The Woman Who Smashed Codes tells the extraordinary story of Elizebeth Smith Friedman, a codebreaking genius whose work helped win World War II. Friedman was born in Chicago in 1892 and came from a family of accomplished women. She originally wanted to be an actress, but she eventually pursued cryptography instead, learning how to break codes by reading Shakespeare and other classical texts. In 1919, she married renowned cryptologist William Friedman and started working for the U.S. military’s Signal Intelligence Service (SIS). Together with her husband and a team of brilliant colleagues – including Frank Rowlett, who later solved Japan’s “Purple” cipher – Elizebeth helped crack numerous enemy ciphers during World War II, including Japan’s legendary “Green” machine code. Her work played a crucial role in Allied victories at Midway Island, Guadalcanaland many other pivotal moments of the war. After the conflict ended, she continued breaking codes for the National Security Agency (NSA) until her retirement in 1954.’.
For who is this book for ?
This book is for anyone who loves a great wartime spy story, and wants to learn more about the remarkable Elizebeth Friedman.
- The Woman Who Smashed Codes is a fascinating and well-written biography of Elizebeth Smith Friedman, a brilliant cryptologist who played an important role in winning World War II.
- The book provides interesting insights into the world of codebreaking and features many detailed anecdotes about both Elizebeth’s personal life and her professional achievements.
- Jason Fagone has done an excellent job of bringing this overlooked figure to light, and The Woman Who Smashed Codes is sure to appeal to fans of history, espionage or biographies alike
- The Woman Who Smashed Codes is a dense and detailed history book that may be difficult for some readers to follow.
- The story of Elizebeth Friedman’s life is fascinating, but the author spends more time discussing her work as a codebreaker than her personal relationships.
- This book provides an in-depth look at America’s early efforts in cryptography, which may not interest everyone.
Learn more about the author
Jason Fagone is a journalist and author. His work has appeared in The New York Times, GQ, Esquire, Slate, Wired, and other publications. He is the co-author of Invisibles: The Untold Story of African American Athletes in WWII.
“The Woman Who Smashed Codes is an excellent book about a fascinating and under-appreciated woman. Jason Fagone does an admirable job of telling Elizebeth Friedman’s story, tracing her rise from farm girl to cryptography pioneer. The narrative moves quickly and smoothly, never bogging down in jargon or detail.”
“5.0 out of 5 stars The Woman Who Smashed Codes is a book about Elizebeth Smith Friedman, who was a genius cryptographer and helped win World War II. I absolutely loved this book! It had all the elements of a great story – action, intrigue, love and suspense.”
“Absolutely fascinating !”
“The Woman Who Smashed Codes is a riveting tale of intelligence, love, and bravery against all odds. Jason Fagone has written a masterful biography of Elizebeth Friedman, one of the most important – yet little known – figures in American history. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in codebreaking, women’s history, and World War II.”