Friday, May 05, 2017
"Tribe" by Sebastian Junger - On Homecoming and Belonging
This book, "Tribe," really resonated with me. I have always enjoyed the work of Sebastian Junger, from "The Perfect Storm, Fire," "A Death In Belmont," War," and the film "Restrepo." In this little gem of a book, the author looks at the stark contrast between tribal communities - whether First Nation tribes or other tight knit communities - in terms of how they receive returning warriors. Native American tribes use a combination of ritualistic and relational techniques to mitigate the difficulties that returning warriors encounter. . The key dynamic that will determine whether short term PTSD will become long term disability is the quality of the empathy and support offered by the tribe to which the person returns.
Junger also discusses the paradox that during times or war or natural disaster, rates of depression and suicide go down dramatically. He offers insights into how Londoners responded to the German blitz bombing in WWII. Similar phenomena can be identified among those who survived 9/11, Hurricane Katrrina, and other disasters - natural or man-made.
Junger draws on his extensive understanding of history, anthropology, sociology, psychology, and military life to offer insights that have relevance for returning soldiers and the members of the communities to which they return.
This book is a quick and impactful read.