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Urban Tribes: A Generation Redefines Friendship, Family, and Commitment
By Ethan Watters
$24.95, 256 pages

On a personal quest to find out why he is still single well into his thirties, Ethan Watters goes searching for answers, and along the way makes an extraordinary discovery about his generation.

While taking stock of his life, Watters realizes that he only has to look as far as his own social circle to see that he is not alone. Rather than settle down into traditional families, he and his friends have formed an Urban Tribe -- an intricate community of young people who live and work together in various combinations, form regular rituals, and provide the support of an extended family.

Just as Watters begins to conceive of his friends as a tribe, he begins to see tribe life reflected everywhere. Across the country, these tight-knit groups of friends are what fill the increasingly wide stretch between college and married life. While social commentators and parents wring their hands about the plight of "never-marrieds," the real story is that these young adults are spending those years living happily in groups of their own making. In the process, they're changing the landscape of modern cities, as well as their own prospects for the future.

Urban Tribes is the story of Watters's investigation into a nationwide phenomenon, one that is key to understanding the choices of his generation. He draws not only on his own story, but on interviews with hundreds of tribe members around the country. He stuffs envelopes at the headquarters of the American Association of Single People, takes us on his tribe's annual pilgrimage to the Burning Man festival in the Black Rock Desert, and trolls for romantic advice at the American Psychological Association's national convention. And when he finally finds true love and starts a family of his own, he looks back at his tribe years and considers what their legacy will be. Insightful, funny, refreshing, and compulsively readable, Urban Tribes is destined to become a classic look at a generation changing all the rules.

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