Fourth Turning Book Cover

April 2020 Book of the Month: The Fourth Turning by Strauss and Howe

Book of The Month

“History is seasonal, and winter is coming. Like nature’s winter, the saecular winter can come early or late. A Fourth Turning can be long and difficult, brief but severe, or (perhaps) mild. But, like winter it cannot be averted. It must come in its turn.” – William Stauss and Neil Howe[1]

The April book of the month is the first non-Austrian Economic book that has been recommended by Econ Circus, and with good reason: The Fourth Turning is one of the most relevant books of our generation! It is one of the few books that really does cater to everyone and a definite “must read,” given the current landscape of society.

Through the lens of the “Stauss-Howe Generational theory,” the authors show the cyclical nature of each American generation, noting the reoccurrence of traits, behaviours and the various challenged of their time. They noted several hundred years of generational “cycles” and are often credited with coining the term “millennial” and have contributed countless ideas to this field of research. The book is easy to read and requires no leap of faith or belief in the absurd.

It reads first as a history book where one can envision their great grandparents, grandparents, parents and self, the challenges of their times and values of the day. When reading it you will be able to conceptualized the various generations such as: Lost, G.I. Silent, Baby Boomer, Generation X and Millennial, along with their respective “generation archetype,” being the Prophet (Idealistic), Nomad (Reactive), Hero (Civic) and Artist (Adaptive). Reading the book, you will likely agree with classification and historical context that the authors use. By the time I finished the book, I had a greater understanding of world history and the various obstacles that my family members went through in their lives.

The second part of the book contains various predications that are too incredible to ignored; written in 1997 the book summarizes the Fourth Turning from the very start:

Around the year 2005, a sudden spark will catalyze a Crisis mood. Remnants of the old social will disintegrate. Political and economic trust will implode. Real hardship will beset the land, with severe distress that could involve questions of class, race, nation, and empire. Yet this time of trouble will bring seeds of social rebirth. Americans will share a regret about recent mistakes- and a resolute new consensus about what to do. The very survival of the nation will feel at stake. Sometimes before the year 2025, America will pass through a great gate in history, commensurate with the American Revolution, Civil War, and twin emergencies of the Great Depression and World War II.[2]

In hindsight it looks like the crisis started in 2007 during the financial crisis and will finish sometime within this decade. Per the authors, “if the Crisis catalyst comes on schedule, around the year 2005, then the climax will be due around 2020, the resolution around 2026.”[3] I read this book many years ago and use it as a guide to understanding the challenge ahead. It very much fueled my desire to start a website in order to help society as a “Millennial Hero.”

What will “the Crisis” be? I always thought it would be a financial crisis, but it could have many different elements in it. It could be the crash of the US Dollar, hyperinflation in the West, but it could also be the growth of government, the trampling of our liberties, a threat of singularity or natural disaster. A civil war in America or a war against the government, I hope that whatever it is, when it gets resolved, that it will result in the end to the Federal Reserve.

There is not much to say about this book except how important it is to read and that you will be glad that you did. “The Fourth Turning is history’s great discontinuity. It ends one epoch and begins another,”[4] and in the words of the authors: Winter is Coming!


[1] William Strauss and Neil Howe, The Fourth An American Prophecy, (New York, Broadway Books, 1997), 6.

[2] Ibid, 6.

[3] Ibid 299.

[4] Ibid. 6.

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