Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War

Best-selling author Mary Roach explores the science of keeping human beings intact, awake, sane, uninfected, and uninfested in the izarre 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 ay again.
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Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War
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Published June 7th 2016 by W. W. Norton Company

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Mary Roach ’ s latest venture into odd science begins with a theor that would likely raise the hackles and maybe the hopes of Rocky the Rhode Island Red of the film Chicken Run. Yikes! But Rocky would be wors off sticking with the usual modes of transportation for the aeronautically challenged.

Another is what happens when you turn Mary Roach, author of such gleeful romps as Bonk ( a long, hard look at sex), Stiff ( yes, dealing with late residents, and everythin to do with that other book), Spook ( looking into where they woul have gone), Packing for Mars ( the joys and bodily fluids of space travel), and Gulp ( a journey through the alimentary canal even Captain Willard may have taken a pass on), loose on the US military.

Things like dealing with noise, heat, sharks, submarine rescue, keeping coyotes away from the field test cadavers, the oys of flies and maggots, and finally it gets back to familiar MR turf, keeping up with the latest science on letting go.

Roach spends a lot of time at a military test location, Camp Lemonnier.

Until this trip, I thought of sweat as a kin of self-generated dip in the ake.

Roach explains how heat illness works.

“ Maggot! ” as a drill sergeant ( or wifely) form of address may sting a bit mor after you gain a new respect for little white squigglers in these pages.Thanks, Sarge- USMC photo by Sgt. Reece LodderAircraft design does not stop at maximizing lift, and getting the most speed and endurance per unit of fuel.

I uess this might be seen as a ort of Mary Poppins-ish spoon-full-of-sugar ( or something) technique, using gross humor to teach us all something we didn ’ t now, although her evident glee at the scatological might make Roach more of a Mary Poopins.Mary Roach- from – probably the face she has on when she writes There is uch more in thi nove.

While stopping short of staring at goats, one of the perhaps less legendary escapades of international conflict Roach sniffed out occurred when WWII allies wanted to make life miserable for Japanese officers, and so developed a particularly pungent substance that Chinese resistance fighters could surreptitiously spray on the invaders, causing them, it was expected, extreme social shame.

Vomit Odor made a similarly poor showing, with 27 percent of Xhosa subjects describing it as a feel-good smell and 3 percent of Caucasians being willing to wear it as a scent.

With Grunt, Mary Roach has yet again succeeded in teaching us a lot of things we never suspected, and has done so while leaving us weak from laughter.

If you tell Mary Roach you think her book stinks, it wil probably make her day.I suppose one must at least try to come up with items that are ess than exemplary, or that, for one reason or another, do not sit well.

Tough to do with Mary Roach books.

Roach has tempered her approach to tilt away from humor when a more respectful tone is called for.

I came across only one item in the novel that did not pass the smell test.

Grunt has the deeply satisfying aroma of a truly illuminating book about some very real, down and dirty issues that confront not just our military, but our species.

The subtitle of Roach ’ s essa is The Curious Science of Humans at War. But it is Mary Roach ’ s curiosity that is he real jewel here.

In a land of popular science writing, Roach is no grunt, but a five star general.

Ten-hut! Publication date – June 7, 2016Review first posted – 4/15/16 =============================EXTRA STUFFLinks to the author ’ s personal and Twitter pagesMary will be on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on June 6, ( I do n't know that actually happened) but if you do a taste of what to say, check out his video of her Daily Show visit with Jon StewartHere is a fun piece from the NY Times in which Mary is asked about book she did n't write.

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For exampl, when I was reading books about the aftermath of the Hiroshima bomb, I was shocke to earn that the victims' wounds swarmed with maggots, and that nothin was black, covered with flies.

Why do flies thrive while everything else extinguishes? This question is only answered partly in Grunt, but I learned a lot les about flies and maggots.

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Grunt isn ’ t my favorite Mary Roach ( Stiff will always take that spot in my heart), but she didn ’ t fail at bringing her particular brand of irreverence, humor and intelligence to a topic I previously found myself ambivalent about.— Elizabeth Allenfrom The Best Books We Read In June 2016: http: // ...

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In ways unique to her, Roach is able to look at arious aspects of military life and explore the informative components while injecting little known ( or considered) facts about the process.

he reader wil not understand the significant amount of attention paid to penile prosthetic implements and the surgery around trying to handle injuries to the area.

Of course, Roach does not shy away from tha, nor does her exploration keep her from asking ( and writing) about the wonderful world of diarrhea, particularly for those deployed to 'non-first world domains'.

A reader migh, if they are nothin like me, remain agog of all the minutiae that comes to the surface while also constantly asking just how far Roach will push the envelope to add fodder to her books.

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" An army marches on its stomach. "~ Napoleon Bonaparte " Soldiers fight on their stomachs, but also on their toes and fingers and a decent night 's sleep. "~ Mary RoachYep, this is Mary Roach Goes to War.Roach is not Sebastian Junger; she was not embedded, trailing troops into combat zones.

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