On Homecoming and Belonging

Book - 2016
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Based on a Vanity Fair article from June 2015, Tribe is a look at post-traumatic stress disorder and the challenges veterans face 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--and 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 thirty to fifty 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.
Publisher: New York : Twelve, 2016
ISBN: 9781455566389
Branch Call Number: 616.8521 JUNGE
Characteristics: 168 pages


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ArapahoeMarcia Oct 30, 2019

An interesting discussion about the role modern society has on soldiers returning from duty overseas. A well researched account about the state of real community here in the US. A thought-provoking read.

Feb 11, 2019

J unger r does an excellent job of articulating the role belonging has on self identity. Helps to explain the sense of belonging and purpose for military members during deployment.

Feb 05, 2019

Fantastic read. I could not put it down. A book about why we connect and what we have lost today.

Gina_Vee Dec 09, 2018

This was a very interesting book. Junger has a unique take on tribes and tribal behavior as it pertains to society as a whole and individuals. His discussion on PTSD was also extremely informative.

Jun 30, 2018

The title says it all. This lovely, rather small book is about belonging (and not belonging) to a group, whether it is a tribe, nation, country or the human race. Why is it that so many returning soldiers find it hard, if not impossible, to re-integrate into society? Why do they miss the war in which they fought? Junger provides some possible answers in this book, some of which are astounding; others plain common sense. Everyone should read this book. It desperately needs an index.

JCLCassandraG Dec 14, 2017

There were a lot of things I didn't like about this book, but it prompted what was probably our best book group discussion of the year. The author's refusal to cite sources internally leaves the reader constantly questioning where his data is from so they can fact-check or do their own research and as an avid non-fiction reader, I found this extremely frustrating! Each page of this tiny book is bursting with ideas and most chapters seem like they could have been fleshed out into books of their own. While I didn't agree with a lot of what the author had to say, Tribe certainly did make me think about society and I highly recommend this for any book groups looking for a short and easy non-fiction read!

JCLChrisK Nov 20, 2017

"During disasters there is a net gain in well-being."

Absolutely fascinating.

A brief, deeply researched book that expands on an article Junger wrote, it examines the evidence that people seem to feel more meaning and contentment during times of catastrophe and war than during ordinary times. Junger's contention is that this is so because it's in these moments people feel most connected to each other. The barriers and classifications that keep us apart in standard society are gone, and we become freer to identify with each other and work together with common purpose, which makes us happier. Whether we know it or not, people want tribes to belong to. Junger makes his case clearly and strongly--though leaves room for a companion volume exploring the implications of the conclusion and what we should do with the information.

It has me thinking.

Nov 15, 2017

TRIBE is a short, but powerful book in which author Sebastian Junger postulates that the intrinsic qualities of loyalty, belonging, and self-worth/purpose which characterized early American Indian cultures are largely absent in modern society with its emphasis on appearance, wealth, and status. As a result of this loss of “community”, Junger contends that today’s world is ill-prepared to deal with issues like mental illness, returning veterans, and PTSD, and only in times of catastrophe (either natural or man-made) do people “come together” to face the threat, but that’s only temporary. TRIBE doesn’t present in-depth analysis but I found it thought-provoking, and so socially and politically relevant, it's worthy of further discussion. Very glad I read it and wish our leaders in Washington would read it too.

Oct 23, 2017

On 2017 reading ballot

May 04, 2017

Interesting opinion about the need for people to protect and reconnect with each other at a time of crisis.

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Nov 15, 2017

“The beauty and tragedy of the modern world is that it eliminates many situations that require people to demonstrate a commitment to the collective good.” - p. 59


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