Grunt: The science of humans at war

Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War by Mary Roach explores, from a scientific perspective, the gear, technologies, and methods used to keep soldiers alive, or at least less injured, overheated, starved or thirsted to death, killed by gasses, and so on.

screen-shot-2016-09-18-at-11-12-33-amRoach is a well known and quite funny science writer who also wrote Stiff, Bonk, and Gulp.

This is a fun book, well researched, engagingly written, and informative. Also, off beat. Does human blood really draw sharks? What is the virtue of maggots, medicinally? How does the military test dangerous devices and the protections against them?

From the publisher:

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?

I think you get the point!

Fun book, great bedtime reading.

More like this

Every since I worked at wine merchant in Natick, MA to pay for my tiny apartment during graduate school, I have enjoyed Italian wines. My favorite? Castello Di Gabbiano.  My other favorite? Catello Banfi. Maybe they will both send me bottles for the online plug (hint, hint). My love of Italian…
...maybe as retaliation for killing them off. The last estimate of 71 in 2007 compared to 63 in 2006, continues a four year increase. One of those 71 occurred not 5 minutes from my house. The latest in 2008An Austrian tourist died on Monday after a shark attack in the waters between Fort…
What's different about this than people swimming with Whale Sharks? Fundamentally... probably nothing. However, I think this falls into the lighter shades of gray that the zoo and aquarium world must operate in, and ultimately I'm OK with, for the following reasons: 1. Walrus training is fairly…
As you all have no doubt noticed over the years, I love highlighting the best science books every year via the various end of year lists that newspapers, web sites, etc. publish. I've done it so far in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013,2014 and 2015. And here we are in 2016! As in previous years,…