The Third Wave Critical Essays

Alvin Toffler


(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

Although The Third Wave attempts to present a thorough, detailed historical synthesis and prescriptive forecast of near-future socioeconomic trends to a general audience, it can prove to be a difficult book for juvenile readers, as it assumes at least a cursory familiarity with the major technological forces that have characterized civilized history. It is a valuable book, however, for the young adult audience because it provides a candid but optimistic view of trends that will invariably affect occupational opportunities, economic philosophies, political dynamics, and lifestyle options in the coming decades. Since Toffler’s main premises revolve around the assumption that humanity now stands at the beginning of a distinctive period in history, many adolescent readers should find The Third Wave to have an immediacy and urgency not often found in the literature of technological change, as its message is neither as bleak nor as cerebral as most contemporary literature that addresses this subject.

Toffler’s style is most commonly characterized by his penchant for aphorisms and catchphrases, making him one of the most widely quoted social thinkers of the twentieth century. Yet, even Toffler’s pithiest generalizations are backed by sound erudition; thus, his ideas are compelling without eluding the grasp of the average reader. Toffler is responsible for a number of words and phrases that have carved distinctive niches in the popular...

(The entire section is 507 words.)