Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging

Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging
by Sebastian Junger
Published by Hatchett Book Group (134 pages)
Available at Aitkin Library in hardcover and  downloadable audiobook
Book Review by Marty Rheaume

In Tribe, Junger explores the social phenomenon of tribal membership. By diving into our psychological need for belonging, Junger discovers our most horrific experiences have a mysterious allure. In the aftermath of adversity, war, and national disaster, people look back nostalgically at the bonds they built and the intensity of being alive in the midst of threatening environments. This observation provides the canvas to trace these paradoxical feelings back to our tribal roots and show how our lack of connection and purpose manifest themselves in neurotic and pathological behavior.

Many of us suffer the ennui of modern life. Our basic needs are met with little direct connection to our daily tasks, so it can be hard to find meaning in our work. Families are spread out across the state, country, and globe disrupting familial bonds. Our human interactions are often reduced to social media and work, leaving people dissatisfied, lonely, and empty.  Ironically, when fate interrupts and we’re put in a position of survival where we work with a small group of people, we find these experiences enrich our lives with meaning, despite the trauma we also experience.

Viewed through the perspective Junger provides, so many of our curious modern conditions make sense. The partisan bickering, racist resentment, addiction, depression, mass shootings, suicide and everything else can be viewed as failures in man’s search for meaning. People are looking for their tribe and looking for meaning.  Even though societal affluence grows, we’re afflicted with alienation and angst, because our instincts and muscle memory are telling us to search for something that’s rapidly disappearing.

The allure for connection and meaning still has immense pull on our psyches. It helps explain human fascination with war. War acts as a pressure cooker for creating meaning and intimate bonds. As horrific as it can be, those who go through war can develop an attachment or even addiction to the intimacy, adrenaline, and sense of purpose war offers.  Returning veterans are challenged with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and a struggle to assimilate back into civilian life.  As horrible as war is, at least they had a purpose and each other.

Junger uses his own experience, studies, anecdotes and statistics to support his observations. His narrative makes intuitive sense to the reader. Most of us can remember the camaraderie of a sports team, along with the feelings of pride we held after our collective suffering or the impromptu barbeques after a big storm when the power goes out. We’ve witnessed this in our own lives, and he makes it easy for us to extrapolate these observations onto society. He doesn’t provide us with any answers, but he holds up a mirror, so we can observe our intense search for meaning and connection. Maybe it’ll help us form our own tribes.

Ourselves in Concert

Ourselves in Concert
Sweet and Sour Irish Love Songs
Aitkin Library Donovan Room
Tuesday, October 3 at 6 pm

We’re excited to present Ourselves in an acoustic concert event in the Donovan Room. You’ll hear sweet and sour Irish love songs. Get in the spirit and tap your feet and sing along to the upbeat folky sounds from the Trio. Ourselves features local musicians Lynn Surbrook, along with Walt and Tom Schlicting.

The Force by Don Winslow

The Force
Don Winslow
Harper Collins Publishers, 2017
Available at Aitkin Memorial District Library
Book review by Marty Rheaume

In our America of 2017, tensions between the police and African American Community are as tight as they’ve been since Rodney King. Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter groups are at each other’s throats, white nationalists are marching in Virginia. Every day brings us headlines highlighting disturbing racial animosity stubbornly refusing to bury itself, and we all wonder if this is really happening. When suffering through this surreal and anachronistic reality, fiction is the only place we can turn. In “The Force” we view the complexities and ironies of the current racial conflagration through the eyes of an elite NYPD cop whose love/hate relationship with New York City and its Harlem residents moves him to lie, cheat, steal, and kill in order to save the city from itself, but who’s going to save the city from him and “Da Force?”

Sergeant detective Denny Malone is the baddest cop in New York City. He made his way to the top by breaking all the rules. He follows his own code, not the code written by bureaucrats in New York, Albany, Washington, or anywhere else. As long as he kept making New York Times caliber busts and putting criminals behind bars (or in coffins), they closed their eyes, but his own code is getting harder to define. He could justify cutting corners to make a bust or lying to get a warrant, but breaking the rules to enrich himself has left him disillusioned. Through flashbacks from a jail cell, we follow him step-by-step as he crosses lines from being an idealistic cop to a dirty cop to a filthy cop. At rock bottom and long beyond redemption, he’s plotting to go out in a sacrificial blaze of glory to prevent the rest of the city from burning to the ground.

Winslow reigns as king of epic crime fiction. His 2015 work, “The Cartel,” examined the brutal lives of Mexican Narcos and the people who sell their souls to fight them. “The Force” returns to our side of the border to explore the relationships between the police, the (mostly black) inner-city denizens whom they protect and serve, and the politicians who view both sides as a means to an end. Once again, Winslow captures the Zeitgeist, bringing the headlines to life. This novel is so strikingly topical, it’s hard to believe he’s been researching it for 5 years, but his willingness to put in work doing the research is what separates him from other crime writers. While making allowances for a larger than life anti-hero in Malone, the rest of the book is saturated in gritty realism. It’s a street level view of the messy complexities and contradictions of race relations, and a deep exploration into the human heart in conflict with itself.

Parks & Paths 5K Route

CASH PRIZES for top 3 males and top three females
1st Place: $100
2nd Place: $50
3rd Place: $25
Medals will also be earned by top finishers, and many other prizes from local businesses will be awarded after the race.

Join us May 20th for the 1st annual Croswell Library Parks and Paths 5K run and 2 Mile walk. This unique 5k course will follow a bike path around the giant Michigan Sugar plant on the outksirts of scenic downtown Croswell, and then cut through the heart of the small city in order to cross the Black River and take a wide loop through the famous Swinging Bridge Park before returning to the finish line. The 5k loop includes running on grass paths and dirt trails along with the paved bike path. The 2 mile walk sticks to the paved bike path.

Starting line is at the Truman Street Park near the Cannery Village Apartments (15 Truman St.) in Croswell. Parking will be available at Croswell City Light and Power (120 E. Sanborn), along city streets, and public parking is available in a number of locations downtown a few hundred yards from the starting line (so you can get a good warm-up before the race!). No parking in the apartment complex near the starting line.

Essential Oils Make and Take

Aitkin Memorial District Library's portrait.Essential Oils Make and Take
February 20th at 5:30 pm
The cost is $10 per person
Sign up and pay at the library to reserve  your spot!

Back by popular demand is the Make and Take! Winter is a great time to treat yourself by caring for your body and skin with essential oils. We’ll be creating a body powder deodorant, anti-wrinkle cream, and night time body butter. Most story bought beauty products have chemicals and other irritants in them. Using essential oils we’ll be crafting revitalizing beauty products, and you’ll know exactly what’s in them!

Impressionist Watercolor Class

On Saturday, March 25th at 10 am we’ll be hosting a watercolor class! Professional artist Suzanne Boeck will led us step by step in creating a winter landscape masterpiece! It’ll be an 11″ by 14″ painting done on high quality 100% rag paper! All skill levels are welcome, and supplies will be provided. Be sure to reserve your spot ahead of time as classes fill up quickly! The cost for the class is $20.

How to Speak “Special Educationese”

On Wednesday, February 22nd from 12 to 2:30, Cheryl Levine from the Michigan Special Education Mediation Project will be here to give a special presentation titled, How to Speak “Special Educationese”. The goal of the workshop is to develop communication between special education professionals and parents when crafting an Individual Education Plans, and Individual Family Service Plans, with additional focus on avoiding conflicts. Space is limited, please contact Jill Clyne by February 15th at to sign up. special educationese

Genealogy Workshop for Beginners

Genealogy-TreeOn Tuesday, February 28th for 1-3 the Sanilac Genealogical Society will put on a program to teach you how to begin researching your family history. They’ll also provide you with helpful clues about where to search! Library Director, Marty Rheaume, will also give a presentation from 2-3 to show you how to utilize the library’s resources. He’ll even show you some trick on how to navigate our vast database smoothly! Space is limited, so please contact the library to sign up at

Croswell Library Parks and Paths 5K

On May 20th we’ll be hosting the first annual Croswell Library Parks and Paths 5K run! There will be a 5K run as well as a 2 Mile Walk. The 5K course will follow the bike path around Croswell’s industrial periphery. We’ll then cross the Black River and take a wide loop through the famous Swinging Bridge Park before returning to the finish line. All runners will get a soft cotton fitted t-shirt and prizes will be awarded to age group winners! The cost is $25, and all proceeds will benefit the William Aitkin Memorial Library! If you’d like to sign up please go to  5k logo