Code Girls
In the tradition of Hidden Figures and The Girls of Atomic City, Code Girls is the astonishing, untold story of the young American women who cracked key Axis codes, helping to secure Allied victory and revolutionizing the field of cryptanalysis.Recruited by the U.S. Army and Navy from small towns and elite colleges, more than ten thousand women served as codebreakers during World War II. While their brothers and boyfriends took up arms, these women moved to Washington and learned the meticulous work of code-breaking. Their efforts shortened the war, saved countless lives, and gave them access to careers previously denied to them. A strict vow of secrecy nearly erased their efforts from history; now, through dazzling research and interviews with surviving code girls, bestselling author Liza Mundy brings to life this riveting and vital story of American courage, service, and scientific accomplishment.

Code Girls Details

TitleCode Girls
Author
ReleaseOct 10th, 2017
PublisherHachette Books
ISBN-139780316439893
Rating
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, War, World War II, Historical

Code Girls Review

  • Cynthia
    January 1, 1970
    Though I've long been interested in the WWll code work all my reading up until now was about Bletchley Park and the work the Brits did so Code Girls was a welcome addition to my ongoing quest for understanding of this topic. The focus stays firmly on the women's perspective which was a welcome though often frustrating outlook. The often very young women, new college grads or even teenagers, accomplished amazing things while getting little credit. Sometimes the men fulfilled strereotypes of how w Though I've long been interested in the WWll code work all my reading up until now was about Bletchley Park and the work the Brits did so Code Girls was a welcome addition to my ongoing quest for understanding of this topic. The focus stays firmly on the women's perspective which was a welcome though often frustrating outlook. The often very young women, new college grads or even teenagers, accomplished amazing things while getting little credit. Sometimes the men fulfilled strereotypes of how women were treated at this time (and even today) but in other instances there was a surprisingly level playing field as all ideas were welcomed from the youngest to the most mature minds and from the highest ranking to the non ranging civilians. There was one shared goal: to find out what the enemy was up to so they could save American and Allied lives.There's a nice balance between the women's work and home life though the two were fairly mixed together since the women shared living quarters and tended to invite their male cohorts over for parties or meals. It was easier that way with less fear of saying the wrong thing to outsiders. Don't get me wrong the youthful high spirits were more focused on work than home or romantic life. I found this book inspiring and it was refreshing to read about the American code breakers.Thank you to the publisher for providing an advance reader's copy.
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  • Julie Barnard
    January 1, 1970
    My mother was in the Navy during World War II during code breaking; she was at Terminal Island near Long Beach in Southern California. She had been a classics major in college, studying Latin and Greek. The book was fascinating and made me wish that I could talk to her and ask the dozens of questions I never did.
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  • Joy Smith
    January 1, 1970
    This story--and the identities of the code girls--was classified for years. It's a fascinating look at our history and how these incredible and intelligent women helped us win the war. Their work of decoding and translating Japanese and German communications (and others) had to be kept secret so our enemies couldn't learn why our military so often was able to destroy u-boats and ships of all kinds, and it helped us on the islands that the Japanese held. Back in the day women weren't encouraged t This story--and the identities of the code girls--was classified for years. It's a fascinating look at our history and how these incredible and intelligent women helped us win the war. Their work of decoding and translating Japanese and German communications (and others) had to be kept secret so our enemies couldn't learn why our military so often was able to destroy u-boats and ships of all kinds, and it helped us on the islands that the Japanese held. Back in the day women weren't encouraged to go to college, to study math, the sciences, and other languages, so many of the women were recruited from colleges and schools, including teachers; most of these women had persevered--working hard--to get an education. And they weren't told what their work would be when they were first approached, but they were eager to help in the war effort and looked forward to the opportunity--whatever it was. And they could never reveal to anyone, including family and friends, what they were doing; they kept the secret for years.The stories of the women and their working conditions are interwoven with the history of the war, including the rivalry between the Navy and the Army who had their own cryptography departments; the author does an amazing job of making this an interesting read. There are updates and a long list of acknowledgments and a bibliography that hint at the research she did. There is romance and tragedy and the horrors of war. This is a must read because the history of these women and the war and the aftermath should not be forgotten any longer.
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  • Rick
    January 1, 1970
    “Code Girls” by Liza Mundy was a delightful story, and one not told before. This book joins that genre that has been abuilding about barely known or almost forgotten groups – often women – whose untold or rarely told stories show how much they have contributed to the progress of our nation. For example, the book (by Margot Lee Shetterly) and movie (Hidden Figures) about the African-American women who helped advance the space program. Other narratives such as those on the Tuskegee Airmen and WASP “Code Girls” by Liza Mundy was a delightful story, and one not told before. This book joins that genre that has been abuilding about barely known or almost forgotten groups – often women – whose untold or rarely told stories show how much they have contributed to the progress of our nation. For example, the book (by Margot Lee Shetterly) and movie (Hidden Figures) about the African-American women who helped advance the space program. Other narratives such as those on the Tuskegee Airmen and WASP women aviators fill the same category. Code Girls is a World War II tale of 10,000 some women being recruited to act as code breakers (using cryptanalysis) which enabled the Allies to know of enemy plans and strategies before they occurred. Both the U.S. Army and Navy used Code Girls: the Army as civilians at Arlington Hall and the Navy as commissioned officers and enlisted personnel in the WAVES at the Naval Annex; both locations were close to Washington DC.The book was sent to me through a Goodreads Giveaway. Well researched and written on a personal level, this was an engaging narrative. Recommended.
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  • Biblio Files
    January 1, 1970
    Code Girls is a terrific oral history and more. Liza Mundy, a journalist, interviewed dozens of people, scoured government documents, studied contemporary newspaper and journal articles, and tapped a wealth of books, videos, and web pages to tell the previously untold story of the hundreds, possibly thousands, of women who cracked codes during World War II. Many were recruited from universities, some hired on with the U.S. Government, some joined the WACS or WAVES. They moved to the Washington, Code Girls is a terrific oral history and more. Liza Mundy, a journalist, interviewed dozens of people, scoured government documents, studied contemporary newspaper and journal articles, and tapped a wealth of books, videos, and web pages to tell the previously untold story of the hundreds, possibly thousands, of women who cracked codes during World War II. Many were recruited from universities, some hired on with the U.S. Government, some joined the WACS or WAVES. They moved to the Washington, D.C. area and lived in government housing or shared quarters with other code breakers. Mundy tells the history of wartime code breaking in the U.S. and describes some of the methods that were used. She follows the progress of the war and some of the women who worked long hours doing meticulous work, knowing that solving the ciphers quickly was critical and could mean life or death to troops halfway around the world. For many years they were anonymous, taking seriously the pledge of non-disclosure the government swore them to. When the cone of silence was finally lifted, many were still reluctant to talk, and sadly, many had died. Mundy talked with many of the women, and with surviving family members of others, was given access to letters and journals, and to the many colorful memories so many of the women had.I enjoyed reading about the decoding processes and the evolution of codes during the war, as well as the more personal side of the women's stories. Mundy dug up fascinating details such as what the women did during their free time (one group of women bought a sailboat and spent their free time floating on the Potomac), the attitudes of the civilian and military men to working with so many women, and what the women did after the war.A well researched and thoroughly documented account of a story that has too long been untold.(Thanks to NetGalley and Hachette for a digital review copy.)
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  • Leslie Anderson
    January 1, 1970
    Code Girls has very interesting moments, but unfortunately they end suddenly and return to repetitive convincing that women were important in breaking codes. Now I think this story deserves to be told but the book was good when we met one of the girls, like Dot and had a chance to hear her story. It is unfortunate that this was followed by chapters of history book excerpts from the the female perspective before we heard the story of another girl. To be honest I was disappointed because I love th Code Girls has very interesting moments, but unfortunately they end suddenly and return to repetitive convincing that women were important in breaking codes. Now I think this story deserves to be told but the book was good when we met one of the girls, like Dot and had a chance to hear her story. It is unfortunate that this was followed by chapters of history book excerpts from the the female perspective before we heard the story of another girl. To be honest I was disappointed because I love the idea of highlighting these women but wanted to see their story not be told a bunch of facts about them.
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  • Julie
    January 1, 1970
    The writing was wonderful, the narratives of the women and their path to code breaking was remarkable. It was inspiring to read how WWII was really only won because of women. Some of them had fascinating stories and apparently Bill Nye's mom was one of the codebreakers! The sexism, the condescension, the struggle to get by in an expensive area during wartime with an income higher than could be expected in other lines of work, but still not great. It was incredible. My only complaint was the form The writing was wonderful, the narratives of the women and their path to code breaking was remarkable. It was inspiring to read how WWII was really only won because of women. Some of them had fascinating stories and apparently Bill Nye's mom was one of the codebreakers! The sexism, the condescension, the struggle to get by in an expensive area during wartime with an income higher than could be expected in other lines of work, but still not great. It was incredible. My only complaint was the format of the story. It jumped around in time, to different locations, to different women. One woman's story is used as the over-all arc of the book, but it was sporadic when she'd reenter the story and it was hard to keep track of each department and the women in it and what exactly they did that's different from other departments. I would've loved if it was more clearly broken down chronologically or by departments so it was easier to follow and keep straight.
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  • Darcysmom
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley for free in exchange for an honest review. Liza Mundy has written a compelling, well researched history that reads like a novel. The women who were recruited to do cryptanalysis during World War II were an extraordinary group who were intellectual, committed to the war effort, and able to take the lead and break codes that laid open the communications of the German and Japanese armed forces. It is not hyperbole to say that these women were instrument I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley for free in exchange for an honest review. Liza Mundy has written a compelling, well researched history that reads like a novel. The women who were recruited to do cryptanalysis during World War II were an extraordinary group who were intellectual, committed to the war effort, and able to take the lead and break codes that laid open the communications of the German and Japanese armed forces. It is not hyperbole to say that these women were instrumental in the Allied forces winning the war.This book should be required reading for everyone! It is important to see these women finally getting the recognition they deserve. In the notes and sources, there is a treasure trove of information that can be easily accessed, including oral histories! Code Girls should go to the top of your to be bought and to be read lists!
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  • Jill
    January 1, 1970
    In the same vein as "Hidden Figures", this history of the female codebreakers that contributed significantly to the progress of WWII is long overdue. The author interviewed a number of the codebreakers and their families and researched the topic extensively when the previously classified information was finally declassified. The codebreakers were sworn to silence while employed and for many years afterwards; in most cases their husbands and families had no idea of the importance and complexity o In the same vein as "Hidden Figures", this history of the female codebreakers that contributed significantly to the progress of WWII is long overdue. The author interviewed a number of the codebreakers and their families and researched the topic extensively when the previously classified information was finally declassified. The codebreakers were sworn to silence while employed and for many years afterwards; in most cases their husbands and families had no idea of the importance and complexity of the job the young women were doing during the war. It was generally believed that they had fulfilled some menial clerical function.The author incorporates personal information from a number of the "code girls" and factual information on many others. Women were responsible for many of the most important code breaking accomplishments during the war, and their efforts definitely helped the U.S. to win the war on both fronts. They actually learned of the Japanese surrender before many in the government and military did!Women were recruited from colleges and universities, and many had been trained as teachers, one of the few occupations available to educated women at the time. They underwent extensive screening and training to ensure that they were fit for the work. They arrived in Washington, D.C. in droves and were housed in hastily constructed rather Spartan accommodations. The work was scheduled 24 hours a day, and housing was so limited that it wasn't uncommon for multiple girls to use the same bed. They were housed and fed, and provided with a wage that was more than any of them could ever had made as teachers; nevertheless their pay rate was still 25-30% than men doing the same work. It was an exciting time to be in the Capitol, and the women also had lively social lives, some of them being courted by multiple men in uniform and all of them maintaining a steady correspondence with one or more men who were serving the country.The technical information relating to the strategy and tactics of code breaking was quite detailed, but somewhat inscrutable to me so I skimmed quickly some of those sections; suffice it to say that it required an extreme amount of organization, attention to detail, a mathematical orientation, razor sharp memories and ability to see patterns, both small and large.I found the book quite riveting, with enough personal detail to enliven the story, and enough technical detail to establish just how serious and demanding their work was. I can definitely imagine that a movie will be made of this exciting and interesting chapter in our nation's history.
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  • Bridgett Brown
    January 1, 1970
    I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway.The women who were recruited to do cryptanalysis during World War II were a group who were intellectual, committed to the war effort, and able to take the lead and break codes of the German and Japanese armed forces. This was a awesome true story. I loved reading about these women. I would highly recommend this book for anybody who likes to read stuff based on real life events.
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  • Lori
    January 1, 1970
    This well researched book signifies a period of war where momentous changes occurred. And, I thought it interesting the way the story was told in flashbacks at times before WWII to show these differences.It was apparent that artistic hobbies were considered a good sign of code breaking. Schoolteacher's and young college women were looked at closely for code breaking, as they were often unmarried, and able to adapt more easily. Women interested in serving, freely took an loyalty and secrecy oath. This well researched book signifies a period of war where momentous changes occurred. And, I thought it interesting the way the story was told in flashbacks at times before WWII to show these differences.It was apparent that artistic hobbies were considered a good sign of code breaking. Schoolteacher's and young college women were looked at closely for code breaking, as they were often unmarried, and able to adapt more easily. Women interested in serving, freely took an loyalty and secrecy oath. Even though, at that time, they were not clear on the exact purpose as to why they were being recruited. Women felt it important throughout the war to do their job well, while still doing everything in their power to keep up the morale of the men.This is cleverly written. It shows life was moment to moment. This story pointed out the humor, romance and betrayal during wartime, and the way loss was honored. The study of coding and mention of false and non carrying addition and looping was entirely intriguing. As was the deciphering and deception program's with real traffic and fake traffic. These 'Code Girls' had great loyalty, discipline and focus. Many women took these secrets to their graves. And we see the turmoil and struggle of this life altering decision that helped lead to the wars end and our nation's gain. I felt this book was a excellent read and do highly recommend it.Reviewed ARC for Net Galley
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  • Nate Morse
    January 1, 1970
    Advanced Review Copy.... Book to be released in October.The best way I can describe this book is to imagine wandering around a museum of Code Breaking during WWII and seeing different exhibits. You learn about what the codes were like and how they are formed, you then learn about some women who did were asked to do the work of code breaking, then you learn about architecture of the buildings they stayed in, then about different women and how they spent their of time.... and so forth. It is well Advanced Review Copy.... Book to be released in October.The best way I can describe this book is to imagine wandering around a museum of Code Breaking during WWII and seeing different exhibits. You learn about what the codes were like and how they are formed, you then learn about some women who did were asked to do the work of code breaking, then you learn about architecture of the buildings they stayed in, then about different women and how they spent their of time.... and so forth. It is well written and interesting, but it seems disjointed at time as it switches focuses often and doesn't move chronologically. So overall, a very interesting history about how cryptography in America is built on the backs of women, but rarely were recognized of that fact.
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  • Lindsay Williams (Bibbidi Bobbidi Bookworm)
    January 1, 1970
    I was provided with a free copy of this book by NetGalley and Little, Brown in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.I first discovered my interest in studying World War II in college as a result of an energetic college professor. My interest grew with each and every historical novel I read that was set during that time period...and every Google search that led me down a rabbit hole of information as a result of each of those books. However, Code Girls is my first work of nonfic I was provided with a free copy of this book by NetGalley and Little, Brown in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.I first discovered my interest in studying World War II in college as a result of an energetic college professor. My interest grew with each and every historical novel I read that was set during that time period...and every Google search that led me down a rabbit hole of information as a result of each of those books. However, Code Girls is my first work of nonfiction that I have explored about the subject of WWII.Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers Who Helped Win WWII is a thorough history of the United States military's recruitment of intelligent young women to break enemy codes during World War II. While many of the country's men were fighting overseas, over ten thousand women at home were working long hours in secrecy to determine the content of enemy messages, despite the fact that they received essentially zero credit for their efforts.Liza Mundy tells the stories of those women. Code Girls is the result of incredibly extensive research, and Mundy weaves together the stories of the efforts the women made and the technological advancements that occurred as a result with vignettes of their personal lives that help readers understand the humanity and diversity of the women involved. At the same time, Mundy also demonstrates that the culture of the United States at the time was one that expected very little of its women beyond marriage and motherhood, and the work the code breakers did also helped the women win more respect and independence than they had ever experienced before.Mundy's book is broken into sections, each one focusing on a different aspect of code breaking. For example, one section goes into detail about the secret letters that the military sent out to the first women it recruited received, another focuses on the U.S. Army's code breaking efforts, another details the U.S. Navy's work with code breaking, and another describes the work the code breakers did at the end of the war. Throughout the different sections of the book, readers learn a great deal about the housing options the code girls had, their extracurricular activities, and the different breaks they made along the way.Code Girls is not necessarily a book that a reader will want to devour in one sitting. This is an incredibly interesting book that contains a wealth of information, but it's best read in sections, because it is also a fairly lengthy book that covers a LOT of territory. In fact, I read this book one chapter at a time over the course of several weeks, but I know that I will enjoy coming back to revisit some of those chapters in the future. At times, all the different names can tend to get jumbled together, but not in a way that makes the book confusing at all. Instead, Code Girls is an excellent historical resource, and I learned more about women in WWII AND the details of WWII itself from this book than I think I ever did from a history course.I particularly enjoyed the story of Dot Braden Bruce, and Mundy includes details of her work and personal life from the beginning of the book to the end, helping tie the entire history together. By sharing details of the women's lives and then including information about what each of them did after the war, Mundy helps turn this nonfiction history book into a series of stories about real women who made a real difference in the war but were never really acknowledged, until now.The impact these women had on the outcome of WWII is undeniable. As Mundy says, "During the most violent global conflict that humanity has ever known--a war that cost more money, damaged more property, and took more lives than any war before or since--these women formed the backbone of one of the most successful intelligence efforts in history, an effort that began before the Pearl Harbor attack and lasted until the Second World War's very end." Unfortunately, the secrecy of their work and the prevailing attitude that women weren't as capable as men at the time kept their value from being known.Thankfully, Code Girls is here to remind us that American women have been much more powerful than history has led us to believe.
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  • Sahitya
    January 1, 1970
    I love reading well written history books and my interest mostly lies in politics or WWII. However, my knowledge about the Second World War has been limited to Nazism, the Holocaust and the occupation of Paris. This book covers a new aspect of the war for me – an American women’s perspective. Many men have been recognized and celebrated for the parts they played in the Allied victory and all of them were well deserved. However, what we never realize is the extent of involvement of women in warti I love reading well written history books and my interest mostly lies in politics or WWII. However, my knowledge about the Second World War has been limited to Nazism, the Holocaust and the occupation of Paris. This book covers a new aspect of the war for me – an American women’s perspective. Many men have been recognized and celebrated for the parts they played in the Allied victory and all of them were well deserved. However, what we never realize is the extent of involvement of women in wartime activities and how they have never been appropriately appreciated. This book gives a small glimpse into the lives of some such women code breakers who played a crucial part in the war.This was a time when women wanted to get educated, even in unusual fields like math and science but didn’t have many job prospects because all the “important” jobs were required for men. This forced even highly intelligent and capable women to settle for low paying teaching jobs, sometimes in remote places with no facilities. But the war changed everything. All the healthy men were needed to fight the war from the frontlines and it was only the women who were left and they had to be engaged in intelligence activities to support the forces and gain advantage over the Axis powers. This books tells the story of how highly intelligent women graduates were picked from colleges and also school teachers who were tested and shipped to DC. They were sworn to an oath of secrecy, mostly had to learn cryptanalysis on the job and get to work immediately. They played a crucial role in the battle of Midway, the attack and killing of Japanese commander Yamamoto who was responsible for Pearl Harbor and the sinking of many enemy ships. Their code breaking skills were highly responsible for cutting off supplies to the Japanese troops in the Pacific and create a diversion that helped the Allied forces in the D-Day invasion of Normandy.The book describes a lot of technical details about code breaking in the initial days and might be very interesting for readers of the profession. It explores the relationships that these amazing women forged with each other and in some cases maintained their whole life. But the author is also able to show us how these women were affected by the war – they were happy when they helped in the defeat of the enemies, satisfied with saving the lives of their countrymen but also devastated when their own family members sacrificed their lives. Their aspirations, friendships, vulnerabilities are captured well in the book. At the same time, the stereotypes and misogyny they faced is also quite clearly captured.What happened to these women after the war is worth noting and mentioned in the last chapter. Most of the women had to settle as homemakers because the jobs were for men and they couldn’t disclose their code breaking activities. Some women did manage to go back to college and become professionals in other fields. Nothing would ever be the same for them though. However, some women managed to remain in the code breaking profession. But most of them remained close to each other because only they understood.I feel proud and privileged to read about these women. We should appreciate what they did in times when women were not considered capable of anything other than being housewives and mothers. They have made it possible for us to pursue our dreams and prove that women can be anything they want to be. I salute these amazing women for their work and it’s time they are all celebrated. And I thank the author for bringing their story to us.PS: I thank Hachette books and Netgalley for providing me an ARC of the book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Heather
    January 1, 1970
    This story about the "clandestine mail reading" business during WWII is a pleasure to read and very much in keeping with the recent spate of books about women's contributions to American history. The book begins with a bit of background on the history of American cryptanalysis, which gained steam after WWI. Then came the unprecedented scale-up after Pearl Harbor, and the work that went into cracking the Japanese codes. I got a bit bogged down trying to understand the minutiae of how messages are This story about the "clandestine mail reading" business during WWII is a pleasure to read and very much in keeping with the recent spate of books about women's contributions to American history. The book begins with a bit of background on the history of American cryptanalysis, which gained steam after WWI. Then came the unprecedented scale-up after Pearl Harbor, and the work that went into cracking the Japanese codes. I got a bit bogged down trying to understand the minutiae of how messages are encoded, and then how cryptanalysts worked backwards to try to gain entry into enemy messages. Mundy did a good job of explaining the process, but I hope that the final version of the book includes some pictures or illustrations to help readers understand (I read a pretty basic advance copy). I was very interested in the ways that the intelligence departments gained information in a sideways manner, for instance studying the patterns of communications traffic and the stylistic format of the messages. I wish that there had been more about code breaking in the European theater, but breaking Enigma appears to have been done primarily by machine rather than through human analysis. I was fascinated by the use of communications traffic to create a phantom army to confuse the Germans about D-day. I love that we got to follow several women closely through the entire war, and that Mundy included detail about their personal lives as well as their war jobs. Mundy's writing is clear and readable, and the story she tells is first-rate. I got a little bit confused jumping back and forth between the Army and Navy code breakers, and back and forth in time, but Mundy generally provided enough context and detail to get me back on track. These were incredible women who helped provide desperately needed information to win the war.FYI, I received a free advance copy of Code Girls through www.netgalley.com.
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  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    Code Girls is an interesting history of the role women played in intelligence work during World War II. Code breaking was tedious and difficult, and women were the backbone of the entire US cryptanalysis operation. Hired from a range of backgrounds, the women profiled in Code Girls had the unenviable task of figuring out what the enemy was saying and how they were saying it. Liza Mundy effortlessly weaves the necessary background information on the various ciphers and codes used by Nazi Germany Code Girls is an interesting history of the role women played in intelligence work during World War II. Code breaking was tedious and difficult, and women were the backbone of the entire US cryptanalysis operation. Hired from a range of backgrounds, the women profiled in Code Girls had the unenviable task of figuring out what the enemy was saying and how they were saying it. Liza Mundy effortlessly weaves the necessary background information on the various ciphers and codes used by Nazi Germany and Japan with tales of the lives of women dedicated to cracking those codes. Although this is the best overview I have read of cryptanalysis work during the war, Code Girls is not without it's faults. The personal impact this work had on the women was mentioned but seemed glossed over. Further, the book had an obvious and inescapable message that could be off-putting to readers who prefer their history without social commentary. There is no denying that women played a huge role in the overall success of the Allies, but there was also no need to constantly say so. Overall, I really liked Code Girls. The book will seem familiar to anyone who has read Hidden Figures or Rise of the Rocket Girls; the men were sent to war, and the women worked in their place despite much hand-wringing from certain factions of society. As war wound down, women were "encouraged" to leave the workplace and the US military paid the price in a loss of expertise and the literal expense necessary to train their replacements. The struggles these women faced in the workplace resonate today; women still fight to receive equal pay and equal recognition for their work. The few minor issues I had with Code Girls did not detract from my enjoyment of the book, and I would recommend this to anyone with an interest in the roles women played during WWII.I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Karen Lewis
    January 1, 1970
    CODE GIRLS is a comprehensive (432 page) look at the way that American women came to the forefront of WW2 code breaking efforts. Those who love WW2 history and the early days of code (prelude to the modern computer industry) will find many interesting facts and profiles about those who served during WW2. This book is a gift to the future because the author relies on oral histories of women who served as well as countless recently-declassified documents.The women code breakers toiled desperate, l CODE GIRLS is a comprehensive (432 page) look at the way that American women came to the forefront of WW2 code breaking efforts. Those who love WW2 history and the early days of code (prelude to the modern computer industry) will find many interesting facts and profiles about those who served during WW2. This book is a gift to the future because the author relies on oral histories of women who served as well as countless recently-declassified documents.The women code breakers toiled desperate, long hours without much recognition due to the fact that the work remained classified "top secret" for decades after war's end. American cryptographers in both Army (civilian corps) and Navy (WAVES and civilians) focused mainly on the Pacific/Japanese ciphers. That said, a cadre of code breakers coordinated efforts with Bletchley Park assembling an ultra-secret "Bombe" installation in Dayton, Ohio, where they toiled around the clock to crack the next-generation Enigma ciphers.I especially liked following specific code breakthroughs and places on the map that are mentioned in this book. Deciphering Japanese codes (or failing to do so) directly affected allied victories/defeats in the Pacific. While reading CODE GIRLS, I excavated my father-in-law's log book of where he was stationed in the Pacific (as a USN photographer's mate). This gave me a deeper appreciation of the vivid historical moments that comprised WW2. Without the code breakers, the outcome would have been different. CODE GIRLS is also a useful source for those who want to study emerging roles of women in the workforce, a topic that author/journalist Liza Mundy has researched extensively. Women in the 1930s-1940s who left traditional home life and jumped into the workplace opened doors for sisters in future generations. Ask your mothers, grandmothers, aunts where they lived/worked during WW2 - might open up some interesting family history. This review is based on an ARC from NetGalley.
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  • Judy
    January 1, 1970
    This is the remarkable story of the American women who were recruited during World War II to serve as code breakers. The American government through the Army and Navy were looking for the best and brightest women to train for these secretive jobs. College seniors, recent graduates and school teachers were among those that were targeted for these positions. The women came from many different backgrounds and parts of the country and all descended on Washington, D.C. to be trained as code breakers. This is the remarkable story of the American women who were recruited during World War II to serve as code breakers. The American government through the Army and Navy were looking for the best and brightest women to train for these secretive jobs. College seniors, recent graduates and school teachers were among those that were targeted for these positions. The women came from many different backgrounds and parts of the country and all descended on Washington, D.C. to be trained as code breakers. Their diligent work was responsible for saving many lives and helping to bring the war to a close. A tremendous amount of meticulous research went in to the writing of this book. It was very interesting and I had no idea about the thousands of women who contributed to the war effort by working as code breakers. It is definitely time that this story was told and these women are given the credit they deserve. Thank you to Hachette Book Group and Goodreads for the gift of this book which I received in a giveaway.
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  • Lori
    January 1, 1970
    Liz Mundy has written a well researched and documented story of the women who helped win WWII. The Navy and the Army recruited hundreds of women from universities and the teaching profession to become code breakers. Their work, particularly in breaking the Japanese codes, played a vital role in saving American lives and in winning the war. This book tells the story of a few women in particular, and gives a fascinating view of the not only their working world, but war-time life in general. I foun Liz Mundy has written a well researched and documented story of the women who helped win WWII. The Navy and the Army recruited hundreds of women from universities and the teaching profession to become code breakers. Their work, particularly in breaking the Japanese codes, played a vital role in saving American lives and in winning the war. This book tells the story of a few women in particular, and gives a fascinating view of the not only their working world, but war-time life in general. I found it a tad dry in a few places, but overall very interesting. I had never heard anything about this at all, so found it quite a fascinating tale. My dad was a code breaker in the Navy during WWII, and I so wish he was still here so I could discuss this book with him. Many thanks to NetGalley and Hachette Books for the ARC. 4 stars! Excellent history!
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  • Patricia Reding
    January 1, 1970
    It should come as no surprise to learn that woman played extraordinary roles in assisting the U.S. armed forces during WWII, but having an actual account of some of the roles they played is quite unusual. Liza Mundy offers, in Code Girls, an interesting history of the (primarily young) women who helped to break the communications codes of the axis powers. I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about these women and especially appreciated the account of how they set up entirely false units and commun It should come as no surprise to learn that woman played extraordinary roles in assisting the U.S. armed forces during WWII, but having an actual account of some of the roles they played is quite unusual. Liza Mundy offers, in Code Girls, an interesting history of the (primarily young) women who helped to break the communications codes of the axis powers. I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about these women and especially appreciated the account of how they set up entirely false units and communications to assist with keeping the plans for the Normandy landing on D-Day a secret from the enemies of the U.S. and its allies. For anyone interested in code-breaking in general, and in learning more about these times, I highly recommend Code Girls.
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  • Diane
    January 1, 1970
    Code Girls is a great read for anyone, but especially those interested in code breaking, World War 2 history and feminist history. The achievements of these women in breaking Axis codes saved many lives and influenced the outcomes of battles in the Pacific and Europe. Sworn to secrecy, these women who had been recruited from elite Eastern universities and Southern teaching colleges, toiled in hot, crowded office space and lived in barracks in Washington D.C. Code Girls finally tells their story Code Girls is a great read for anyone, but especially those interested in code breaking, World War 2 history and feminist history. The achievements of these women in breaking Axis codes saved many lives and influenced the outcomes of battles in the Pacific and Europe. Sworn to secrecy, these women who had been recruited from elite Eastern universities and Southern teaching colleges, toiled in hot, crowded office space and lived in barracks in Washington D.C. Code Girls finally tells their story in fascinating detail. Moving and often amusing anecdotes are recounted by the "girls" themselves. I read an advanced reading copy, but I hope the final version has photographs; it would be interesting to see some of the people who we learn so much about!
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  • Jen Juenke
    January 1, 1970
    I liked the premise of the book, Female code breakers in World War II. Yet the author meanders so far into left field that there is an entire chapter on letters between one female and a boyfriend. The information was there and it felt like the author was just scraping the surface of the information out there. I believe that the book would have been better if it had centered on 3 to 4 code breakers instead of throwing names and places at the readers. Overall, a disappointing book that had promise I liked the premise of the book, Female code breakers in World War II. Yet the author meanders so far into left field that there is an entire chapter on letters between one female and a boyfriend. The information was there and it felt like the author was just scraping the surface of the information out there. I believe that the book would have been better if it had centered on 3 to 4 code breakers instead of throwing names and places at the readers. Overall, a disappointing book that had promise.
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  • Amanda-Has-A-Bookcase
    January 1, 1970
    I received this ARC for an honest review. Rated 4 stars hands down! This book reads at times like a text book but with personal stories layered in it became an easy and interesting read. Since these codebreaking jobs were top secret these ladies never got the accolades that they should have. I loved reading about them & the job that they willing did.
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  • Claire
    January 1, 1970
    Fabulous book. Amazing story of the thousands of code breakers who never breathed a word of their accomplishments. It is also a story of war time Washington. I pass by Arlington Hall frequently. I never had any idea of the history that occurred there. These women were magnificent.
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  • Linda
    January 1, 1970
    This book presented anecdotes about the individual code-breakers and World War II history in a somewhat random fashion, but the material was fascinating, and the author had obviously done extensive research.
  • E
    January 1, 1970
    Fascinating and an enjoyable read. Highly recommended
  • Leanne
    January 1, 1970
    An absolutely fascinating look at the work these women did during WWII. Very well researched and written.
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