The Woman Who Smashed Codes

The Woman Who Smashed Codes

A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America's Enemies

Book - 2017
Average Rating:
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Traces the life of Elizebeth Smith, who met and married groundbreaking cryptologist William Friedman and worked with him to discover and expose Nazi spy rings in South America by cracking multiple versions of the Enigma machine.
Publisher: New York, NY : Dey St., an imprint of William Morrow, c[2017]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780062430489
0062430483
Branch Call Number: 652.8092 FRIEDMAN
Characteristics: xvi, 444 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm

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scandora
Feb 19, 2018

Excellent, excellent. Easy to read (as the author says, you don't need to understand code to appreciate what Elizebeth did--yes, correct spelling of her name) and hard to put down. I didn't find it at all confusing as another reviewer says. Fagone did a superb job of research and revealing what this mostly unsung heroine did. From the start, he says it's a love story, and it is. But it's more than Elizebeth's love for her husband (equally brilliant at code breaking); it's also her love of this work. Highly recommended.

j
Jenkskitten
Feb 12, 2018

Reads more like a history book than a novel. Techniques on codebreaking given and how that career takes your life. Many details of other people are also included. Not much a story line that flows. Jumps back and forth from present to past, which sometimes confuses the reader. I think it could have been better written and would be more enjoyable from her point of view instead of including the tidbits of so many of the others.

e
EmilyEm
Jan 20, 2018

Fagone tells quite a story about Elizebeth Smith Friedman and her husband William who work on the front lines of defense unraveling codes during the two World Wars and lay the groundwork for the field of cryptology.

Reads like a thriller. Amazing people. Glad author researched and told this mostly hidden story. Amazing.

k
knitter2248
Nov 11, 2017

What an eye opener. So little has been published about our skilled cryptanalysts, mostly because they were never allowed to share any information about their roles in code breaking, but also because Hoover claimed all of their successes as having been done by the FBI.

The book centers around Elizabeth Smith Friedman, along with her husband William, a pioneer in the field, who's career started in WW I, through the Prohibition era, then greatly expanded in WW II. She broke the Enigma machine, possibly ahead of Britain's Bletchley Park..You'll also learn about Germany's South American plans and the spies they had hidden there.

The coverage of WW II is missing a bit, because it took Fagone two years to discover the FBI cover up. I'd like to know more and hope the upcoming book, "Code Girls" will fill in some of the details.

Highly recommended.

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