Book Review – The Fourth Turning

The Fourth Turning: What the Cycles of History Tell Us about America’s Next Rendezvous with Destiny

by William StraussNeil Howe

So for week one, I cheated a little as Id been reading this book since November but I make no apologies for that. Its a book with its own website ( and is one I found out about whilst watching a YouTube video ( featuring Raoul Pal and Robert Breedlove. Its a powerful video on its own and one which I recommend you watch but as to the book, it did not fail to impress although not as much as I’d hoped it would.

The premise of the book is that the human race, demographically and socially exists to a meta level cyclical beat and that the beat, which repeats itself every 80-100 years and is known as a saeculum among other things, contains four generations of the human lifecycle. Indeed, it carries THE four generations of the human lifecycle, pueritia, iuventus, virilitas and senectus.

The book presents a fascinating description of the history of humanity going back to late medieval times against this context and does so quite persuasively. In doing so it categorises the generations of human society within a saeculum as four stereotypes namely prophet, nomad, hero and artist. It also defines the four parts of a saeculum as societal high, awakening, unravelling and crisis.

There is much about this book that is speculative, indeed at times it felt a bit like reading a horoscope but the underlying premise is fascinating and has merit. Whilst the speculation seemed to detract from the book somewhat and it could probably have been written in 60% of the word count, I’d recommend it as a 3.5 out of 5.


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.