Sebastian Junger speaks about brotherhood at Davidson
by Staff Writer
DAVIDSON – Best-selling author and Oscar-nominated director Sebastian Junger spoke about brotherhood on the battlefield Tuesday night to a packed house at Davidson College.
Junger, known for his best-selling book, “The Perfect Storm” and award-winning documentary, “Restrepo,” was this year’s Reynolds Lecturer for Davidson College and delivered his lecture titled “On The Front Lines of History: Twenty Years of Reporting from Around the World.”
During his lecture, Junger inspired students with the story of how he went from a bad writer and arborist to one of the most distinguished authors and combat photojournalists in the world.
After graduating from Wesleyan University, Junger worked at an arbor company near Boston, Mass. After severely injuring himself in a chainsaw incident, Junger found himself boarding a plane to Bosnia in order to jump-start his life as a journalist.
“I was plankton in the world of journalism,” Junger said of his time spent covering the civil war in Bosnia. But it was in Bosnia that the author fell in love with the idea of helping others through photojournalism.
“I was instantly intoxicated,” Junger said.
It was during his time while working in Bosnia that Junger learned his short book manuscript about a fishing boat in a monstrous storm had been sold to publishers in New York City. “The Perfect Storm,” was Junger’s first attempt at a novel, and ended up spending three years on the New York Times best-seller list. The book was later made into a movie of the same name starring George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg.
In 2000, Junger’s addiction to risk took him to Afghanistan, where he and late combat photojournalist Tim Hetherington filmed and directed “Restrepo.” The film documented a combat team’s year embedded in the heavily contested Korengal valley of eastern Afghanistan.
It was while embedded with the combat team that Junger learned the meaning of brotherhood, which he shared with students on Tuesday.
“Brotherhood is different from friendship. Brotherhood has nothing to do with how you feel about the other person,” he said. “These troops may have hated each other, but they would do anything for each other.”
Earlier this year, Junger’s friend and colleague Tim Hetherington was killed by a mortar blast while covering the civil war in Libya. Junger has been working with HBO to make a documentary about Hetherington’s life.