A New York Times / National Bestseller
"America's funniest science writer" (Washington Post) Mary Roach explores the science of keeping human beings intact, awake, sane, uninfected, and uninfested in the bizarre and extreme circumstances of war.
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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Mary Roach has a way of turning scientific facts and wonky research into funny, surprising romps. Here, the author of Stiff and Gulp turns her ever-curious eye to the seemingly endless—and somewhat absurdist—research operations housed within the U.S. military. We learned about the people and experiments trying to come up with apocalypse-proof fabrics, a cure for travelers’ diarrhea, shark repellent, and more. Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War is a fascinating, entertaining, and jaw-dropping read.
With compassion and dark humor, Roach (Gulp) delves into the world of military scientists and their drive to make combat more survivable for soldiers. Her interest in military matters wasn't piqued by the usual aspects of warfare armaments, tactics, honor but the more "esoteric" ones: "exhaustion, shock, bacteria, panic, ducks." Roach goes into great detail about the historical conditions that spawned particular areas of research, and she often describes seemingly absurd tests and experiments. Military scientists are so committed to bringing soldiers home alive that they examine nearly every facet of life and death, researching such topics as diarrhea among Navy SEALs, body odors under stress, using maggots to heal wounds, and the "injuries collectively known as urotrauma." Roach also corrects some popular misconceptions while offering odd bits of trivia. Sharks aren't particularly attracted to human blood, she finds, though it was discovered that bears love the taste of used tampons. And in the case of reconstructive surgery, her elaborate explanation of penile transplants brings home the true horror of war. Roach's book is not for the squeamish or those who envision war as a glorious enterprise; it is a captivating look at the lengths scientists go to in order to reduce the horrors of war. Illus.
Customer ReviewsSee All
The Marine Corps does not have medics; we have Navy Corpsman. We also aren't Soldiers, that is like calling a Japanese man Korean. I'm sure the book is great, but the summary just tickled me wrong a little.
Written with clarity and an even hand. Not handled with exaduration or sensationalism. All mary roachs books are worth a read. Wonder what area of life she will think of next.
I love Mary Roach's writing
I first fell in love with Mary Roach through my mother's Reader's Digest subscription. When she stopped submitting her monthly column to the magazine, I thought that I would never read her in-depth, yet interesting, and at proper times, humorous writing again. Then I found out that she was leaving to write full length non-fiction books. I was over joyed. I pre-ordered her first book, and waited for it's release. I read it in one day, and then re-read it again over the course of the next week. I have purchased all previous books that she has written and contributed to. I am currently one of only about 400 female Neurosurgeons in The US, and enjoyed the detail that goes into her books. They were with me during my 9 years of residency, and they helped me share quirky medical and scientific info with my head surgeons, and other colleagues. I loved reading the intricacies of the military in her current book, Grunt. I live for fine detail, which Ms. Roach does with a wonderful gift that doesn't leave you bored, but wanting more. I have the hard cover book, not the digital one, but I felt that she deserved a review and rating on iBooks, since I did download the sample of the book while waiting for my hardcover edition to be delivered to my home. This book is for people interested in everything from fashion to living under the sea, to surgical procedures. It isn't just a book on war and soldiers, but more toward the people behind the curtains keeping the whole military gamut running smoothly and keeping people on both sides of the line, alive and well. A+