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tv   Book Discussion on Grunt  CSPAN  August 2, 2016 11:10pm-11:59pm EDT

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>> the state allegiance is very deep it went as far back in generations as there were settlers in the country and i think one has to keep in mind. you can explain the actions of good decent man like robert a. lee and stonewall jackson that fight because virginia needs them, not that they supported the confederate policy or wanted to be in it. >> in her book, "grunt mary roach writes about the science and technology used to improve the effectiveness of soldiers in
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combat prejudice book at a bookstore and corte madera california. this is 45 minutes. [inaudible conversations] >> okay once more if i can have your attention please. can everybody hear me in the back? also if you are in the back and anybody is standing with us a half monitors on tonight. there's a monitor in a café and a monitor by one of the registers of the registers next use of anyone wants to get a slightly better view you can go to the café or that monitor out there. welcome to book passage. i am dana kelly and its size a pleasure to have mary roach back. she's been here for any number of british titles and that's always a pleasure to have her back to book passage.
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"grunt is about what the military has to go through. we are not going to mars tonight. we are going to the front lines and there are some things that i certainly didn't know that you will find out tonight about what the military has to go through in various ways. and i will just mention one which i don't know if mary will talk about tonight. part of the things we learned in this book is how can be a threat to national security. [laughter] agreed. a quick blurb mary roach's legs bit of brilliance -- examines the science behind wars and the researchers leading the charge in the state-of-the-art developments.
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the curious lives of human cadavers and her writing has appeared in about every magazine you could possibly imagine and she is going to be in conversation with their own jeff greenwald. if you are a fan of travel writing jeff is the author of five best-selling books including shopping for buddhas, scratching the surface how "star trek" can't -- conquer planet earth and jeff is on our factory, factory. [laughter] jeff works in our factory. and besides that he is on the faculty of our travel writers conference so there -- if they're in a funny writers and the other tonight you can find out more about july and august and jeff will be on the faculty academy can find out all the information about those before you leave tonight or in her newsletter. without further ado please welcome mary roach and jeff greenwald.
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[applause] >> hi. >> hi. >> i am a few octave lowers. it's not really laryngitis anymore because you can hear me now. yesterday would have been different. we have got tea here and it should be good. >> let's go into it. thanks every for coming and thank you david for the great infection but i'm going to start with this question mary. your work sprouts from very unusual seeds so what gave birth to "grunt? >> actually it was a seed. it was a chili peppers. i was supporting on a peace on
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the world's hottest chili pepper in india and someone told me as a reserve report in on this chili peppers this contest for people who keep this unbelievably hot chili peppers someone said that india and boteri weapon eyes this chili pepper and i thought i really need to report on that soil into this lab the science labs at the indian army maintains and talk to them about the chili pepper which they never deployed because the man's said it was -- so what kind of law and. the exploding chili pepper grenade never was deployed but while i was there there were other interesting things going on. they were working on a leach repellent which was just right up my alley. so that was where the idea came
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from. i thought military science sounds far more esoteric and maybe more approachable than you might think and that is what got the ball rolling. >> that's something i would like to ask you about. europe books are wonderful and scientifically enlightening and they are really funny and kind of breezy a lot of them. if you feel any sort of worry about bringing this lightness or bury sinister humor to the world of soldiers which are kind of sacred in the united states right now. soldiers are heroes and they sacrifice a lot. how did you feel about bringing humor to the subject? >> a lot of trepidation about that and a lot of concern. i have to be me. it has to be a mary roach book. they have to be funny and have some levity. on the other hand like you said this is war and people are injured in many ways and i
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didn't want to be disrespectful or make light of things in inappropriate ways so i tended to make fun of myself as a clueless outsider that i truly was. for example one point i have a chapter on basically how to design a vehicle for the automotive safety. how do you create a vehicle that will would keep the passengers safe if a bomb comes up underneath so they were showing me around this larger armored vehicle and talking about how heavy strip-down. he couldn't just add more armor because it would be to have a bird the engine and the brakes so very stripped down inside today said it's great that you still have cup holders and the guy said mary does her rightful holders. and that happened over and over
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because i'm really not, haven't. >> time in the military and i don't have family. my father was very old. he was 65 when i was born. he looked at his -- he was born in england but lived here and as far as recent training for he got a hernia and that was that for the roach military career. >> so in terms of you being this person who blunders into the situations without knowing much about them you covered some the subject to last almost similar perhaps to "grunt packing for mars where you work inside the nasa space program. was it harder to get access to the military or the space program? >> you would think the military but in fact it wasn't as difficult as nasa. the military was very straightforward.
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it was right up front but if that wasn't classified people were very helpful and willing to help me. the difficulty was it wasn't that people were saying no. no one felt that they had the authority to say yes or you had 15 people and i can't say yes but you have to ask these people and there was a ping-ponging back and forth. it took a year and a half to get on the submarine. it was trying to find a way on there in that case partly partly because i don't want to be on for a few days, not for months. i do like to immerse myself in reporting but it has limits. >> the good news is you can get on but the bad news is you'll be on for 12 months. the beauty in your books is in the details in your details that are unforgettable.
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one of them for me was a new chapter about military uniforms imagine the united states specifications guide is 22 pages long and i was amazed to read that the work choirs clothing designers have a fashion design degree. isn't that an oxymoron? >> you would think so. i was surprised as well and the woman that i was talking about innate design lab where they designed accessories for being a soldier in the clothing, the things you sleep in and the tents and sleeping bags whatever they have a design lab for the uniforms and this woman had a fashion degree and her background was swimwear designed to have thought that makes no kind of sense to me and she said actually if you think about it did does because a bathing suit is for a specialized activity. it's in a specialized environment.
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it's water so it has to give. in fact she felt her background and swimsuit design was approved in the other one had worked for a boston high-end wedding gown. she said here again what is the wedding gown? is layering of specialty fabrics certain marriages would need it. >> would do we learn from your book is something you would think with the a lot of great danger to soldiers like sharks if they go overboard are actually no problem at all but some things don't think about like. gigantic problem, why is the such a great problem for soldiers? >> well let me tell you.
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first of all historically dr. william mosler had a great quote. the father of modern medicine. anyway he was the one who said to soldiers than powder or shot. the mexican-american war said example. seven soldiers died from dysentery and disease. and what would happen he would have these camps and take up the mess tent where you are repairing for an hour for duration and you have a pit latrine and an unbelievable number of flies. the flies are landing in the latrine material and buzzing over to the beams. they land on the craft and they
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inoculate the food would sit there for two hours and the whole camp gets dysentery or yellow fever or typhoid fever or whatever. so it was a tremendous problem. now there is good hygiene on bases. the bases have air-conditioning so the hold dining facility can be sealed. you never have to open the window so there are no flies in the more sub that is not how but it is a doubled if you're in special operations among the guys going out on a small village and you are doing counterinsurgency work. those people are eating with the local and their water and food is often not safe. you can imagine if you were going to take down osama bin laden or whatever your cy was you have the gastrointestinal
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urgency that is dangerous to national security. snagged a baby miracle drugs? >> i went all the way to djibouti africa for the diarrhea chapter. that's just the kind of gal i am. [laughter] a lot of special operations navy s.e.a.l.s etc. going to yemen and somalia and northern africa. i went with the researcher who was testing testing a very quicw dose regimen where you would be back on your feet in a matter of hours rather than days. that is what they were testing . >> top secret. one thing that was interesting in the book is you take for granted that mexico is the poster child for travelers but
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how mexico won that honor is interesting. >> if you go onto a database and all the medical journals most of them anyway and you put in diarrhea and guadalajara you will get 35 journal articles. i feel so sorry for guadalajara. synonymous with diarrhea because the godfather of diarrhea research, honestly this man has done more for counteracting diarrhea, nokia's retire but herbert dupont found out where people are getting sick and he set up a lab in what all hearts university using students and tourists to study subjects and published a lot of papers. >> you think the reason he has never won a nobel prize in medicine because he's embarrassed?
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>> so you just up at one point for this role as a newbie journalist and some of these situations. you were with a group called strategic operations is that the name of that, we had to play a role in the theatrical were seen pit was the role that you played? >> strategic operations is a big movie studio in southern california that is now used for training combat attics and maybe corman in medicine for the marine corps. the films that were made there used to be action films, war films so they are really good at violent gore, loud noises and explosions. they have actors come in and it's hyperrealistic is the word that they use, the trademark word and so these medics and corman these guys were in
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training they are coming in and they are immersed in this scenario that is very intense. they got pyrotechnics and they have dust hits so looks like rifle fire is actually happening. they are after some of whom are amputees who have the latex sleeve on their stump with a accpac that stage blood that is pumped at an accurate. and there's her mode control for the bleeding. if they maybe corman is putting a tourniquet on properly the bleeding is no of -- slow and if it's not from properly it continues to bleed in the actor gets very quiet. meanwhile the instructors are screaming and it's a very intense scenario. hard to get close enough so i could see what was going on i requested a -- and i suggested i
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just play a journalist and i was typecast so that's what i did. >> how did these doctors do in that situation? did they keep their calm and was there recently built confident about their ability to heal? >> there's a difference he trained the first round of experiments and simulations versus the last. the first one was you know there would be a guy who would go to pick up a stretcher and you have to coordinate picking up a stretcher. the other guy on the other end doesn't know the patient falls off so one guy did that twice and another time he stood the wrong way. meanwhile the instructors are yelling and using a lot of words i can't use on c-span2. >> was it fun or where you'd
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terrified? >> you definitely your adrenaline gets going just from the loud noises and the startle response from the guns even though they're not real. that is part of what's important because the writers fight response to get this boost of adrenaline and you need to flight or runaway but if you need to apply a tourniquet or do a decompression if somebody's lawn would collapse that's not helpful for you. ..
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tracks you when you do these but? >> i don't know where they are going to be until i meet them. it suggests they seem to be really interesting people. i had no idea what george would be like. he worked for the department of military. he was a philosophical school who loved nature in all its forms. i should explain they could perform this amazing function which encourages the issue which
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is typically done surgically. they are doing great so they were using maggots at walter reed for some of the injuries. >> exactly, yes. when you talk about soldiers that have been hurt by ied's, i'm sorry -- it's an explosive blasts this debris and sand and
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dirt so they were looking at bringing them into the armory and then try again to get people okay with it. so he had me over for dinner and he said i will have a clutch of maggots especially for you in as those we introduce i got there and we had dinner and i was finishing my wine and he came back with what looked to me like a cut glass bowl with chocolate pudding happily feeding, which is what they do they love to eat. george was saying put a couple of them on my fingertip and
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outside the context when you take them out of the rotting body or whether they are like the size of a cupcake. those little creatures can do what no other can do. so there was a tremendous respect and passion for these little creatures. i didn't know that is what i was getting when i showed up. >> i didn't get any feedback. >> they are some of the most memorable characters in the bo book. among the strangest programs you report on is the army's attempts to create a stink bomb but it
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wasn't really a bomb. >> it is a nonlethal weapon that is a horrible smell used to clear the room like if i had one it's not. it was cross culturally this is what everyone feared. my idea that perhaps the place i should open at the republican national convention. [applause] it is metaphorically writenow
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open. how it's made is the chemical sensor and she works with bad smells and it seems pretty easy. you want to have let's start with a latrine. she traveled around the world with her carry-on bag burnt hair, so sh she had people travl around in the snow them with a pleasant, unpleasant, did you
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find it edible, wearable, and it is hard to find a snowball around the world that somebody would say they find it universally horrible. something like 3% find it wearable. so the one that was hated all over the world as a compound developed for d.o. -- deodorizers. it smelled like open air so that was the starting point because if you want something that is not at all familiar if you can't
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place it, you don't know wha whs it might be dangerous nowadays not only repulsive, it's scary. it's the top notes you get when you take a little sniff because you tend to be tentative. so the top note is fruity and lovely and encourages you. >> so if you are writing a wine description how would you describe it? >> it is a top notes with a robust latrine sent. [laughter] the resulting project. >> you are not easily disgusted
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and that's clear. writing about the wine country or napa or something? >> no. i think probably the closest would be she sent a lot of these files to me. those were gag worthy. they were out on the deck. we were not putting them in the words. [laughter]
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>> the film, i love that film and i've been fascinated by the submarines and the opportunity to go on board. it's fascinating i would say that's the most fun for me to. or you just sort of dogging around? >> no, there were parts. on the tape on the corner there is a printer it was labeled secret printer. i kept hanging out hoping
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something would come in on the secret printer so i could snatch it. i couldn't go in the room because the idea is to stay down a long time. the idea isn't to be seen or heard. it was the food armament so they are just down there for a long time. >> i however was only down for five days a.
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>> there is no deluxe accommodations with. it'if a bedpan and mattress pan. some of them are set up between the nuclear missile silos. it's the university library that's very high silos and very, very quie quiet there's not much going on other than armageddon or nothing, very quiet. so the people burie there get ad nights sleep otherwise for or five bunks so there were the submarines depending how big you were to get out to get back and
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they were that low. the military operates from the uniforms in the submarines to the work they are doing in surgery with your genital injuries. if you were the roach in chief of the armed forces and could suggest one change from which you've seen in the military how something was done what would you tell the president. in the laboratories at the wright-patterson air force base in the '90s. they had an idea if you have a compound that created feelings
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of brotherly love, what i thought you could spray all over the whole front and something would suddenly go why are we here, we are all people. it was the weaponize to homophobia. [laughter] but the first in my head the first version i thought. it's one of those supposed it's sprays they will lie your ideas
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because it creates the fondness. we all went out for dinner. >> t. think anybody notice is that we are pumping in writenow? >> it's great for book sales. [laughter] >> if you could add one more chapter to boo the book what wod it have been? >> i applied and was accepted and i was going with the chaplains corps. they go out with you and units and it then because they are right there in the risk and the
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ability to empathize in the way that other support staff are in ththe above is an interesting approach. periods during the drawdown in the daily journalists they got people to. they were not deploying any time soon.
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i wanted to cover medevac where people are firing it was logistically challenging. i would like to include that. >> before we get to the q-and-a part of the evening we will spend 15 or 20 minutes. when you see these films, you rarely see any of them carrying rolls of toilet paper. so how do the soldiers wipe their butts? >> i'm glad you asked this question. basically, what they do it is from a package from the combat rations.
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it's a lovely -- anybody that buys the book will get some toilet paper and i thought i would just sort of -- [laughter] i have about 2,000 of these and i can't get rid of them all. [laughter] exactly i should bring them to new orleans. >> before we get to the q-and-a. what you talk about in the gift you have for being funny and in the different situations and
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people talk about how hard it is to be such a great writer it's really beautiful and the best written book and i want to add also the final paragraph of the book in what my opinion is the most unlikely antiwar book ever written literally moving to tears. >> i will take the questions and mary will answer it. >> i say let's switch it up, i've been doing this enough. >> please wait for the microphone to come above you. >> this is a suggestion if you get your book signed and have something you think would be very roachable i'm open to
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ideas. >> you will be next, okay, carlton? >> what is the oddest thing you found that you wrote about in your book? >> i've got one. i learned that maggots breathe through their butt. [laughter] they go headed down and immerse themselves in what they are eating like some people at buffet tables, they completely immerse their head and breathe through their butt. thank you for asking that. [laughter]
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several of the books take a lot of research and it takes time to do this research it's not like you can just do it one day. you write your book simultaneously or do you do it one at a time? >> each book is 15 little books. any questions from back in the room? i see a hand in and a sweatshir something. >> i find myself listening to the audible book during meal
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times and before bed. [laughter] leading to some very strange dreams. i wonder if there is something so disgusting you can't even put it in the book? >> not something that was too disgusting. there were a few where my editor crosses it out and says no. [laughter] something that is too gross and others i'm trying to be funny in a place that isn't appropriate so it was nothing that was -- actually there were a couple of descriptions when i was in the operating room with the surgeons that were shoving the images there were a couple of things that she felt were too graphic so there were a couple.
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the sections were pretty disturbing. >> that's good i left those other parts out wha would you sy that your shortcoming is that you work too hard or are you a little too smart. that's the best question ever, too hard, too smart. definitely work too hard. get a life, mary. how are we doing for questions?
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>> what is your educational background? >> i have a ba in psychology. >> my skill as an making them unpaid tutors for hours at a time that's my skill and expertise. sometimes psychologists would say wait a minute. >> what's your favorite animal?
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>> monkeys and chimps. i am a sucker for chips. >> do we have one more question before we get on to the signing part of the evening? >> you with the green sweater. >> all the best questions are from that way. >> the military is not aware of -- [laughter] >> write them a letter. >> this is faster. it's pretty hard-core. they are aware in fact that's where a lot of people carry. >> they are better, faster,
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stronger. the 6 million dollar drug. >> if there are no more questions, i just want to thank you all for coming. [applause] gave us a second to redo the stage if you want to purchase books they are at the registers behind you. take some toilet paper. [laughter]
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hamilton's argument is the war had become a struggle. all the states were fighting together for the liberty of all for the whole country. so he has assumed the death of the 13 states along with the federal debt that will be treated as one and it paid off at the same time. >> a little after seven eastern, author and national review editor on the economic achievements of alexander hamilton and then on real america in 1945 department film documents the final months of
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the campaign against japan including the august 1945 atomic bombings of hiroshima and nagasaki. in the final presidential debate between the democratic vice president al gore and texas governor george w. bush. >> citizens should be allowed to protect themselves and their families. i believe that we ought to keep guns out of the hands of people that shouldn't have them. >> i think that some safety measures are needed with a flawed of handguns that have been working their way into the hands of the wrong people. but all of my proposals are focused on that. >> at eight eastern the contenders, key figures who ran for the presidency and lost but changed political history. the 1928 democratic nominee and governor al smith and sunday the
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1940 nominee wendell wilkie. >> when i was driving up the streets of hoboken, the associate on the new deal tick ticket. [inaudible] patricia bell scott's book explores the relationship between eleanor roosevelt and civil rights activist polly marry. the author discussed her book with nell irvin painter in new york. they are introduced by the director of the public policye


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