Tribe by Sebastian Junger


Tribe by Sebastian Junger

Now a New York Times bestseller
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.

From Publishers Weekly

Mar 21, 2016 – In this small but perfectly lucid book, National Magazine Award winning journalist Junger (War) meditates on tribal sentiment, how it aids "loyalty and belonging and the eternal human quest for meaning," and how the disappearance of this sentiment has had toxic consequences for modern societies. During the U.S.'s wars of settlement with its native population, many white men defected to, and many white captives were reluctant to return from, what Junger describes as a Stone Age lifestyle; he wonders why, and suspects that the material benefits of Western culture couldn't compete with "the intensely communal nature of an Indian tribe," which was "more or less run by consensus and broadly egalitarian." In the present day, the close interdependence of a tribal lifestyle and its shared resources are things Westerners only experience in combat situations and disasters. For all the comfort of modern society, Junger thinks, its "profound alienation" has led in America to income inequality, behaviors destructive to the environment, high rates of suicide and mental illness (including PTSD), and rampage shootings. Ending with a look at the country's divisive political rhetoric, Junger suggests that the U.S. could cure its ills if we could only focus on the collective good.

Customer Reviews

A long article.

It was a VERY easy read. Seemed much like a long magazine article which the author stated he sourced from.
About halfway thru, Junger's left leaning ideology simmers through. It isn't too heavy and was more a point of surprise than an intrusion. When he lays the total cost of things on a popular left view whipping boy instead of truly going all the way to the core & true source of the problem, the seminal event that set up the whole stage for the resultant failure, it left me to wonder if it were a lack of research work, a blind eye turned to the truth, or simply toeing the opinion line he prefers.


Great insights into ancient wisdom in modern clothing. Needs to be read by all who are responsible for the well being of others - politicians, community leaders, business people, parents. The future quality of our human race in a globalized, capitalistic world depends upon it.

Quick read

Great book and very quick to read. Like others have said, the author wrote this much like an article you would find in a magazine (actually, the author mentions that parts of this book have been published in magazines). The author did a great job explaining how the sense of community (tribe) directly correlates to the success of a society. I don't believe the author was as politically charged as others claim in other reviews. I highly recommend this book.

Tribe by Sebastian Junger
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, Android, Win, *Nix, and more.
  • Category: Social Science
  • Published: May 24, 2016
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Seller: Hachette Digital, Inc.
  • Print Length: 160 Pages
  • Language: English

Customer Ratings

111 Ratings