Saturday, 16 September 2017

Tribe - Sebastian Junger

Just 136 pages long, this is a fascinating essay about belonging - whether to your tribe, or your army unit, or your family.  I found this a book worth reading.  It is a thought provoking little volume.  Why do people join tribes?  Why do suicide rates drop during periods of war?  Why do people feel deflated after a war is over? 

It was recommended to me by a young American woman, who told me I just "had" to read it!  Her mother had, apparently,  read it 5 times already.  I can see the fascination it held for her because Junger looks at groups of people from the other end of the usual angle.  It starts with the question of why did many early early European settlers in North America join Native American tribes, either by choice or kidnapping (and if the latter, why choose to stay if they had the chance to leave?); and ends with a short but succinct observation about helping others or being just dead inside if you didn't.

You don't have to be American, you don't have to be - or know of - a veteran of war, you just need to be interested in life in general.  A great little study - and this from someone who left education many years ago.  This was a real food for thought read for me.