Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging” as Want to Read:
Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  22,243 ratings  ·  2,533 reviews
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 beha
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published May 24th 2016 by Twelve
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Tribe, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Nancy Lanoue I am about 1/3 of the way through. So far Tribe is very thought provoking. The idea that we drop our "civilized" facades and labels to become more…moreI am about 1/3 of the way through. So far Tribe is very thought provoking. The idea that we drop our "civilized" facades and labels to become more equel in the face of calamity is on one hand a positive for the human race but on the other hand that it takes war and catastrophe to bring this about is quite disquieting. Learning the ways in which we rise to different types of leadership as men and women is fascinating. I will read on! Just getting into the analysis of cauaes of soldiers' PTSD.(less)
Dick Having gotten my start in the computer industry back in the early '60s I first discovered Junger thru his book "Making of a Machine " chronicling the…moreHaving gotten my start in the computer industry back in the early '60s I first discovered Junger thru his book "Making of a Machine " chronicling the development of Data General's first mini computer. Also enjoyed "House" and all of his subsequent books.
Oooops - my mistake I have confused Junger with Tracy Kidman - an other favorite non-fiction author. It Tracycy Kidman was the author "Machine" , :House" and numerous other first person events.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  22,243 ratings  ·  2,533 reviews

Sort order
Petra Eggs
Update Yesterday I had a friend request saying that he didn't want to friend me just to tell me that he objected to my review being so prominent when it was wrong, crap etc. as the author hadn't meant what I said. I didn't read the rest of the long wodge of no doubt insulting text but the ending was that he was flagging the review. I ignored his FR and wrote back tl;dr. He replied (although I don't know how he got through the privacy settings and blocks) some more troll stuff and that I was wron ...more
A nostalgic and masculist view on group behaviour and PTSD.

Junger promotes a more tribal lifestyle and he thinks we all need hardship, catastrophes and war in order to connect with others.
I think he confuses cause and effect. While it seems true that a tight-knit community can be preventive or therapeutic in case of hardship; war and other tragedies will surely generate more trauma.

I could hardly finish this short book and he certainly didn't convince me. His arguments felt too simplistic. Li
Diane S ☔
May 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Proves the adage that good things can come in small packages. In this short book, not a wasted word, Junger combines memoir, journalism and scholarly writing to give us a book that makes one think about where our society has been and where it is heading. Tackles the tough subjects of the rising rate of mental illness and PTSD that many in our society are experiencing. Starting at the beginning with the Native Americans and their society that celebrated communal living. Warning us of the selfishn ...more
Feb 27, 2018 rated it liked it
“Robert Frost famously wrote that home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in. The word ‘tribe’ is far harder to define, but a start might be the people you feel compelled to share the last of your food with…This book is about why that sentiment is such a rare and precious thing in modern society, and how the lack of it has affected us all. It’s about what we can learn from tribal societies about loyalty and belonging and the eternal quest for meaning…”
- Sebastia
Junger has an appealing message. That humans have evolved a high order of altruism associated with our tribal social nature which leads us to be willing to take great risks to save another member of the tribe. In many circumstances people are willing to sacrifice themselves for total strangers. Time and again when disasters like earthquakes occur the vast majority of people relinquish all sense of selfishness and pitch in to help. In specific examples like the Blitz of daily bombing of London by ...more
Allison Scott
Jul 25, 2016 rated it it was ok
There are many good ideas in this book, including disorders of trauma as disorders of integration, isolation, and group dynamic, however I had too many issues with the way this story was told to fully embrace the important message it meant to convey.
When I read “tribe” in this book, I imagine only men. Men at war, men at work at construction sites, male aggression, and male friendship. Where are the women? His main example of a “female” style of leadership is about … MEN! (The dual roles taken b
Sam Quixote
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Is Western civilization the pinnacle of human achievement? In Tribe, Sebastian Junger questions this notion by looking at, among other examples, why colonial Americans left behind the burgeoning settlements to live with the tribal Indians; why, as technological advances have sped up over time (and accelerate still faster today), we are all “connected” and yet more and more of us feel isolated, depressed and unsatisfied with life in the Information Age; and why comfort is killing us and, rather t ...more
Otis Chandler
Nov 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
A fascinating book about community and belonging, and how modern society has moved us away from our roots in potentially signifiant ways. The book opens with a thought provoking fact: in early America, there were numerous instances of white people joining primitive, native Indian societies - but zero instances of the opposite, because "the intensely communal nature of an Indian tribe held an appeal that the material benefits of Western civilization couldn’t necessarily compete with."

The book als
Clif Hostetler
Aug 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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 cooperative bond in order to survive dangerous surroundings. Everybody in the group knew that they were dependent on others, and the group expected loyalty, cooperation, and sharing of resources from individuals in the group. ...more
**Warning: This review may be longer than the entire book.**

Interesting and thought provoking; if not entirely convincing. On the one hand, some very compelling ideas about the feeling of smaller, close knit communities and how they can foster and encourage good mental health and enhance happiness. On the other hand, Junger for the most part, blames wealth and technological advances for the moral decline of America. While not without evidence, it's still an arduous climb to get to where he wants
Nov 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
"The economic and marketing forces of modern society have engineered an environment...that maximize[s] consumption at the long-term cost of well being."
- Brandon Hidaka, quoted in Sebastian Junger, Tribe


In a series of four essays that grew out of an article Junger wrote in 2015 for Vanity Fair called How PTSD Became A Problem Far Beyond The Battlefield, Junger explores how we can learn from tribal societies about loyalty, belonging, the quest for meaning, and strategies for surviving the communa
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The Army might screw you and your girlfriend might dump you and the enemy might
kill you, but the shared commitment to safeguard one another's lives is unnegotiable
and only deepens with time. The willingness to die for another person is a form of love
that even religions fail to inspire, and the experience of it changes a person profoundly."
-Sebastian Junger- 'War'

I chose to begin this review with a quote from Sebastian Junger's honest but discomfiting book, War because I felt that what he
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’ve started this review twice now – I’m really not sure what to say about this book.

Benjamin Franklin has been quoted in a few books I’ve read recently where he explains the problem of people seeming to like Native American life-styles over European ones. This certainly wasn’t what he expected. But there was lots of evidence of Europeans running off and joining Native American tribes, but precious few of Native Americans willingly joining European cities – and even when they did, they tended t
Jan 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Sebastian Junger poses that tribal societies had a strong sense of community and fairness because these values were necessary to survive. He poses that while tribal culture buffered its members against catastrophic loss (illness, death, violent weather) its sense of community was protection from what today we call PTSD. He makes his case mostly through anecdotes and a few statistics.

While there is a lot of food for thought in Junger’s anecdotes they have alternative interpretations. For instanc
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 hardships, creates a feeling of belonging and absolutely unbreakable bonds, and that returning to contemporary society leads to feelings of incredible isolation.

how many. He gives the unusually high figure of almost 40% c
Dec 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I have read several articles recently about our society’s problems with individualism. When I saw Junger’s short book on the subject, I thought it might give me a more in-depth viewpoint on the subject, which it did.

Junger tells of Benjamin Franklin’s 1753 observation that white prisoners of Native American Tribes when recused would run back to the Native American Tribe they had been with. But the situation never worked it reverse. Franklin concluded there was something wrong with our society.

Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A quirky little book about a big topic, much bigger than vets and PTSD, and American Indian tribes. Our entire society is sick because there's a lot of suicide and evil people get away with their assorted crimes.

Civilization produces many benefits but many bad side effects as well because we keep throwing out the baby with the bathwater when it comes to the old ways. I believe him about the white settlers taken prisoner who were happier living with the indigenous American tribes, but it's not c
Jan Rice
This book surprised me.

I'm not sure what I was expecting, but, if tribal tends to have a negative connotation these days, this was the opposite. Junger thinks society has fallen apart and lost a necessary tribal aspect. He begins by recounting how American settlers couldn't keep their people from staying with Indian tribes, once they had experienced them, yet the reverse never happened. People are happier in tribes. They even have more leisure time. Of course he's talking about relationships wit
May 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
There are many great books that I cannot wait to introduce to my customers - but then there are other books that I become obsessed with and so passionate for that I need to put it into every single person's hand that walks into my bookstore. Sebastian Junger's new book "Tribe" is one of those books. It is historical, psychological, anthropological and personal. I will think about this book for a very long time. It helped me to understand so much about war, about community, about self. Isn't that ...more
Jul 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2018
This tiny book packs a lot of informations and experiences.

What does it mean to be part of something bigger ... society.... tribes.... the army... its various units ... how soldiers act in war and how they act in peace... are we making use of the veterans that are out there... how to deal with PTSD... how war is good for the cohesion of the community and how natural disasters bring people together and the notion of class vanishes.
Kelsey Dangelo-Worth
Aug 08, 2016 rated it did not like it
Junger, a war correspondent and world traveler, seeks to promote tribal life, as seen both historically and currently in American Indian and aboriginal groups around the world, as well as in the military. He blames individualism (in terms of hurting the society, such as in alienation and in greed) for the ills of society (mainly in terms of mental illness).

Although I greatly admire Junger’s points, and I do strongly wish for a greater sense of altruism, selflessness, and community belonging in
Apr 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a short book, but well worth reading. Junger's analysis of what makes a tribe and what brings people together and pulls them apart is very thoughtfully done. I read this right after David Wallace-Wells somewhat apocalyptic book about climate change, Uninhabitable Earth, and even though Junger isn't exactly cheery, I came away from the book feeling more hopeful. In the end, idealistic as I know it sounds, we have more in common than not. We want to be safe, want those we love to be safe a ...more
Jennifer Taw
Jul 09, 2016 rated it it was ok
Tribe provides a good foundation for discussions about war, community, gender roles, government, economics, justice, violence, and the intersections of all of the above. It also has some really interesting statistics kind of scattered throughout. That said, as a book on its own, I found it disappointing. There are too many oversimplified or over-generalized observations; there are too many times that an outcome is explained using one variable (sense of community, for example), and then explained ...more
Ron S
Apr 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: community, war
An expanded version of an article that first appeared in Vanity Fair titled "How PTSD Became a Problem Far Beyond the Battlefield." Junger has matured as one of the finest American reporters in print. Thinking of him as "the Perfect Storm guy" is as reductive as thinking of Jon Krakauer only as "that guy that wrote Into Thin Air." In this work, Junger looks at community, tribal behaviors, and issues facing veterans while briefly weaving in personal experiences that help connect us to this work o ...more
aPriL does feral sometimes
"Today's veterans often come home to find that, although they're willing to die for their country, they're not sure how to live for it." -Sebastian Junger.

Every veteran and visitor to a war-zone should read 'Tribe" when returning to their home country. Not only does the book connect the dots of being a feeling human being and a soldier, and illustrate briefly war experiences from history and more current adventures, it describes what sort of games an ex-soldier can expect from returning home aft
Chantel Coughlin
Sebastian Junger takes us on a historical journey that is both anthropological and psychological in his latest work of non-fiction, Tribe. The age old cliche that history repeats itself is being realized in today's society and Junger presents many examples of this with warrior re-integration into their communities following traumatic conflict throughout history and their varied success rates at combating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Junger documents many of the thoughts today's veterans strug ...more
Nov 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Powerful Intro! Appreciated this read's concept of solidarity as it underscores and helps me hone thoughts I've had about topics like the boom of social media in our more isolated existence, young men's susceptibility to recruitment into gangs/terror orgs, and my own contributions to community and country. This also begged more Qs from me: tribes view those back from war as having superior skills and wisdom, why don't the rest of us? Does modern society require too many specialized skills? (Auth ...more
Apr 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. By far the best non fiction I've read so far this year (2016). Timely. Engaging. In my opinion, his best work yet. I'm tempted to complain that it is too short, but the point gets hammered home effectively. It should be required school reading. I'll be thinking about this for a while....
Barbara (The Bibliophage)
Back in the 90s, my father said email and the Internet were making people unable to communicate with each other. This was before smart phones and social media. But if you've ever agreed that we are becoming more distanced and less comfortable with face-to-face communication, this book is a required read.

Junger looks at the innate tribal nature of humans and how it affects us during war time and peace time. The difficulty, of course, being that many societies have become less tribal and more ind
Jun 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways
I won this as a Goodreads giveaway.*

Loved this book. I found it completely fascinating and am looking forward to reading more from Sebastian Junger.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • War and the Soul: Healing Our Nation's Veterans from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
  • The Skeptic's Guide to American History
  • Suggestible You: The Curious Science of Your Brain's Ability to Deceive, Transform, and Heal
  • The Evil Hours: A Biography of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Friedman's Fables (with Booklet)
  • Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations
  • The Mirror Test: America at War in Iraq and Afghanistan
  • Oh Canada! Oh Quebec!: Requiem for a Divided Country
  • They Went Whistling: Women Wayfarers, Warriors, Runaways, and Renegades
  • The End of White Christian America
  • Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America
  • One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer
  • Tyrant: Shakespeare on Politics
  • What Have We Done: The Moral Injury of Our Longest Wars
  • Things They Cannot Say
  • Beyond Outrage: What has gone wrong with our economy and our democracy, and how to fix it
  • Moral Origins: The Evolution of Virtue, Altruism, and Shame
  • The Junior Officers' Reading Club: Killing Time And Fighting Wars
Sebastian Junger is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of War, The Perfect Storm, Fire, and A Death in Belmont. Together with Tim Hetherington, he directed the Academy Award-nominated film Restrepo, which won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. He is a contributing editor to Vanity Fair and has been awarded a National Magazine Award and an SAIS Novartis Prize for journalism. He lives in New Yo ...more
“Humans don’t mind hardship, in fact they thrive on it; what they mind is not feeling necessary. Modern society has perfected the art of making people not feel necessary. It's time for that to end.” 72 likes
“human beings need three basic things in order to be content: they need to feel competent at what they do; they need to feel authentic in their lives; and they need to feel connected to others. These values are considered "intrinsic" to human happiness and far outweigh "extrinsic" values such as beauty, money and status.” 52 likes
More quotes…