Day: June 13, 2016

“Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War” by Mary Roach

“Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War” by Mary Roach c.2016, W.W. Norton $26.95 / $34.95 Canada 285 pages BOOK REVIEW by TERRI SCHLICHENMEYER Thank you for your service. You’ve said that many times recently, and meant every word to every soldier. Thank you for keeping us protected. Thank you for your bravery. Thank you for your sacrifice. And once you’ve read “Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War” by Mary Roach, you’ll also thank those who serve our servicemen and women. Chickens are not ducks. Nevertheless, chicken carcasses are what the U.S. Military uses to test its equipment to ensure that it’s safe from “birdstrike,” which describes those instances when flying bird (duck, goose, even starling) meets flying machine. Birdstrike kills more than just birds, so the military needs to know its equipment can handle feathered foes – therefore, it uses a “chicken gun” to shoot pullets, not bullets. And that, says Mary Roach, “is most of what I have to say about guns.” Instead of focusing on artillery and battles in “Grunt,” she focuses on the fight to keep our troops comfortable, hydrated, healthy, and alive. While it might seem easy, for instance, to outfit many thousand people in identical clothing, what our troops wear is a kind of weapon. The U.S. government hires fashion designers to develop uniforms that are weather-appropriate, as fireproof as...

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