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.
"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)
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Vincens on 24-09-18
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.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Felipe M. on 06-05-18
Gooe historical background and personalexperience
Easy light read. Author poses the problem and highligts points with relevant personal experience. Good theoretical background.
By Kurt on 05-02-18
Loved the great personal and historical stories of solidarity and tribalism.
The only very slight criticism would maybe be the structure. Everything melted together a bit.