The Woman Who Smashed Codes
Joining the ranks of Hidden Figures and In the Garden of Beasts, the incredible true story of the greatest codebreaking duo that ever lived, an American woman and her husband who invented the modern science of cryptology together and used it to confront the evils of their time, solving puzzles that unmasked Nazi spies and helped win World War IIIn 1912, at the height of World War I, brilliant Shakespeare expert Elizebeth Smith went to work for an eccentric tycoon on his estate outside Chicago. The tycoon had close ties to the U.S. government, and he soon asked Elizebeth to apply her language skills to an exciting new venture: code-breaking. There she met the man who would become her husband, groundbreaking cryptologist William Friedman. Though she and Friedman are in many ways the "Adam and Eve" of the NSA, Elizebeth's story, incredibly, has never been toldIn The Woman Who Smashed Codes, Jason Fagone chronicles the life of this extraordinary woman, who played an integral role in our nation's history for forty years. After World War I, Smith used her talents to catch gangsters and smugglers during Prohibition, then accepted a covert mission to discover and expose Nazi spy rings that were spreading like wildfire across South America, advancing ever closer to the United States. As World War II raged, Elizabeth fought a highly classified battle of wits against Hitler's Reich, cracking multiple versions of the Enigma machine used by German spies. Meanwhile, inside an Army vault in Washington, William worked furiously to break Purple, the Japanese version of Enigma--and eventually succeeded, at a terrible cost to his personal life.Fagone unveils America's code-breaking history through the prism of Smith's life, bringing into focus the unforgettable events and colorful personalities that would help shape modern intelligence. Blending the lively pace and compelling detail that are the hallmarks of Erik Larson's bestsellers with the atmosphere and intensity of The Imitation Game, The Woman Who Smashed Codes is page-turning popular history at its finest.

The Woman Who Smashed Codes Details

TitleThe Woman Who Smashed Codes
Author
ReleaseSep 26th, 2017
Publisher Dey Street Books
ISBN-139780062430489
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Biography, History, War, Spy Thriller, Espionage, North American Hi..., American History, Autobiography, Memoir

The Woman Who Smashed Codes Review

  • Ollivier
    January 1, 1970
    Anyone interested in the History of cryptography knows William F. Friedman, known as the man who broke Purple the Japanese cipher machine and many things. But who did know that his wife, née Elizebeth Smith, was his equal in cryptographic skills? She created a Coast Guard cryptographic team, broke an Enigma without any help from Bletchley Park, helped expose many Prohibition-era gangs and Nazi spy networks in South America during WWII and worked in tandem with William during WWI. She is as much Anyone interested in the History of cryptography knows William F. Friedman, known as the man who broke Purple the Japanese cipher machine and many things. But who did know that his wife, née Elizebeth Smith, was his equal in cryptographic skills? She created a Coast Guard cryptographic team, broke an Enigma without any help from Bletchley Park, helped expose many Prohibition-era gangs and Nazi spy networks in South America during WWII and worked in tandem with William during WWI. She is as much part of cryptographic history as her husband is.This is her history in that book, I highly recommended it.I knew she was very good but I didn't know she was that good. Thanks to the author for the book, loved it.
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  • Rick
    January 1, 1970
    Immediately added to my favorites shelf. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.The Woman Who Smashed Codes will be compared with Hidden Figures, and that's fair, to a point. Both books have at their core a story of remarkable scientific/mathematic achievement, overlooked because of gender, largely forgotten (until now) as others took credit. But it is so much more, so rich in its account of not only an extraordinary woman, but the time in which she lived, two World Wars and her central role Immediately added to my favorites shelf. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.The Woman Who Smashed Codes will be compared with Hidden Figures, and that's fair, to a point. Both books have at their core a story of remarkable scientific/mathematic achievement, overlooked because of gender, largely forgotten (until now) as others took credit. But it is so much more, so rich in its account of not only an extraordinary woman, but the time in which she lived, two World Wars and her central role in both, the incredible marriage that gave birth to modern American cryptanalysis, that I think it deserves to be evaluated on its own.Even in the hands of a merely serviceable writer, it would be an enjoyable read. But Fagone elevates the story, weaving it into as rich a tapestry as you could hope for. Secondary characters jump from the page just as much as Elizebeth and her husband William; little details transport you to the small, smoke-filled rooms where Elizebeth and her tiny team toiled in obscurity in defense of the country. Fagone firmly establishes Elizebeth Friedman's place in our history, and not only gives her her due, but demands that we reevaluate what we thought we knew about the wars, and the origins of America's intelligence services (nearly all of them have her fingerprints on them), and the people who are given credit for critical milestones in the country's history.This is a magnificent, memorable, important book.
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  • Vicki
    January 1, 1970
    There is so much to think about in this book. Cryptography, women in the workforce, the start of the NSA, World War 1, World War 2, privacy, work, marriage, partnership, humanity, what it means to leave behind a legacy, the dignity of intellectual work, motherhood - and so, so much more. It's a dense read, but today, as we grapple with what it means to be human and to entrust our privacy to machines, and in an era of intense debate about the role of women in technology, it's an important read th There is so much to think about in this book. Cryptography, women in the workforce, the start of the NSA, World War 1, World War 2, privacy, work, marriage, partnership, humanity, what it means to leave behind a legacy, the dignity of intellectual work, motherhood - and so, so much more. It's a dense read, but today, as we grapple with what it means to be human and to entrust our privacy to machines, and in an era of intense debate about the role of women in technology, it's an important read that adds a lot of historical context to the growing rise of the surveillance-industrial complex and the people with good intentions who started it. It's marketed as the same vein as Hidden Figures as a story about women's fight to gain equality in the workplace, and it does that, but it's also lot more complicated than that, and the author deftly covers a breadth of topics, including a detailed description of cryptography, especially during World War II. It does get a bit lengthy in the middle, which is the only reason I took off a star, but I really recommend it for anyone looking to learn about the history of US cryptography and women's role in it.
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  • Jim
    January 1, 1970
    This is in the process of being written. Updates and interesting asides are posted at the url below. http://thecryptologists.tumblr.com
  • Rachel Evans
    January 1, 1970
    History as MysteryA well-written and researched book about a topic few people know about. It read like a spy thriller, making history an intriguing read along the lines of Devil in the White City.
  • Deedee
    January 1, 1970
    Dewey 658.809 or Biography
  • Andréa
    January 1, 1970
    Note: I accessed a digital review copy of this book through Edelweiss.
  • Susan Walker
    January 1, 1970
    This is a must read. The true story is very powerful and really keeps the reader riveted. This well written book has something for everyone.
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