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

Welp.  It’s been a while.  And even though I’m in the mountians I kind of managed to make my own Dr. Night (mostly due to Sam texting me – We’re on your favorite episode – so I quickly turned on the chromecast and mostly watched it with them) and now, blaming the altitutde, I got drunk off or way fewer beers than I’m used to getting me drunk… thanks altitude?

I bring you Grunt by Mary Roach because I go between fiction and non-fiction and I literally finished this book today and I freaking love Mary Roach so this is what your’e getting.

The full title is Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War.

The thing to know about Mary Roach is she will take a subject that interests her and then ask all of the questions no one thinks to ask (if you have any interest she’s written books about whether or not there is an afterlife by interviewing scientists who tried to weigh a human soul, there was a book about how the human digestion system works where she explains how people figured shit out and boy is the history there freaking weird (think someone decided that every bite of food should be chewed 100 times weird) and a book about the history of the science of sex which was hysterical and cringeworthy (I read the book for a book club and lets just say none of the men attended that session becuase they didn’t want to think about debridement – for your sake don’t look that up)).

This book focuses the strategy of how to win a war, but not on the battlefiedl, but by being preapred.  Chapters follow things like; how do the uniforms get designed, how the military decided they wanted to fight fucking sharks and how to use smell to fight a war.  Basically she looks at the overlooked parts of how a war is fought from how fire-proof clothing is worn to how they figure out how explosives harm a human body (spoiler alert, they use cadavers) and how to protect peoples hearing (I’ve temporarily lost my words – EAR PLUGS… ear plugs vs a headset system.

I’ll be honest here.  If anyone is interested in getting into non-fiction there are two authors that I tout.  Erik Larson and Mary Roach.  She approaches issues that I’ve never thought about, and if someone just straight up asked me about them, I probably wouldn’t care.  But she isn’t afraid to ask the sometimes silly questions, or to make jokes about startling serious topics.

The footnotes in this are the nonfiction version of Terry Pratchett’s footnotes, which is to say hysterical and sometimes alarming.

I’m going to go into a little more detail here: It was fascinating to get a look into something most people aren’t going to see.  There are labs set up that 

That being said, I don’t think this is her strongest foray into a subject.  Part of that is a personal bias.  I don’t really care about why the military decided to try to fight sharks (the chapter I thought was the weakest) and there were so many names that I tended to stop paying attention to them and just try to understand the personality behind them.

Rating: The rest of this is so jumbled but I’m going to keep all of this stuff more organized.  This gets 4 out of 5 shots.  She still manages to get me to care about a topic I hadn’t really thought about (becuase how many people think about how uniforms

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s