Zygmunt Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust (Ithaca: Cornell University Press 1989). Bauman asks whether the Holocaust was an aberration or a normal product of civilization.

Patrick Brantlinger, Bread and Circuses (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1983). Brantlinger examines the meme of "bread and circuses" through the ages and the contemporary idea that our society is in a state of decay similar to ancient Rome.

J.B. Bury, The Idea of Progress (New York: Dover 1932). Bury tracks the meme of "progress", the idea that things are improving and will continue to do so into a shining future.

Sigmund Freud, Beyond the Pleasure Principle (New York: Norton, 1961) tr. by James Strachey. In this short work, Freud elucidated the idea of the "death wish", the self-destructive instinct in humans.

Robert Heilbroner, Visions of the Future (New York: Oxford University Press 1995). Heilbroner contrasts the way humans viewed the future in the distant past, yesterday and today.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, In Evil Hour (New York: Avon, 1979) tr. by Gregory Rabasso. In this lesser known short work, Marquez portrays a town dominated by corruption and violence, where significant forces are at work even in the souls of the evil men to achieve quiet and peace--but inevitably it can't be done.

Conor Cruise O'Brien, On the Eve of the Millenium (New York: The Free Press, 1994). The Irish statesman's musings on the future of democracy and the danger of fundamentalism.

Kirkpatrick Sale, Rebels Against the Future (Reading, Ma: Addison-Wesley, 1995) This is an entertaining yet serious history of the machine-smashing Luddites and their implications for today's uses of technology.

Joseph A. Tainter, The Collapse of Complex Societies (New York: Cambridge University Press 1988). Tainter summarizes the major theories of the collapse of civilizations, from antiquity to the present, then sets forth his own.