116: Sebastian Junger. FREEDOM. The Iconic Author on His Must-Read New Book, Memorial Day, Losing His Close Friend in Combat, Walking Across America, Almost Dying, President Biden, the Soul of America, Smoking Cigarettes and Getting Shot At.

Sebastian Junger is one of the most important authors, thinkers and public intellectuals in America. And one of the most interesting guys you’ll ever hear. He’s also a true badass and adventurer—the spirit of Hemingway—who joined us in Episode 100 and is back to talk candidly about his highly-anticipated, sure-to-be-best-selling new book, Freedom


Throughout history, humans have been driven by the quest for two cherished ideals: community and freedom. The two don’t coexist easily: we value individuality and self-reliance, yet are utterly dependent on community for our most basic needs. In this intricately crafted and thought-provoking book, Sebastian examines this tension that lies at the heart of what it means to be human.

Over a year, Sebastian and three friends—a combat photographer and two War vets—walked the railroad lines of America. It was an experiment in personal autonomy, but also in interdependence. Dodging railroad cops, sleeping under bridges, cooking over fires and drinking from creeks and rivers, the men forged a unique reliance on one another.

Junger weaves his account of this journey together with primatology and boxing strategy, the history of labor strikes and Apache raiders, the role of women in resistance movements, and the brutal reality of life on the Pennsylvania frontier. Written in exquisite, razor-sharp prose, the result is a powerful examination of the primary desire that defines us.

Junger is the #1 NY Times Bestselling author of The Perfect Storm, Fire, A Death In Belmont, War and Tribe and the visionary filmmaker behind Restrepo, Korengal and Which Way Is The Front Line From Here? He is also the Founder of RISC (Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues)–a non-profit dedicated to promoting the safety of freelance journalists working in conflict zones. 

Sebastian has been in the toughest war zones all over the world–and told stories about what happens in war and what happens after. He’s a defender of democracy. A keeper of the flame. And a conscience for America. He again joins our host, Paul Rieckhoff (@PaulRieckhoff), for a real and extended conversation that will leave you informed and inspired. Rieckhoff also presses Sebastian to share the pieces of the book he left out, the time he almost died, what he’s looking forward to this summer and, as with all returning guests–pancakes v waffles. 

It’s amazing conversation to inspire–and to help you stay vigilant. Because eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. Especially this summer. 

Independent Americans is a summer BBQ of light to contrast all the stinky heat of other political pods. We’re joining your summer cookout with a special delivery of the Righteous Media 5 I’s: independence, integrity, information, inspiration and impact. And a conversation to wake you up—and to help you stay vigilant. Because eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. If you’re a concerned citizen who cares about the future America, this is your pod.

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“What all political pods ought to be: fun, engaging, freewheeling, and respectful – even welcoming- of different points of view. I’m a fan.”

That’s what political strategist Paul Begala called Independent Americans,

You can also watch video of this show with Sebastian and more than 100 other important, inspiring and iconic leaders from Sarah Jessica Parker to Meghan McCain; Stephen Colbert to Pete Buttigieg on the Righteous YouTube page. Independent Americans connects, informs and inspires–and is powered by Righteous Media. On social media or www.IndependentAmericans.us.

You can also watch video of this full conversation:

And stay vigilant, America.

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