An Evening With Mary Roach to Discuss Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War

June 14, 2016

Contact: Jack Baur
Supervising Librarian
Berkeley Public Library, North Branch


The Berkeley Public Library and Bones & Books Presents An Evening With Mary Roach!
Acclaimed Science Writer to Visit North Berkeley to Discuss
Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War

Berkeley, June 15, 2016 – The Berkeley Public Library is thrilled to welcome author Mary Roach to Berkeley to talk about her new book Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War. This book discussion will be Saturday, June 25 at 7:00pm at the Northbrae Community Church, located at 941 The Alameda, Berkeley CA 94707. This special presentation is the latest in an ongoing “Bones and Books” series of literary events with a scientific bent, a collaboration between Bone Room store employees and the Berkeley Public Library. The book was just published by W.W. Norton Co., and was recently featured on NPR’s Fresh Air program. Books are available for purchasing and signing by Mary Roach after the talk.  For more information please call 510-981-6050.

Grunt examines the myriad means the military science has devised to keep human beings intact, awake, sane, uninfected and uninfested in the bizarre and extreme circumstances of war. Mary Roach is not interested in how militaries harm their enemies, but rather how they attempt to keep their own people alive in some of the harshest and most hazardous conditions imaginable. Roach’s questioning touches everything from uniform design to weaponized smells to the dangers of getting diarrhea in the field to amputee actors (who star in films to inure troops to the shocks of serious battle injuries) to the medicinal properties of maggots. Through it all, Roach stands in awe not just of the minds pushing military science forward, but also of the troops – the grunts – who selflessly subject themselves to innumerable dangers and discomforts in the name of national security.

This is a free event, but RSVPs are required! Reserve tickets through Children under 18 should be supervised by an adult. People who are sensitive to military stories or graphic topics are advised to bring a companion. The front row of seats will be reserved for veterans, as well as their families, with military ID, uniform, or other valid documentation.

Roach is the author of several other books of popular non-fiction and “curious” science. Her first book, Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, explored what happens when people “donate their bodies to science” after they die, from being practice for cosmetic surgeons to serving as crash-test dummies. Stiff was a New York Times Best Seller, and one of Entertainment Weekly’s Best Books of 2003. From there, Roach went on to explore the afterlife in Spook, sex in Bonk, space travel in Packing for Mars, and the alimentary canal in Gulp. Throughout all of her books Roach has charmed readers with her enthusiasm for her subjects, her investigative rigor, and her quirky sense of humor. Roach will read from Grunt and take questions from the audience. Following the reading attendees will have an opportunity to buy a copy of Grunt and have it signed.

This free event is made possible by a generous gift from the Pace Trust, in support of the Berkeley Public Library North Branch.

Wheelchair accessible. For questions, to request a sign language interpreter or other accommodations for this event, please call (510) 981-6195 (voice) or (510) 548-1240 (TTY); at least five working days will help ensure availability. Please refrain from wearing scented products to public programs. Visit the library’s website.