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


The Curious Science of Humans at War


Published: 26th October 2016
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The bestselling author of Gulp and Packing for Mars explores the military's odd and obscure adversaries and the scientists who seek to conquer them

grunt • n. informal a low-ranking soldier

At a converted movie studio amputee actors help prepare army medics for the shock and gore of combat wounds, while at the base for anti-terror operations in East Africa diarrhoea threatens national security. Beyond weapons and strategy, this is about the other side of war - how to tackle the challenging adversaries of panic, exhaustion, heat and noise.

From maggot debridement therapy to the slightly tricky ethics of testicular transplants, Roach takes us on a rollicking ride full of insights that fascinate as much as they disgust. Not one to shrink away from the gritty details, she samples caffeinated meat, sniffs archival World War II stink bombs, dodges enemy fire with the Marine Corps' paintball team and stays up all night with the sleep-deprived crew of a nuclear submarine.

Revealing answers to questions you'd never even think to ask, Grunt is the inside guide to the memorable, maddening and brilliant science that seeks to keep human beings intact, awake, sane, uninfected and uninfested on the battlefield.

About the Author

Mary Roach is the New York Times bestselling author of several popular science books. She has written for the Guardian, Wired, BBC Focus, GQ and Vogue. She lives in California.

'Fascinating...The book is a treasure trove of unorthodox thinking and experimentation when faced with the challenge of war...Roach gives a memorable starting point into the topic that leaves readers wanting more.' New York Journal of Books

'Roach's prose is a triumph...A master of synthesis and scene, she unpacks subjects that on their surface might seem boring, disgusting, outrageous, emotionally charged, or morally suspect and infuses them with insight, humor, and humanity.' Boston Globe

'The unflagging enthusiasm in her books, the raw happiness that bounces off the pages, isn't the sort of thing that can be faked.' Seattle Review of Books

'Mostly...she plays things for laughs, and the raw material is irresistible. Take the guys who fire grocery-store chickens at jets on a runway (to study bird strikes). Or the astonishing World War II-era research into disseminating horrible stinks on a massive scale, as a way to demoralize enemy troops. Not to mention the blast-proof underwear.' Seattle Times

'[Roach] approaches her craft with a curious mind and a humorous bent, translating high science into a highly enjoyable read.' Publishers Weekly

'A must read for fans of Roach and for those who relish learning about the secret histories of everyday things.' Library Journal, starred review

'Roach joins Malcolm Gladwell and Steven Levitt in making a career of turning serious research on oddball subjects into bestsellers.' Kirkus

'Roach lightens the scene with her snarky sense of humour and sharp interviewing skills to make uptight military personnel loosen up and share entertaining anecdotes.' Dallas News

ISBN: 9781780749778
ISBN-10: 1780749775
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 288
Published: 26th October 2016
Publisher: Oneworld Publications
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.3  x 2.0
Weight (kg): 0.32
Edition Number: 1