Grunt by Mary Roach


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 repurpos...

Details Grunt

Release DateJun 6th, 2017
PublisherWW Norton
Number of pages288 pages
GenreNonfiction, Science, War, History, Military, Humor, Audiobook

Reviews Grunt

  • Petra Eggs
    I don't see why so many people are raving over this book. It's a disjointed series of essays giving the research and state of play of various military concerns. All written, as Mary Roach does, in a very populist way with self-deprecating humour inserted so that we know she's just like one of us and not that bright or deep or out of our league (which she probably is. Mine certainly). There isn't the depth I would like in such a serious and intere...
  • Will Byrnes
    The Chicken gun has a sixty foot barrel, putting it solidly in the class of an artillery piece. While a four pound chicken hurtling in excess of 400 miles per hour is a lethal projectile… OK, stop right there. Mary Roach’s latest venture into odd science begins with a notion that would likely raise the hackles and maybe the hopes of Rocky the Rhode Island Red of the film Chicken Run. Yikes!But Rocky would be better off sticking with the usua...
  • Brett Shavers
    Having served in the Marines (the entire time in an infantry battalion no less), reading about military gear and health research had me chuckling more than a dozen times, only because of having spent many nights in the rain, or the snow, or a desert, or a jungle, dealing with crap gear, tasteless food, and health risks. Although much of the book is lighthearted, such as when talking about pooping in the field, the subjects are really life and dea...
  • J.L. Sutton
    Roach has been receiving rave reviews for popularizing (what has been called morbid or gross) science for the last number of years. I had her book Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers on my TBR list when Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War became one of Audible’s Daily Deals. I immediately downloaded Grunt and began listening. I’m not sure how I would have reacted to Roach’s other books, but this one didn’t do it for me. For...
  • Melki
    "An army marches on its stomach." ~ Napoleon Bonaparte"Soldiers fight on their stomachs, but also on their toes and fingers and a decent night's sleep." ~ Mary RoachYep, this is Mary Roach Goes to War.Roach is not Sebastian Junger; she was not embedded, trailing troops into combat zones. That was never her intention. Her book concerns the individuals behind the scenes, those who fight tirelessly to keep soldiers alive. This book is a salute to th...
  • Jay Green
    I have to confess that I didn't find the subject matter as intriguing or original in this book as I have in Mary Roach's previous books. Plenty of other works have covered similar ground (these are the sorts of things that, as a writer, one researches!) and I didn't find a great deal here that I didn't already know or have some conception of. Roach's writing style is as adept and sure as always, but by the end I was hoping for something a little ...
  • Robin
    Roach (quoting the publisher’s description), “…explores the science of keeping human beings intact, awake, sane, uninfected, and uninfested in the bizarre and extreme circumstances of war.” And Mary says, “I'm interested in the parts that no one makes movies about -- not the killing but the keeping alive."I have loved every book Mary Roach has written (STIFF is still my favorite, followed by PACKING FOR MARS) and was waiting with great ...
  • Jim
    With this offering Mary Roach sticks to her usual formula of investigative reporting with a touch of self-deprecating humour. Essentially, she delves into ways that science is used to facilitate warfare and improve conditions for fighting men and women both pre- and post-warfare. Throughout, she maintains an easy conversational tone and relates her findings in terms anyone can understand. I remember thinking that she described some of the physica...
  • Ayushi
    AHHHHHH NEW MARY ROACH!Update: This was almost Gulp-level good. Does not even come close to Stiff, but, what could?
  • Pamela
    Let me start by saying, Mary Roach is one tenacious, iron-stomached, courageous and quirky humored, journalistic writer. She certainly doesn't shy away from asking some very personal, probing questions, delving into some fairly unique and sometimes grossly disturbing topics related to military science, survival, recovery, and endurance. For that, I commend her. She has penned one fascinating, unabashed non-fiction doozie. Indeed, Grunt is a fasci...
  • Lynn
    The science of keeping military personnel alive and intact covers many areas of expertise and I was kind of surprised that Mary Roach got so much access and cooperation. The military representatives' honesty about the science behind catastrophic injury, amputation, hearing loss, dysentery, human stress and panic reactions, sleep deprivation, and the casualties of war was astounding to me. Amazingly, they let her on a deployed nuclear ballistic su...
  • Jim
    Mary Roach is a hoot. In her introduction, she says this book isn't about the typical military stuff. She doesn't shine a spotlight, but is a 'goober with a flashlight' looking around in all the odd nooks & crannies. For instance, she starts her introduction discussing the chicken gun. Yes, it shoots chickens to test how well aircraft & other things stand up to bird strikes. No gory details, just a slightly humorous discussion of bird sizes, dens...
  • Matt
    Roach is back for another scientific look at the world around us, this time honing her attention on the US Military. In ways unique to her, Roach is able to look at various aspects of military life and explore the informative components while injecting little known (or considered) facts about the process. Consider, for example the depth to which the Department of Defence has studied various materials for uniforms, from their flammability, coolnes...
  • Montzalee Wittmann
    Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War by Mary Roach is another wonderful book by a women that tackles subjects and picks them apart for us readers. I have read all her books and love every one of them. The first few books were so funny that I laughed in every one but she has been getting into my serious stuff lately. She still makes reading light where she can but what I enjoy is that she finds things about the subject, in this case, humans...
  • Sarah Shoo
    I first must admit that I've loved Mary Roach's books since I discovered Stiff, so I'm not sure that this is a totally unbiased review. She is able to take subjects that shouldn't be in any way, shape, or form entertaining, and she not only makes them interesting but real and engaging.She goes beyond the obvious in this, and all her books, to find the odd and the obscure. (Where does she find this stuff?! 22 pages of button specifications in the ...
  • happy
    In Grunt, Ms. Roach looks at what the scientists working for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) are doing to support the men and women going in harms way. In her research she visits several DoD research centers and bases. She talks to the people doing the research, those developing the products based on that research and probably most importantly to the people who will be using those products.The first the topic she looks at is how the military...
  • Jody McGrath
    Actually 3 and 1/2 starsNot my favorite Mary Roach novel. Still amazing, I mean it is Mary Roach. I just felt like she could only be a spectator a reporter for this book, whereas, so many of her books she is a huge participant. She did participate when she could, this is Mary, but due to a lot of it being military and government stuff, she could only tell us their stories. Still an amazing book. Mad props to the men and women of the Armed Service...
  • Simone
    New Mary Roach book? If you are a fan of Mary Roach books, this does not disappoint. This book mostly pokes around the hidden underbelly or hidden corners of the military industrial complex, where there are large research budgets dedicated to all kinds of scientific discovery. Roach does a great job reminding people why these things matter. For example, it matters the kind of fabric soldiers are wearing, because it can have serious effects when t...
  • Amanda NEVER MANDY
    My husband purchased this book and he lasted only four chapters. Don’t worry, this is normal. He loves books but doesn’t usually have the patience/time/want to read them all the way through. It used to bother me until I realized I could push him towards books I am willing to read so I can claim them after he abandons them. He happened upon this one after I told him I wanted to give this author a try. This isn’t the book I had in mind off of...
  • BAM The Bibliomaniac
    Maybe more like a 3.5? I cannot believe the military cooperated with the author so willingly! I realize no top secret information was divulged, but still! Also I realized there really isn't one chapter appropriate to discuss at the dinner table. I thought," oh, I can't wait to tell_ this tomorrow night." Then I remembered we would be eating.
  • Krista
    This book is a salute to the scientists and the surgeons, running along in the wake of combat, lab coats flapping. Building safer tanks, waging war on filth flies. Understanding turkey vultures. I've only read one other Mary Roach (Stiff, which I remembered as worthwhile, but rereading my review for it just now, I realise that I wasn't that impressed by it at the time), and Grunt follows the familiar path: Roach is given free access to the scient...
  • Greta
    I have to admit I had never heard about Mary Roach or any of her books before, until my attention was drawn to Grunt, after one of my GR friends rated the book 4 stars. After reading the synopsis and some reviews, I was convinced that I would like this book. And I definitely did. Not because of the humor with which she writes but because I'm the kind of person that hasn't stopped asking "why?" since I was a toddler. Grunt provides a lot of inform...
  • Lamees Al-Habeeb
    I have always been fascinated with wars*, war-related psychology and war-themed artwork: paintings, literature, film, etc. That’s why when the news first came out about this book I was very excited! I literally counted the days leading up to its release. But alas, my excitement was short-lived. I was disappointed; I didn’t find military science to be very interesting. What I got from the book was a clearer picture of what it’s really like o...
  • Lea
    Mary Roach hits it out of the park once again with this one. She's quirky, interesting, and always, always funny. This time she's taking us on an exploration of military science, and boy is it fascinating. Roach asks the questions I think we'd all like to ask, delicately balancing curiosity with a deep respect for those whose lives are on the line -- she has a lot of compassion for military personnel, which in my opinion adds to the charm of her ...
  • Elisa
    Highly entertaining. Not about ballistics but about everyday issues that plague life in the military. Have you ever wondered what happens when a sniper gets diarrhea while stalking a target? Or about sleep depravation, sweat or underwear? This book answers questions that you never even knew you had.
  • Meredith
    This was my first Mary Roach book but will definitely not be my last! I listened via audiobook and learned a lot while having fun at the same time. I'd definitely recommend if you're looking to learn more about what goes into carrying on a war, some of the consequences you may not think of, and just some crazy stuff the Government has tried to develop in the name of war.
  • Katie
    The past few years I have been working slowly but surely through the works of Mary Roach. I find her style to be intoxicating, even if her subjects seem a little outside my own personal interests. When announced that her latest book would be about the science of war I was immediately wondering how her light-hearted and comedy heavy style would work with this subject. Once I realized that she was, as usual, going to focus on the weird eddies of sc...
  • Lorilin
    I honestly never knew war was so...complicated. I don't think I ever considered how important it is for soldiers to have underwear that is lightweight, durable, AND moisture-wicking. Or how damaging birds can be to military aircraft. Or how vital it is to have a good surgeon around when you've experienced lower body trauma. (Yikes.)Grunt is a unique book, to say the least. It would have been easy for Roach to get bogged down in the detailed ridic...