Are we living in one of the craziest times in American history? Or is this just a predictable point in the cycle of time? In their seminal study published in 1991, William Strauss and Neil Howe describe the “history of America’s future, 1584 to 2069.” They show a succession of four generational biographies that repeat sequentially in a fixed pattern.
The vision of the book allows us to plot a recurring cycle in American history — a cycle of spiritual awakenings and secular crises — from the founding colonials through the present day and on into the new millenium. They highlight a four-type cycle, from Idealist to Reactive to Civic to Adaptive, and show how this cycle has repeated itself with few exceptions throughout American history.
For example, in 1991 they wrote that “the climactic event may not arrive exactly in 2020, but it won’t arrive much sooner or later.” Using a couple of different measurements, they predicted that “the early 2020s appear fateful.” On a more positive note, they also show that the cycle rotates into a more positive era as a crisis passes.
Note: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.