© 2024 Louisville Public Media

Public Files:
89.3 WFPL · 90.5 WUOL-FM · 91.9 WFPK

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact info@lpm.org or call 502-814-6500
89.3 WFPL News | 90.5 WUOL Classical 91.9 WFPK Music | KyCIR Investigations
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Stream: News Music Classical

Sebastian Junger On The Ancient Human Preference For Community

Tim Hetherington

Journalist and author Sebastian Junger made a name for himself with his book "The Perfect Storm.” Junger’s latest work, “Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging,” explores tribal sentiment and the idea that for some, war feels better than peace.

He'll appear Wednesday night at the University of Louisville Kentucky Author Forum. Junger talked with me about his work. You can listen to our conversation in the audio player above.

On what he refers to as "the ancient human preference for community":

“The book is not about soldiers. There's a section about soldiers but I really used them to illuminate a broader point, which is I found that the soldiers I was with in Afghanistan -- you know, they were in a platoon in a small position on a hill and everyone was sleeping shoulder to shoulder and it was a very intimate, communal life -- that the guys missed it when they came home. And I realized what they missed wasn't the combat per se, although I think there was a bit of that but it was just a very intense communal, closely connected nature of life in a remote outpost that, of course, reproduces our evolutionary past very, very closely. And I took that as the very starting thought in what we have lost in a society for the individualization of life in America.”

On making society more communal again:

“I think there are things we can do. I think national service would give people a sense of being in a unified country. Unified countries have political divisions, it’s not like we’re all in agreement about things, but at least we would have the idea of all engaging in a common enterprise.”

Junger will discuss his latest book on Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 6 p.m. during the University of Louisville Kentucky Author Forum. More information is available here.

Bill Burton is the Morning Edition host for LPM. Email Bill at bburton@lpm.org.