Written back in 1997, it is uncanny how their research on historical societies and nations is being used to predict how America and other nations will function in the next few years. You could make the case that much of their arguments are being played out, but one also has to be careful over analyzing what they see in current events.
So, what is the book about? The book essentially discusses four turnings that societies all go through on a regular basis through the course of a single human life, or up to 100 years. The book is lengthy and can be tedious, but the insight is remarkable. Below are the four turnings they discuss. It is suggested that we as a nation are currently in the fourth.
- The First Turning is a High, an upbeat era of strengthening institutions and weakening individualism, when a new civic order implants and the old values regime decays.
- The Second Turning is an Awakening, a passionate era of spiritual upheaval, when the civic order comes under attack from a new values regime.
- The Third Turning is an Unraveling, a downcast era of strengthening individualism and weakening institutions, when the old civic order decays and the new values regime implants.
- The Fourth Turning is a Crisis, a decisive era of secular upheaval, when the values regime propels the replacement of the old civic order with a new one.