Wednesday, June 8

Harvard Book Store Presents (Past Events)Special Events Archive

Mary Roach

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Mary Roach discusses Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War

in conversation with DEBORAH BLUM

This event includes a book signing.

$5 Tickets on sale May 17 at 9am. Online pre-sales (ticket + book) on sale now at Unable to attend? Order the book(s) or pre-order a signed copy from Harvard Book Store. No Brattle Passes.

Harvard Book Store welcomes bestselling author MARY ROACH and Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist DEBORAH BLUM for a discussion of Roach’s latest book, Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War—an exploration of the science of keeping human beings intact, awake, sane, uninfected, and uninfested in the bizarre and extreme circumstances of war.

About Grunt

hbs-roach-bookGrunt 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.


“A rare literary bird, a best selling science writer . . . Roach avidly and impishly infiltrates the world of military science. . . . Roach is exuberantly and imaginatively informative and irreverently funny, but she is also in awe of the accomplished and committed military people she meets.” —Booklist

“Mary Roach is one of the best in the business of science writing. . . . She takes readers on a tour of the scientists who attempt to conquer the panic, exhaustion, heat, and noise that plague modern soldiers.” —Brooklyn Magazine

“Having investigated sex, death, and preparing for space travel, New York Times best-selling Roach applies her thorough—and thoroughly entertaining—techniques to the sobering subject of keeping soldiers not just alive but alert and healthy of mind and body during warfare.” —Library Journal

“Roach…applies her tenacious reporting and quirky point of view to efforts by scientists to conquer some of the soldier’s worst enemies.” —Seattle Times

hbs-blumDeborah Blum

Deborah Blum is a Pulitzer-prize–winning American science journalist, columnist, and author of five books, including The Poisoner’s Handbook (2010), and Love at Goon Park (2002). She is a former president of the National Association of Science Writers, was a member of the governing board of the World Federation of Science Writers, and currently serves as vice president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Blum is co-editor of the book A Field Guide for Science Writers, and in 2015, she was selected as the fourth director of the Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT.

hbs-roachMary Roach

Mary Roach is the New York times best-selling author of five works of nonfiction including Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary CanalPacking for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void, and Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. She lives in Oakland, CA.

Photo Credit: Jen Siska