Can I just tell you how much I love Mary Roach? Because I love Mary Roach.
I bought her newest book Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War a few months back as a father’s day present for my dad. My dad an I share a common interest in military history, and this seemed like it would be right up his alley as well – seeing as how he is also a scientist. I’ve read a few of Roach’s books in the past (Stiff was particularly fascinating), and I knew I too would love this book. My original intent was to wait until it came out in paperback to get a copy for myself, but ultimately I ended up lacking the self-control to manage it.
It was worth it. The book’s jacket claims that it will “tackle 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.” And sure, this book does all that – but it does so with a personality. Roach has such a funny, relatable writing style, and she manages to approach even the most gruesome topics with a perfect balance of reverence and wit. Despite its sometimes gross, sometimes tragic, and oftentimes absurd content, Roach keeps things just light enough, and always engaging enough, to keep the reader both interested, educated, and entertained.
Overall Rating: 5/5 stars.
Would recommend to: Anyone, really. Especially if you’re interested in science, in the military, or if you’re just interested in offbeat oddities – this book is really right up your alley.