On Homecoming and Belonging
“Sebastian Junger has turned the multifaceted problem or returning veterans on its head. It’s not so much about what’s wrong with the veterans, but what’s wrong with us.
If we made the changes suggested in TRIBE, all of us would be happier and healthier.”
— Karl Marlantes, author of ‘Matterhorn’
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 gravitation pull on Westerners for hundreds of years and the reason lies deep in our evolutionary past.
The most recent example of that attraction is combat veterans who come home to find themselves missing the incredibly intimate bonds of military life, particularly that found in combat. The loss of closeness that comes at the end of deployment may help explain the high rate of post-traumatic stress disorder suffered by military veterans today.
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 some veterans, war feels better than peace, adversity can turn out to be a blessing. Tribe explains why we are stronger when we come together and how that can be achieved, even in today’s divided world.
From the Bookshelf” is a recurring series that will appear in this newsletter from time to time. This review was written by Mike Denton.