Sebastian Junger, the bestselling author of War and The Perfect Storm, takes a critical look at post-traumatic stress disorder and the many challenges today’s returning veterans face in modern society.

There are ancient tribal human behaviors-loyalty, inter-reliance, cooperation-that flare up in communities during times of turmoil and suffering. These are the very same behaviors that typify good soldiering and foster a sense of belonging among troops, whether they’re fighting on the front lines or engaged in non-combat activities away from the action. Drawing from history, psychology, and anthropology, bestselling author Sebastian Junger shows us just how at odds the structure of modern society is with our tribal instincts, arguing that the difficulties many veterans face upon returning home from war do not stem entirely from the trauma they’ve suffered, but also from the individualist societies they must reintegrate into.

A 2011 study by the Canadian Forces and Statistics Canada reveals that 78 percent of military suicides from 1972 to the end of 2006 involved veterans. Though these numbers present an implicit call to action, the government is only just taking steps now to address the problems veterans face when they return home. But can the government ever truly eliminate the challenges faced by returning veterans? Or is the problem deeper, woven into the very fabric of our modern existence? Perhaps our circumstances are not so bleak, and simply understanding that beneath our modern guises we all belong to one tribe or another would help us face not just the problems of our nation but of our individual lives as well.

Well-researched and compellingly written, this timely look at how veterans react to coming home will reconceive our approach to veteran’s affairs and help us to repair our current social dynamic.

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Tribe Reviews

  • Michelle (tinyturtle88)
    Sep 18, 2016

    Michelle (tinyturtle88)

    So profound. I found myself going back again in parts so that I could rethink about the depth and meaning. The statistics were baffling. I'm an ex-military wife, and found the PTSD topic to be enlightening, but even more so, I connected many parts of the book to other parts of my life ...

  • Truman32
    Sep 14, 2016


    In Tribe, Sebastian Junger extols the benefits (maybe evolutionally planted in our noggins like instinctual hair-plugs) of belonging to small group. As members of these tribes we have a purpose to our lives, we cooperate to support the tribe –not grab more for ourselves, there is ...

  • Clif Hostetler
    Sep 4, 2016

    Clif Hostetler

    This book provides a convincing articulation of reasons why modern society is ill suited to the innate social needs of homo sapiens (i.e. human beings). Our ancestors lived—and evolved—many thousands of years in hunter gatherer groups that were closely bonded together in a co...

  • Sarah
    Aug 28, 2016


    Finished this 3 hour audiobook in one sitting because I was sucked in. I want to take more time to digest this before writing a full review, but I enjoyed it a lot. It presents very compelling ideas about modern society, human nature and evolution, and our psychological bent towards so...

  • Megan Treseder
    Aug 21, 2016

    Megan Treseder

    Very thought provoking. I don't agree with all the author's assertions, but I appreciated all the new ideas to which I was exposed. I would be very interested to compare reactions to the book between the sexes. This could be a book club book! ...

  • Lynn
    Aug 20, 2016


    This is a tiny book about a huge topic.The focus is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Many have tackled this topic but this book offers a new perspective. The premise is that modern society has lost its ability to live tribally and this causes many deficits. When people go to war they li...

  • Murtaza
    Aug 15, 2016


    This book asks a question that resonates quite widely: why does an ultra-wealthy, safe and individually-free society feel so miserable for so many people? Rates of depression and suicide are actually much higher in fully modernized societies, despite an abundance of goods and rights. P...

  • Kirsti
    Aug 14, 2016


    Short but very compelling. Junger points out that because we have an all-volunteer army, we have more soldiers who have suffered trauma in their early lives--many of them enlisted to get out of difficult situations at home. And people who suffered trauma before going to war are more li...

  • Hadrian
    Aug 9, 2016


    Junger's most recent work - his documentaries, as well as his books - have been keen observations of the lives of soldiers. This is a short meditation on PTSD, where front-line troops and other veterans have a difficult time reintegrating into society - that war, for all of its hardshi...

  • Wendell
    Aug 6, 2016


    Tribe is a magazine article, not a book – and readers are advised to take seriously the twice-repeated warning that the text is “unaltered” from the version that appeared in Vanity Fair in 2015. As a magazine “think piece,” it was no doubt compelling in the way...