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The authors look back five hundred years and uncover a distinct pattern: Modern history moves in cycles, each one lasting about the length of a human life, each composed of four eras - or turnings - that last about twenty years and that always arrive in the same order. First comes a High, a period of confident expansion as a new order takes root after the old has been swept away. Next comes an Awakening, a time of spiritual exploration and rebellion against the w-established order. Then comes an Unravelling, an increasingly troubled era in which individualism triumphs over crumbling institutions. Last comes a Crisis - the Fourth Turning - when society passes through a great and perilous gate in history. Together, the four turnings comprise history's seasonal rhythm of growth, maturation, entropy, and rebirth. By applying the lessons of history, The Fourth Turning makes some bold and hopeful predictions about America's next rendezvous with destiny. It also shows us how we can prepare for what's ahead, both individually and as a nation.
William Strauss and Neil Howe, the authors of Generations: The History of America's Future and 13th-GEN, write and lecture frequently on generational issues. Strauss is the cofounder and director of the Capitol Steps, a political cabaret. Howe, a historian and economist, is a senior advisor for the Concord Coalition. They both live in the Washington, D.C., area.