The subject matter of Sebastian Junger’s Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging is risky, enticing, and captivating. Junger approaches the issues returning Vets face (PTSD, assimilating back into society, etc.) from the viewpoint of “how has society failed them?” rather than “what has war done to them?”
Junger takes you on a journey through civilization starting with the American Indians up to present day; exploring the flaws in modern society as a result of the lacking sense of community in the modern western world.
Junger poses many fascinating theories, and writes with beautiful sensitivity on the topic; one he clearly feels strongly about on a personal level.
I took issue with Tribe (brace yourselves now) for the following reason: it should have been 150-200 pages longer. Yes. I just said that.
As great as it is to find a non-fiction book on a heavy subject to be a quick paced, short read, a lot of specificity is sacrificed. The theories Junger poses and explores are presented in generalities. It is obvious he could have included more compelling evidence (which I’m sure he has, since he is clearly well-versed on the topic).
Restructuring the piece (I, of course, have thoughts on how this could be accomplished) in a way that allowed for more details would have made it meatier without losing its accessibility.
I have been struggling with how to rate Tribe; Junger is a stunning writer who definitely knows his s**t, it’s a subject matter I personally think is vastly important and Junger poses an innovative viewpoint, but the weakness in structure is a huge issue. Tribe would serve well as a jumping off point for further investigative reading.
So, please be aware that I have reserved the right to change the rating below.
Rating: 3.5 Heroes