This is a book about 'why' people are drawn to each other. Why we feel kinship to folks we don't know, why we feel the obligation to care for one another, why we feel the obligation to keep fighting when the outcomes are grave, and why we feel so demoralized when the hard work is over and there's no more mission to pursue.
It's the story of how we feel truly "alive" when we are closest to death. It's how people are drawn to each other during opposition, oppression and deprivation and where the 'Midas touch' may turn our fortunes to gold... but will turn our hearts to coal.
Junger discusses human dynamics as he discusses people with the aid of history as a context. From the Native Americans on the Plains to British civilians enduring the London Blitz during the Second World War, Junger powerfully depicts people as members of an elite club with extraordinary roles.
Most people are not special soldiers trained for dangerous missions, rather ordinary people have an internal 'call to duty' which compels them into the most elite team of all... the human race. And as people experience hardship together, they coalesce into an identity that is uniquely they're own. People enduring struggles together are more than a random gathering of strangers... They are a Tribe.
Understanding this simple fact leads us to two simple facts:
1) We've always been a tribe and will always be a tribe
2) As long as we have a tribe, we will never be alone.