomes clear that The Fourth Turning is not just a theory but a reality unfolding before our eyes. This groundbreaking book by William Strauss and Neil Howe provides us with a unique perspective on historical cycles and their impact on society.

By understanding the patterns of these four turnings – the High, Awakening, Unraveling, and Crisis – we can better comprehend the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. We are currently in the midst of a Crisis turning, characterized by intense conflicts and societal upheaval.

The Fourth Turning serves as an important reminder that history repeats itself. It highlights how previous generations have faced similar trials and tribulations during past crises. By learning from their experiences, we can equip ourselves to effectively navigate this tumultuous period.

In this era of rapid change and uncertainty, it is crucial for individuals and communities to come together to build resilience and prepare for what lies ahead. The Fourth Turning pushes us to question existing systems while encouraging us to work towards positive transformation.

Whether you agree or disagree with its predictions or analysis, The Fourth Turning sparks critical conversations about our collective future. It prompts us to reflect on how we can shape our destiny amidst shifting tides.

So let us delve into this thought-provoking book with an open mind as we strive to understand the complexities of our present world while preparing for what lies beyond The Fourth Turning.


On Key

Related Posts