Form and Content

(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

The works of sociologist Alvin Toffler have been read and cited by sources as widely divergent as Richard Nixon and Mikhail Gorbachev. Appearing in 1970, Future Shock was a profoundly influential book dealing with the social neuroses created by the technological advances that characterized the mid-twentieth century. Adopting what Toffler called a “sociology of the future,” this book introduced the concept of futurism into popular culture, asserting that these advances were having such a broad and perhaps threatening effect on humanity that a new value system must be developed in order to deal with the daunting phenomenon of continuous and radical change. The Third Wave, written some ten years later, is a more seasoned, optimistic sequel to its somewhat disquieting precursor. Although it does not abandon the assumption that technology is changing the way people live and work more rapidly and profoundly than most realize, The Third Wave confidently asserts that humanity can retain control over its future if society realizes that humankind currently stands at the dawn of a new historical epoch of similar proportions to the agricultural and industrial revolutions (what Toffler dubs the first and second “waves”) that have traditionally defined the development of human civilization. Considered, as it should be, as a companion to Future Shock, The Third Wave confidently attempts to reclaim humanity’s future, offering a...

(The entire section is 555 words.)