Saturday, June 11, 2016


Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War by Mary Roach
W.W. Norton & Co.: 6/7/16
eBook review copy; 288 pages
ISBN-13: 9780393245448

Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War by Mary Roach is a fascinating, entertaining, and very highly recommended look at how military scientists try to make combat more survivable for soldiers. This is a must have book for fans of Roach's many other books.

Roach covers a variety of topics with insight along with humor. She's not looking at military action, but rather at the many subjects that scientists research to enable soldiers to survive,stay awake, sane, uninfected, and basically healthy. This isn't, like all of Roach's books, for the squeamish. She takes an entertaining yet informative look at, for example, diarrhea, shots below the belt, penile reconstruction, and the use of cadavers and maggots in research. Other topics discussed include the importance of military fashion, the effects of hearing loss, stink bomb research, and how the use military uses chicken guns. There are even more topics covered. Oh, be sure to read the footnotes too.

The chapter headings include a brief description of the information/topic the chapter covers.
Chapters include:

SECOND SKIN: What to wear to war
BOOM BOX: Automotive safety for people who drive on bomb
FIGHTING BY EAR: The conundrum of military noise
BELOW THE BELT: The cruelest shot of all
IT MIGHT GET WEIRD: A salute to genital transplants 
CARNAGE UNDER FIRE: How do combat medics cope?
SWEATING BULLETS: The war on heat
LEAKY SEALS: Diarrhea as a threat to national security 
THE MAGGOT PARADOX: Flies on the battlefield, for better and worse 
WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU WILL MAKE YOU REEK: A brief history of stink bombs
OLD CHUM: How to make and test shark repellent
THAT SINKING FEELING: When things go wrong under the sea
UP AND UNDER: A submarine tries to sleep
FEEDBACK FROM THE FALLEN: How the dead help the living stay that way


Disclosure: My advanced reading copy was courtesy of the publisher for review purposes.

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