Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging

Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging

by Sebastian Junger


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We have a strong instinct to belong to small groups defined by clear purpose and understanding—"tribes." This tribal connection has been largely lost in modern society, but regaining it may be the key to our psychological survival.

Decades before the American Revolution, Benjamin Franklin lamented that English settlers were constantly fleeing over to the Indians-but Indians almost never did the same. Tribal society has been exerting an almost gravitational pull on Westerners for hundreds of years, and the reason lies deep in our evolutionary past as a communal species. The most recent example of that attraction is combat veterans who come home to find themselves missing the incredibly intimate bonds of platoon life. The loss of closeness that comes at the end of deployment may explain the high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder suffered by military veterans today.

Combining history, psychology, and anthropology, TRIBE explores what we can learn from tribal societies about loyalty, belonging, and the eternal human quest for meaning. It explains the irony that-for many veterans as well as civilians-war feels better than peace, adversity can turn out to be a blessing, and disasters are sometimes remembered more fondly than weddings or tropical vacations. TRIBE explains why we are stronger when we come together, and how that can be achieved even in today's divided world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781455566389
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 05/24/2016
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 9,859
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 7.75(h) x 0.75(d)

About the Author

Sebastian Junger is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Tribe, War, The Perfect Storm, Fire, and A Death in Belmont. Together with Tim Hetherington, he directed the Academy Award-nominated film Restrepo, which won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. He is a contributing editor to Vanity Fair and has been awarded a National Magazine Award and an SAIS Novartis Prize for journalism. He lives in New York City.


New York, New York

Date of Birth:

January 17, 1962

Place of Birth:

Boston, Massachusetts


B.A. in Anthropology, Wesleyan University, 1984

Table of Contents

Author's Note ix

Introduction xiii

The Men and the Dogs 1

War Makes You an Animal 35

In Bitter Safety I Awake 71

Calling Home from Mars 104

Postscript 135

Acknowledgments 137

Source Notes 139

About the Author 169

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Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Junger poses some great questions and theories about various topics related not only issues veterans face upon returning from war, but also warns of what will come if we don't start banding together. You only have to turn on the tv to see that our political system is now a joke and the fend for yourself mentality has taken over. I really enjoyed this book, but wish the journey was longer. Being a veteran myself I may have set the bar too high.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Thought provoking and enlightening.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book very much. Mr. Junger put words to many of the thoughts and feelings I’ve contemplated but rarely voiced. A timely read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An important book. Unger focuses on the differences in military culture from civilian culture in the USA. This is a difference that anyone who has actually served will easily recognize. Unger concludes that the 'community', present in military organizations, good as well as bad, is missing from civilian culture and might be responsible for people's inability to deal with various problems of life such as PTSD, death, and social obligations such as the ability to help neighbors. Worth a read and a lot of reflection on Unger's observations..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not quite the focus of reintrgrating soldiers in to regular life...but some interesting concepts to consider.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
makes some good points but doesn't understand the evolutionary world of new world consciousnes. Most people are focils of yesturdays needs and life out their unforgiving lives needing to justify their failure. Going any place and comming home is difficult but to reenter is inpossible. The person must creat a new being. Our culture or maybe every culture wants confomity not creativity andd so the returning trauma victime no longer fits but is not wanted in the new form.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
To thewanderingjew, your review was excellent. I appreciate that you took the time to submit it. I expected something completely different from this book, and I'm so glad that I read the reviews here first. The review I read elsewhere led me to believe that I would find a challenging discourse on veterans, PTSD, and the American response to them. I wish that had, in fact, been the case. Thanks for saving me the time and money.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read this book
thewanderingjew More than 1 year ago
I must admit that I thought this book was going to be about our men and women in the armed forces who have suffered from PTSD, and about other causes of that particular disability that has inhibited the normal function of so many with this affliction, and yet there is no adequate explanation, diagnosis or treatment. I hoped to learn about how they could be helped. Instead of that, I found a book that talked more about their, and our, basic inability to fit into a communal type society in which we all had a job and a purpose in a productive lifestyle. The theory sounds eerily like a treatise on Socialism. The author decried our way of life as negatively impacting the environment and our relationships and interactions with others because we have created a society of people who consistently take more than their fair share and give less than he deems necessary to create a more egalitarian society for all. He minimized the trauma that is PTSD and glorified the trauma, tragedies and catastrophes that brought it on, by insisting it was a short term "illness". In early societies, he insists that extreme trauma and tragedy actually caused euphoria since it engendered the community to come together in selfless ways, rather than selfish ways which is what we are experiencing in the modern world. Essentially, he blamed modernity for acknowledging the problem that it inherently caused because of our own behavior. When the book begins, Junger discusses the American Indian, but first he issued a disclaimer concerning his lack of footnotes and then discussed his controversial use of certain terms, one of which is American Indian vs. Native American. Then he sang their praises while basically trashing what he believes is our own selfish way of life. We, the author notes, have lost our sense of community, of sharing, of belonging. This, he eventually concludes, citing chapter and verse of instances I have never heard of, that it is our isolation and greed that are some of the reasons for our mental health issues. We have forgotten how to share. We have forgotten how to care. He judges and makes moral equivalents that make no sense simply because he wants to, in order to prove his point, often comparing apples to oranges, and then claiming his examples prove his point without adequately referencing his conclusions. It seemed as if he decided what he wanted to prove and simply chose only examples that supported his viewpoint. He used Beau Bergdahl as an example of our habit of rushing into making conclusions and often drawing false conclusions. He admitted he was a deserter who left his post and caused the deaths of his fellow soldiers, who went to search for him, but he thought it was wrong to judge him more harshly than those who caused the collapse of the financial market which he blamed on banks and other institutions. He believes the consequences from the economic debacle led to far greater casualties. He failed to note the fact that the government regulations were deeply at fault, and if bankers should be punished, so should those in the government, like Democrat Barney Frank, who insisted on regulations which encouraged the sub-prime mortgages that were the underlying cause of the failures. Junger’s progressive agenda becomes more and more apparent as he writes. His political views and ideology guide him rather than the facts, and his political leanings were obvious from word one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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