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Grunt : The Curious Science of Humans at War
by Mary Roach


Overview -

Grunt tackles the science behind some of a soldier's most challenging adversaries--panic, exhaustion, heat, noise--and introduces us to the scientists who seek to conquer them. Mary Roach dodges hostile fire with the U.S. Marine Corps Paintball Team as part of a study on hearing loss and survivability in combat.  Read more...


 
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Overview

Grunt tackles the science behind some of a soldier's most challenging adversaries--panic, exhaustion, heat, noise--and introduces us to the scientists who seek to conquer them. Mary Roach dodges hostile fire with the U.S. Marine Corps Paintball Team as part of a study on hearing loss and survivability in combat. She visits the fashion design studio of U.S. Army Natick Labs and learns why a zipper is a problem for a sniper. She visits a repurposed movie studio where amputee actors help prepare Marine Corps medics for the shock and gore of combat wounds. At Camp Lemmonier, Djibouti, in east Africa, we learn how diarrhea can be a threat to national security. Roach samples caffeinated meat, sniffs an archival sample of a World War II stink bomb, and stays up all night with the crew tending the missiles on the nuclear submarine USS Tennessee. She answers questions not found in any other book on the military: Why is DARPA interested in ducks? How is a wedding gown like a bomb suit? Why are shrimp more dangerous to sailors than sharks? Take a tour of duty with Roach, and you'll never see our nation's defenders in the same way again.


 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780393245448
  • ISBN-10: 0393245446
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
  • Publish Date: June 2016
  • Page Count: 288
  • Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.9 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Technology & Engineering > Military Science
Books > Science > Research & Methodology
Books > History > Military - United States

 
BookPage Reviews

Science on the battlefield

From the digestive system (Gulp) to the body after death (Stiff) to the science of sex (Bonk), Mary Roach’s books have all touched on familiar topics that have been written about over and over again. But Roach, a self-described “goober with a flashlight,” brings a nearly insane glee to each of her subjects as she transforms well-worn topics into fresh learning experiences. At first pass, her latest book is her least universal: Grunt explores the science of the human body at war. After all, everyone has a digestive system, we all experience death, and most of us have had sex or at least considered it—but few of us will ever fight in a war.

As Roach makes clear, Grunt is no Zero Dark Thirty, nor is it about the science of military armaments. She never ignores the bullets and bombs but instead focuses on the unsung heroes of battle. At the fashion design studio of the U.S. Army Natick Labs, Roach learns about the ballistic qualities of silk underpants and why snipers can’t wear zippers. She runs around with the U.S. Marine Corps Paintball Team as part of a study on hearing loss in combat. And she spends multiple chapters on penis transplants, a particularly timely topic since the first successful procedure occurred just last December.

Grunt has everything Roach fans look for: guffaw-worthy footnotes, questions pursued to hilarious and rewarding ends and connections that we never would’ve considered. Perhaps no one else walks the line of irreverent and considerate as skillfully as Roach does, and with this book, she presents something important, difficult and often ugly, leaving readers with a new appreciation for the bizarre sciences and creative minds that strive to better the lives of soldiers.

RELATED CONTENT: Read about Mary Roach's quest to find the perfect giveaway item to accompany Grunt.

This article was originally published in the June 2016 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews