– Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging –
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.
About the Author: Sebastian Junger
Junger began working as a freelance writer, often trying to publish articles on topics that interested him. He often took other jobs for temporary periods of time to support himself. Researching dangerous occupations as a topic, he became deeply engaged in learning about commercial fishing and its hazards.
In 1997, with the success of his non-fiction book, The Perfect Storm, Junger was touted as a new Hemingway. His work stimulated renewed interest in adventure non-fiction. The book received a large pre-publication deal for movie rights, was on the New York Times bestseller list for a year in the hardback edition, and for two years in paperback.
In 2000 Junger published an article “The Forensics of War,” in Vanity Fair. He received a National Magazine Award for this. He continues to work there as a contributing editor. In early 2007 he reported from Nigeria on the subject of blood oil. With the British photographer Tim Hetherington, Junger created The Other War: Afghanistan, produced with ABC News and Vanity Fair.
It was shown on Nightline in September 2008 and the two men shared the DuPont-Columbia Award for broadcast journalism for the work. His book War (2010) revolves around a platoon of the US Army 173rd Airborne stationed in Afghanistan.
Junger, along with Hetherington, used material gathered in the Korengal Valley of Afghanistan for the book and to create a related documentary feature Restrepo. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature and won the Grand Jury Prize for a domestic documentary at the Sundance Film Festival in 2010.
On April 27, 2011, Junger was presented with the “Leadership in Entertainment Award” by Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) for his work on Restrepo.
Junger’s most recent book, Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging, was published in May 2016.
Quotes of Sebastian Junger
- – “Humans don’t mind hardship, in fact they thrive on it; what they mind is not feeling necessary. Modern society has perfected the art of making people not feel necessary. It’s time for that to end.”
- – “Human beings need three basic things in order to be content: they need to feel competent at what they do; they need to feel authentic in their lives; and they need to feel connected to others. These values are considered “intrinsic” to human happiness and far outweigh “extrinsic” values such as beauty, money and status.”
- – “The Army might screw you and your girlfriend might dump you and the enemy might kill you, but the shared commitment to safeguard one another’s lives is unnegotiable and only deepens with time. The willingness to die for another person is a form of love that even religions fail to inspire, and the experience of it changes a person profoundly.”