Mary Roach (Photo: Jen Siska)
Author Mary Roach, whose books deftly combine popular science and humor, has tackled the afterlife in Spook, cadavers in Stiff, and sex in Bonk. Her newest, Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War (W.W. Norton & Company) salutes the campaign to conquer some of a soldier's most challenging adversaries—including panic, exhaustion, heat, flies, and noise—and introduces the scientists who lead the fight.
Roach offers a look into how she researched and wrote the book, a process in which she discovered that diarrhea can be a threat to national security, zippers are a fashion problem for snipers, shrimp are more dangerous to sailors than sharks, and whether underwear can be bombproofed.
Roach, whose research tour of duty for Grunt included sampling caffeinated meat, sniffing an archival sample of a World War II stink bomb, and staying up all night with the crew tending missiles on a nuclear submarine, has plenty of fascinating war (and science) stories to tell.
Grunt is available for signing.
What’s the definition of chest candy? Or galloping dandruff? Mary Roach takes to the streets of New York to quiz passers-by on a few of the military terms she learned as she wrote Grunt.