Posted in Book Review

Book Review: Tribe by Sebastian Junger

Modern society has perfected the art of making people not feel necessary.  It’s time for that to change. ~Sebastian Junger

This quote above pretty much sums up the purpose of the book I am going to review.  Tribe (On Homecoming and Belonging) by Sebastian Junger is about how our society lives in an individualistic mindset which has caused many of the divides in America today.  Tribe compares the mindset of several American Indian tribes and their social infrastructure that is based on an egalitarian system.  The author also compares the mindset of soldiers who are in the midst of war and their mindset which reflects that of the America Indians and how this mindset makes it hard for Veterans who are back from the war trying to fit into the individualistic mindset of today’s current society.

tribe-by-sebastian-jungerI had never heard of this book until one of the Awesome Books & Broads Book Club friend came to me and showed me the book saying she thought of me when she saw the title because I always reference the Books & Broads Book Club Members as My Tribe, the ones who get me, warts and all, but still accept me into their fold.  I asked her if I could read the book and return it back to her at our next meeting and she agreed to let me borrow it, and man am I so glad!  As all of you know, Dear Bloggites, I come from a family of military that reaches back many generations, so I have a soft spot for Veterans and their plight of trying to fit in once their tour is over.

Sebastian Junger’s book, Tribe, talks about how the world has changed and evolved over the years and while technology and all the current information we have access to is good for the economy, it hurts the unified mindset that founded this country.  People used to live to help care for each other and worked to ensure all members of society are taken care of from the youngest to the oldest and all other walks of life in between.  But with the growing economy and knowledge, people’s views turn from the care of others to the care of themselves and so the separation begins thus causing a divide within the society we have worked so hard to create.

Tribe discusses the habits and mindset of the American Indians and the history of early America and how the mindset has changed and warped into the current “me” society we see.  Sebastian Junger discusses the mindset of the military soldiers that are fighting war first hand and how their mindset is much like the America Indians where the belief is everyone receives equal parts and everyone gives to the members by doing their fair share of the work to ensure all members return and none are lost.   Junger also touches on how Veterans have a hard time leaving war from the mindset of we are all equal parts in this world to return to society and it’s mindset of we are all individuals who only take care of ourselves and no one else.  This lack of feeling useful for the Veterans tend to cause any form of PTSD to feel worse because of their need to feel useful in a world that seems to have no use for them anymore.

I really enjoyed reading this book and it made me want to do my part in helping to integrate Veterans back into society by hearing their stories while at war and helping make them feel like they are needed still even though their tour is over.  Everyone wants to feel needed and when our need is not met, we flounder and feel less of a person than we would if we were providing a use to the world around us.  I am currently going through this with the loss of my Father, a Vietnam Vet, who just past a couple of months back.  I was by his side being useful every day practically 24-hours and at the end, 24-hours a day until he passed away.  Now I am floundering trying to find my way again because my life and world was put on hold, willingly and gratefully, to be there for my Dad and care for him.  This book touched my very core and I feel so much better after reading it because it gave me a call to action to do something to help fill the void of my life, a void that was left when my Dad passed on.

I give Tribe by Sebastian Junger 5 out of 5 Bookmarks.  Go read a copy, it will change your world for the better after you do! 🙂

~4-Ever, P