Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War was my introduction to Mary Roach and her “Curious Science” books. I’d heard of Stiff, mainly because I worked in a used bookstore in Austin, TX. It took me a few chapters to get into this book, but I’m glad I did.
I listened to Grunt on CD in my car. Usually, CD audiobooks are read too slowly for me, but it was especially helpful with this book because it was a subject that I had no prior knowledge of.
My favorite section of this book was about how much science and research goes into clothing and fabric design. Roach follows scientists as they put fabric through intense tests to make sure that it will withstand the conditions it will be subjected to in the field. She also notes that the clothing must be stylish as well as comfortable, so that the soldiers will wear their gear willingly.
Overall, this book was cohesive and well researched. I liked that it didn’t feel didactic, especially about such a controversial topic. I’ve never had an interest in war as a topic, but this examination of the science that makes it possible was an excellent introduction to both the subject and Mary Roach’s books. I especially enjoyed listenint to this book and I’ll probably look for Stiff next.