Bestselling author 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.
©2016 Mary Roach (P)2016 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.
This author has a breezy, cheeky style, which I don't mind so much. However, the narrator's kindergarten-teacher delivery sends the material to a place of absurdity. I couldn't make it past a couple chapters. Better to just read this one.
Grunt is a reporter's view of military R&D. It has a sense of wonder and curiosity that appeals to a general audience, but maybe not if you are a veteran. The narrator does a superb job conveying the author's point of view. You'll learn things about the nuts and bolts of outfitting our military.
I'll always recommend anything by Mary Roach. She always manages to make any subject matter completely fascinating and approachable and makes you care about things you never knew you *needed to care about. However. As others have pointed out - the narrator on this audio just didn't work for me. The delivery seemed too "over-performed"; to the point where it sometimes came off as insensitive, especially regarding some of the subject matter. Mary Roach's subtle sarcasm has always been one of my favorite things in her writing, but I just didn't feel like the narrator could carry it off.
Mary Roach's curiosity about the world inspires me to want to learn more. About anything (as long as she's writing about it).
Eh. Maybe this just wasn't the genre for her, but I'd be pretty hesitant to listen to something else if I knew she was the narrator.
I love Mary Roach's books and was really looking forward to this one. Unfortunately I simply can't get past the narrator. She seems extremely unsuited to this style of book. This is one I'll have to go for the ebook, or even good old fashioned paper back. I highly recommend listening to a sample before you buy this book.
There's is no way I can listen to this. The narrator's gravely voice and strange halting style is quite painful to listen to. I love Mary Roach's books. I haven't had any problems with previous narrators so I pre-ordered this one, assuming that I would enjoy listening to it. Do yourself a favor and don't spend a credit on this one.
Definitely, as long as someone else narrates it.
Any of the previous narrators of Mary Roach's books, or even Mary Roach herself.
A very solid and interesting look at the military and what they investigate scientifically that ISN'T about weapons or artillery. Roach is always a good bet.
Grunt tells the interesting, complex, and often grisly tales of the human body at war. However, I was upset to hear (Although to the author's credit she is very upfront about it) that there wasn't going to be much in the way of philosophical or ethical discussion about the issues, simply the science. The stone cold facts. While this is great, and certainly each chapter could stand alone as an article, I feel like cutting out the moral end of the story by not asking "why do we spend so much money, time, effort, and intellect trying to dehumanize ourselves to make us better at war?" does the overall book a disservice. The book doesn't have to be about this, but I felt the absence of those larger questions the whole time; every time one of her interviewees steered too close to that topic, everything was quickly whisked away back into the realm of the clinical.
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