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Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Oh, the places Mary Roach has gone! She’s floated in zero gravity, she’s stuck her hand inside a cow, and she’s gotten busy in an MRI machine. Now she’s on to something completely different: the military. Turns out there is a lot of science that goes into equipping our men and women in uniform, and much of it is quite bizarre. I cracked up twice during the first chapter alone.

— Kat

Rather than focusing on big guns and bravado, Roach sheds light on the less discussed aspects of the military and answers questions most of us would not think to ask. What makes the gadgets work and how are they tested? What do fashion designers look for when creating a military uniform? What advances have we made in genital reconstructive surgery? Her signature wit had me fascinating by topics I would never have otherwise explored.

— Jade


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.

About the Author

Mary Roach is the author of six best-selling works of nonfiction, most recently Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War. Her writing has appeared in Outside, National Geographic, and the New York Times Magazine, among other publications.

Praise For…

A mirthful, informative peek behind the curtain of military science.
— Washington Post

From the ever-illuminating author of Bonk and Stiff comes an examination of the science behind war. Even the tiniest minutiae count on the battlefield, and Roach leads us through her discoveries in her inimitable style.

— Elle

Our most consistently entertaining science journalist…Roach goes where other writers wouldn’t dare….And her search produces images—a kind of technopoetry—that are hard to forget.
— O Magazine

[Roach] takes on the challenges the military faces to keep its fighters safe and healthy with her trademark flair (and zingy footnotes).
— Entertainment Weekly

Roach is a tenacious investigative journalist with an appetite for the unappetizing...Grunt ranks high in the Roach repertoire.

— USA Today

Mary Roach’s latest bit of brilliance….As meticulously researched, beautifully written, and disturbingly funny as her previous books…Grunt examines the science behind war, as well as the researchers who are leading the charge in these state-of- the-art developments. Roach’s prose is a triumph—an engaging blend of anecdote, research, and reflection.

— Boston Globe

[Roach] writes exquisitely about the excruciating….wildly informative and vividly written
— Los Angeles Times

does weird science quite like [Roach], and this time, she takes on war. Though
all her books look at the human body in extreme situations (sex! space!
death!), this isn’t simply a blood-drenched affair. Instead, Roach looks at the
unexpected things that take place behind the scenes.
— Wired

Roach...applies her tenacious reporting and quirky point of view to efforts by scientists to conquer some of the soldier’s worst enemies.
— Seattle Times

Extremely likable…and quick with a quip….[Roach’s] skill is to
draw out the good humor and honesty of both the subjects and practitioners of
these white arts among the dark arts of war.
— San Francisco Chronicle

Covering these topics and more, Roach has done a fascinating job of
portraying unexpected, creative sides of military science.
— New York Post

Product Details
ISBN: 9780393354379
ISBN-10: 0393354377
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: June 6th, 2017
Pages: 288
Language: English
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Created At: 10/8/2016 02:35pm
Last Updated At: 4/14/2021 09:01pm