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Summary

From the author of The Perfect Storm and War comes a book about why men miss war, why Londoners missed the Blitz, and what we can all learn from American Indian captives who refused to go home.

Tribe is a look at post-traumatic stress disorder and the challenges veterans face in returning to society. Using his background in anthropology, Sebastian Junger argues that the problem lies not with vets or with the trauma they've suffered but with the society to which they are trying to return.

One of the most puzzling things about veterans who experience PTSD is that the majority never even saw combat - yet they feel deeply alienated and out of place back home. The reason may lie in our natural inclination, as a species, to live in groups of 30 to 50 people who are entirely reliant on one another for safety, comfort and a sense of meaning: in short, the life of a soldier.

It is one of the ironies of the modern age that as affluence rises in a society, so do rates of suicide, depression and, of course, PTSD. In a wealthy society, people don't need to cooperate with one another, so they often lead much lonelier lives that lead to psychological distress.

There is a way for modern society to reverse this trend, however, and studying how veterans react to coming home may provide a clue to how to do it. But it won't be easy.

©2016 Sebastian Junger (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"An incredible work of frontline journalism." ( Independent, Books of the Year)
"In his acute observations of soldiers both in battle and at rest, Junger paints a vivid and realistic portrait of the fighting in Afghanistan, often bitterly funny and desperately sad." (Patrick Hennessey, Literary Review)
"The bloodiest and most compelling book you are ever likely to read on the enduring carnage in Afghanistan." ( The Times)
"One of the best books about war you will ever read. Beautifully written in unshowy prose and thoughtful, honest and profound. A masterpiece of the genre." ( Mail on Sunday)
"An intense account.... Junger uses his documentary skills to ask his comrades tough questions about killing, dying, loyalty and friendship. The result is a book not just about war, but about the limits of courage and, yes, love under pressure." ( Guardian)
"Absorbing and original.... Junger has found a novel and interesting lens through which to view the conflict in Afghanistan, and he captures many things a lesser writer might miss." ( New York Times)
"It takes a very good book to carry off a title as portentous as War, and Sebastian Junger has written one.... An outstanding war report: a precise and gripping account of some of the fiercest battles involving American soldiers in recent times." ( The Economist)

What listeners say about Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging

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Very US and war centric

identified some good examples throughout but offered very few solutions. maybe more relevant to US readers where war and veterans are more prevalent in society but I struggled to relate as a European. offered very few solutions or ideas on steps we can take as a society to right our wrongs.

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Recommend

This audiobook was enjoyable, engaging and it carried some important knowledge for understanding why so many of us might be suffering mentally. Even though we are living in such ‘good’ times.

1 person found this helpful

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Political leanings muddy the story

The stories and the points that Sebastian put forwards are entertaining and insightful, unfortunately he extrapolates anecdotes in the direction of political ideology and on topics where he is not an expert.

1 person found this helpful

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Fantastic

Not long but not lacking content. If you've found your way to this book then you'll very likely love it as I have.

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lacking substance

relies on mostly anecdotal evidence, which I found disappointing. perhaps should have remained a magazine article

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One of those books everyone needs to read.

An exceptionally insightful book into human behavior that transcends all areas of life. Simply one of those books that every adult human being needs to read.

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a good listen

heard a lot about this book online, wasn't as breath taking as I was lead to belive. a great listen none the less.

you can take some anecdotes out of this book and apply it to your life.

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Worth it

Author makes a very compelling and good argument, makes you really think about society today.

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Excellently informative and poetic at points.

Highlights the value held by the rituals of indigineous cultures, explaining how they our applicable to our modern culture. Well worth a listen.

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Fascinating read

This insightful look into how we should live beautifully presented and difficult to put down.