The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine who Outwitted America's Enemies

By Jason Fagone
Read by Cassandra Campbell

13.62 Hours 09/26/2017 unabridged
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    ISBN: 9781538420249

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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 II In 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 told. In 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, Elizebeth 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.

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Summary

Summary

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 II

In 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 told.

In 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, Elizebeth 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.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“This remarkable tale reveals the fundamental role cryptology has played in our past and the untold story of the pioneering woman behind its evolution. It is a treasure of a book.” Nathalia Holt, New York Times bestselling author
“Jason Fagone rights a historical wrong, unshrouding an unsung heroine and revealing the love story at the root of the modern world’s spy games. But this book’s true revelation is the author’s talent: sure-handed, thrilling, and lyrical.” Benjamin Wallace, New York Times bestselling author
“A magnificent work of literary nonfiction that sheds light on an important hidden figure. You will devour this book.” Karen Abbott, New York Times bestselling author
“Jason Fagone is a master storyteller—and he’s telling one damn good story about a long-forgotten American heroine. It is, among many things, the compulsively readable history of the national security state in its infancy. His book is filled with memorable villains, intrigue, and love.” Franklin Foer, New York Times bestselling author
“An engaging resurrection of a significant player in the world of cryptology.” Kirkus Reviews

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Jason Fagone

Jason Fagone is a journalist who covers science, sports, and culture. Named one of the “Ten young Writers on the Rise” by the Columbia Journalism Review, he is a contributing writer to the Huffington Post Highline, and writes for a number of outlets, including GQ, Esquire, The Atlantic, the New York Times, Mother Jones, and Philadelphia magazine. He is the author of Ingenious and Horsemen of the Esophagus, and lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Nonfiction/History
Runtime: 13.62
Audience: Adult
Language: English