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Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War
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W. W. Norton & Company 2016
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Description

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.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
06/07/2016
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780393245455
ASIN:
B016APOD1K
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Mary Roach. (2016). Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War. W. W. Norton & Company.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Mary Roach. 2016. Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans At War. W. W. Norton & Company.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Mary Roach, Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans At War. W. W. Norton & Company, 2016.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Mary Roach. Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans At War. W. W. Norton & Company, 2016. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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shortDescription

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,...

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title
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fullDescription

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.

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reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Washington Post
      • content: A mirthful, informative peek behind the curtain of military science.
      • premium: False
      • source: Entertainment Weekly
      • content: [Roach] takes on the challenges the military faces to keep its fighters safe and healthy with her trademark flair (and zingy footnotes).
      • premium: False
      • source: Boston Globe
      • content: 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.
      • premium: False
      • source: Los Angeles Times
      • content: [Roach] writes exquisitely about the excruciating....wildly informative and vividly written
      • premium: False
      • source: Seattle Times
      • content: Roach...applies her tenacious reporting and quirky point of view to efforts by scientists to conquer some of the soldier's worst enemies.
      • premium: False
      • source: San Francisco Chronicle
      • content: 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.
      • premium: False
      • source: New York Post
      • content: Covering these topics and more, Roach has done a fascinating job of portraying unexpected, creative sides of military science.
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        April 4, 2016
        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.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        April 15, 2016
        A cannon fires grocery chickens at parked jets, testing ways to protect planes against bird strikes. Readers encountering this esoteric project on the first page will settle back to enjoy another patented scientific romp, this one on battlefield research, by journalist Roach (Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, 2013, etc.)."For every general and Medal of Honor winner," writes the author, "there are a hundred military scientists whose names you'll never hear. The work I write about represents a fraction of a percent of all that goes on. I have omitted whole disciplines of worthy endeavor." Roach reveals many of these names, however, along with the stories of their quests to shield soldiers from harm and, if this fails, repair the often gruesome results. Traveling from proving ground to lab to expensive, realistic fake battle settings, the author recounts and often participates as researchers search for better ways to protect soldiers from bullets, burns, explosions, noise, heat, sharks, insomnia, drowning, and disease. If all fails, the military wants to correct the consequences with better prostheses and surgical reconstructions of mutilated or missing body parts. Roach joins Malcolm Gladwell and Steven Levitt in making a career of turning serious research on oddball subjects into bestsellers. But while Gladwell and Levitt aim to stimulate readers with unusual connections among subjects, Roach, the author of Stiff and Bonk, is mostly seeking laughs. She restrains herself when it's inappropriate (an admirable chapter on repairing damaged penises) but never resists easy targets (blast-resistant underwear, the macho approach to diarrhea) and works hard to find humor wherever she turns. When material runs thin, the author inserts breezy anecdotes, descriptions of her surroundings, the scientists' physiognomy, and the sufferings of a journalist willing to try anything. Battlefield R&D is a topic too fascinating to ruin, so readers who can tolerate the author's relentless flippancy will not regret the experience.

        COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: School Library Journal
      • content:

        December 1, 2016

        Roach does it again. Amid all the debates about the military-industrial complex in our country, its impact on medicine, invention, and other scientific pursuits is often overlooked. Roach interviews those in science-related military careers, employing her cockeyed sense of humor and awing readers with what she uncovers. (http: //ow.ly/PN4C305MyAa)-Jamie Watson, Baltimore County Public Library

        Copyright 2016 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from April 15, 2016
        Roach is a rare literary bird, a best-selling science writer, and her irresistible if often unnerving subject is the human body and how it reacts to all that we put it through, from eating (Gulp, 2013) to sex (Bonk, 2008), space travel (Packing for Mars, 2010), and, in her latest, war. Roach avidly and impishly infiltrates the world of military science to discover what measures are taken to protect combatants against perils ranging from bomb blasts to food poisoning to sleep deprivation. Roach's unerring instinct for astounding stories and her delight in sketching quick and vivid portraits enliven every page as she delves into military history, presents eye-popping facts, conducts interviews under chaotic circumstances, and offers herself up as a participant in medical studies involving the military's attempts to minimize the threats of noise, heat, germs, and panic. Roach gamely participates in a combat trauma-management course for future medics in a former movie studio, witnesses penile reconstructive surgery, talks to special operators in Camp Lemmonnier in Djibouti about the hazards of diarrhea, learns about maggot therapy and stink bombs, and spends a night in a nuclear submarine. As in her previous adventurous inquiries, Roach is exuberantly and imaginatively informative and irreverently funny, but she is also in awe of the accomplished and committed military people she meets, a feeling readers will share. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Roach's renown and readership grows with each book, and her newest will be promoted via early outreach, lots of media, and a national author tour.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2016, American Library Association.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        Starred review from May 1, 2016

        Roach's (Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers) latest exploration of the science behind ordinary things is an insightful look into the lives of soldiers--not the stories in the news but untold tales, such as how people on submarines sleep. This book covers a variety of questions that follow the author's curiosity: for example, how prevalent is food poisoning and diarrhea among special ops soldiers? How do you make and test clothing that resists rain but is breathable enough in 100-degree heat? How do medics learn the scent of a punctured intestine? Though these topics seem wide-ranging, Roach strings them together in a cohesive narrative that is delightful and quick. The only part that is at all out of place is the chapter on shark repellant, which, although interesting, seems unnecessary. Those who listened to the 99% Invisible podcast will recognize some characters from episode 191, "The Worst Smell in the World." VERDICT A must-read for fans of Roach and for those who relish learning about the secret histories of everyday things.--Cate Hirschbiel, Iwasaki Lib., Emerson Coll., Boston

        Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        January 1, 2016

        Having investigated sex, death, and preparing for space travel, New York Times best-selling Roach applies her thorough--and thoroughly entertaining--techniques to the sobering subject of keeping soldiers not just alive but alert and healthy of mind and body during warfare. She does so by playing ball with the U.S. Marine Corps Paintball Team to understand issues of survival and hearing loss under fire, for instance, and visiting the fashion design studio of the U.S. Army Natick Labs, where she learns that zippers are bad news for snipers.

        Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        May 1, 2016

        Roach's (Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers) latest exploration of the science behind ordinary things is an insightful look into the lives of soldiers--not the stories in the news but untold tales, such as how people on submarines sleep. This book covers a variety of questions that follow the author's curiosity: for example, how prevalent is food poisoning and diarrhea among special ops soldiers? How do you make and test clothing that resists rain but is breathable enough in 100-degree heat? How do medics learn the scent of a punctured intestine? Though these topics seem wide-ranging, Roach strings them together in a cohesive narrative that is delightful and quick. The only part that is at all out of place is the chapter on shark repellant, which, although interesting, seems unnecessary. Those who listened to the 99% Invisible podcast will recognize some characters from episode 191, "The Worst Smell in the World." VERDICT A must-read for fans of Roach and for those who relish learning about the secret histories of everyday things.--Cate Hirschbiel, Iwasaki Lib., Emerson Coll., Boston

        Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

subtitle
The Curious Science of Humans at War
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1648
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