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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 | Jason Fagone
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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LaurenReads
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Pickpick

An amazing book about an amazing woman. Elizebeth broke codes of smuggling rings, maxi spy rings and, along with her husband, helped develop the science of cryptanalysis. #audiobook #nonfiction

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LibraryCin
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Mehso-so

This was good. It was interesting to learn about the history of cryptology and even more interesting that a woman was at the forefront of it! I listened to the audio, and while the narrator was fine, and mostly I was kept interested, my mind did wander occasionally. I think that‘s why I sometimes forgot who was who and why I kept my rating down just a bit from the 4 stars I‘d like to give! Cont in comments...

LibraryCin I would recommend this be read in print, though, as there is plenty I think I would have liked to have seen on a page rather than heard read out to me. Apparently, there was an “enhancement” to the audio that should come with the audio, but not via my library (though I have had one other book in the past from the library that came with a pdf I could (and did) download to look at graphs and charts). 6mo
10 likes1 comment
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Books_n_Whatnot
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This book is just so quotable. Do your own digging!

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Books_n_Whatnot
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succinct & colorful

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Books_n_Whatnot
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Pickpick

Top-notch research from Jason Fagone! I appreciated the references and notes. This book took Elizebeth and William Friedman‘s story (already engaging) and revealed it masterfully. Well-balanced between their technical careers and private life. Much like Elizebeth, this book is not fussy. Some authors get caught up in emphasizing ‘firsts‘ for women, but Fagone did history justice without distracting from the achievements of the individual.

Books_n_Whatnot @scale-shark really nailed this rec. Right up my alley 6mo
scale-shark I'm so glad you liked it!! 6mo
6 likes2 comments
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Bookish_B
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The books I picked up at my friend's wedding (which was in a bookstore) Saturday night. She told me we could shop for books while there but I wonder how many people actually have at any of the weddings that have been held there ...? 🤔😂

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ElectricKatyLand
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Fascinating biography of Elizabeth Friedman, codebreaker extraordinaire who helped thwart the Nazis.

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mrslamping
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As always, I checked out way too many books from the library and I can‘t renew them because someone requested them. So here‘s to trying to knock all these out in the next 4 days!

Sharpeipup I do the same thing! 9mo
8 likes1 comment
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Creadnorthey
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Pickpick

Pretty good listen- I rarely do audio books- definitely in the same league as “Garden of the Beasts” - some fantastic history and cool stuff you never would think of in light of the bang-bang war movies out there. All this was great yet where it failed as an audio listen was when it got too technical with cyphers and numbers... just a jumble in my mind... this book gives props to ink and paper in more ways then one!

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DebinHawaii
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A little morning non-fiction reading (& a cat nap) in bed before I officially start the day. The tagged book isn't in this picture as I was reading it one-handed with my Kindle & had to set it down to take the pic, but Max?wanted me to post it to tell all of his Litsy friends, "Happy Saturday/Caturday!" ?He says that he thinks print books are better for scritches, but he likes when his mom has a hand free to use as a pillow.?
#catsoflitsy ?❤️

BookBabe 😻 10mo
SandyW I love it when my kitties sleep on me, however that manifests itself. 😻 10mo
mcipher Hi Max!! 💚💚 10mo
See All 6 Comments
ValerieAndBooks Hello Max 💖! 10mo
Cinfhen Max😻😻😻 10mo
rubyslippersreads My handsome Max! 😻😻😻 10mo
125 likes6 comments
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Lea
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Pickpick

This was so well written. Her life is so interesting and full of adventure it seems like you‘re reading fiction. This is an amazing account of her life. A good compliment if you read Code Girls. Definitely recommend. #herstory

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Nitpickyabouttrains
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Pickpick

I loved this non fiction about spy craft. The work of one couple changed the course of World War Two. Only recently has Elizabeth‘s work been acknowledged.

ElishaLovesBooks This sounds fascinating! Stacked! 13mo
20 likes1 stack add1 comment
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DebinHawaii
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#ReadingResolutions #MaleAuthor

Three books by male authors that I am currently reading or that are coming up in my #TBR pile for June.

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DebinHawaii
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Returned books to the library today and renewed the bottom book since I barely started it and really want to read it. I also picked up my holds on the top two books. I'm excited for "Into the Black Nowhere"--the follow up to "Unsub" and looking forward to delving more into the life of Elizabeth Friedman, a WWII code breaker, in the tagged book. I'm hopping it is as good as "Code Girls!" ??

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AKinderman
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My audiobook selection for today's #readathon while I run. @DeweysReadathon

9 likes1 stack add
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ohloulu
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as all good books do...

BeneLatuit How do you blur the text that isn‘t the quote? Very cool. 14mo
ohloulu I used the focus feature that Litsy has to edit photos! 14mo
7 likes2 comments
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Aims42
Pickpick

Such an interesting read! I live a town over from where Elisebeth Friedman got her start. I have ridden my bike past her old stomping grounds for years and never knew the significance. 5/5 stars from me!

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CherryPie
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Tagged one of my current 28 reads.
Enchiridion is my fave book.
Most used emoji: 👍.
Fave word: Sand. Go pound some. You got none. Excellent barefoot beach walks.
Surprising thing about me: I talk a lot or not based on present company, apparently.
Animal lover. 2 tiny dogs and 1 large cat.
Cold coffee. Twice daily.
Book title describes me: True Git, no typo. Or, True Grit, The Woman Who Smashed Codes and The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.

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Aims42
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The hubs bought me some Valentine‘s Day flowers and they‘re just so pretty with my book and my wine 😍🌹💖

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Aims42
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Starting my next read 🤓

hermyknee Great photo! 1y
Aims42 @hermyknee awww thank you! 1y
hermyknee I‘m really looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this book - I‘m thinking about getting it on audible with my next credit! 1y
Aims42 @hermyknee I‘ve heard good things, so I‘ll definitely keep ya posted 😃 1y
26 likes4 comments
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Erynecki
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Pickpick

I loved this fascinating book about the life of Elizebeth Smith Friedman and her journey from young Quaker schoolteacher to cryptographer. People like my Dad and his parents owe their lives in large part to the role of code breakers who helped change the tide of the Second World War. Hats off to Jason Fagone for his eminently engaging account of this remarkable woman‘s life.

Suet624 Sounds great! 1y
15 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Aims42
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My family gets me 100%; books & coffee. What more do you “really” need? 💖💖💖 #greatbirthday #lovemyfamily

RebelReader Happy Birthday! 🎂🎉🍾 1y
Aims42 Thank you, @RebelReader ☺️☺️☺️ 1y
megt Happy birthday! 1y
DebinHawaii Happy Birthday!! 🎉📚🎂🎁🎈 1y
Aims42 Thanks so much for the happy wishes @megt and @DebinHawaii 💖💖💖 1y
24 likes5 comments
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SassenachTheBookWizard
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Pickpick

How crap! How did I never learn ANY of this in school?! So freaking interesting and such an enjoyable read!

Annl Somehow I do not think the focus on school was on women heroines! 1y
IamIamIam They never teach you the real interesting stuff! I recently read an article about how female spies would send messages in code through their knitting during World War 1 also! This looked fascinating, though. I stacked it! 🤣 Great find! 1y
SassenachTheBookWizard @Annl it is called his-story and not her-story 1y
Hrhadrienne I went to school 3 blocks from the place where the Tulsa Race Riots happened. Never heard of it until 2 years ago. 1y
SassenachTheBookWizard @Hrhadrienne oh wow! We have tons of people in Canada just finding out about all the residential schools right now. It's amazing how much gets cut out! 1y
140 likes20 stack adds5 comments
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SassenachTheBookWizard
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*wiggling butt* IM SO EXCITED TO START THIS EAUDIOBOOK...though I just KNOW I'm gonna get angry about sexism and women ignored in history.

Tjackson I bought this recently, but I haven‘t started it. 1y
TheSketchyReader Just shelved it and it makes me angry too. One of the best books I read during the last year or so was Hidden Figures. 1y
drokka Thank you. My library doesn't always have these right away, but they did this time. 1y
GarthRanzz This is on my TBR. Just need to get into the mood for non-fiction. 1y
TamAnder This is already waiting on my TBR table in our study. Looking forward to hearing how you review it. 1y
120 likes12 stack adds5 comments
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Expandingbookshelf
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Pickpick

I love nonfiction books about unsung women so “The Woman Who Smashed Codes” is right up my alley. In her early 20s Elizabeth Smith went to work for an eccentric millionaire who tasked her with finding hidden messages in Shakespeare‘s First Folio. Soon she was asked to put her language skills up to a new challenge-codebreaking. Her work brought down gangsters and Nazis and led to the creation of the NSA. I was completely riveted for 500 pages

5 likes3 stack adds
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Expandingbookshelf
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Damn, Edna! It is COLD going for your sister‘s crush. But I respect your game, girl.

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Expandingbookshelf
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If I have to shovel one more thing, I will scream #everythinghurts

Notafraidofwords Seriously. I wouldn‘t mind the snow if I had loads of money to just pay some company. 1y
Expandingbookshelf @Notafraidofwords seriously! I‘m so sore right now 1y
10 likes2 comments
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laduper
Pickpick

Loved this book! What an incredible life.

1 stack add
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KimHM
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Whoo! Look what‘s on sale! 💙⭐️ #generalinterest

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amie
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Mehso-so

This would have been a fine book, probably a pick, if for no other reason than the subject matter, but there were a couple small details that were off-putting enough that I'm downgrading to so-so, especially in comparison to Code Girls. I did not care for the inclusion of certain intimate details from letters and journals that to me were gratuitous and unnecessary/irrelevant. Read Code Girls if this topic interests you.

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amie
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I just finished listening to Code Girls, and I'm continuing the theme with this one.

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ablachly
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Cool. So in related news, Elizebeth Friedman was brilliant, and I‘M STILL MAD.

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ablachly
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Oh good, another “unsung” woman written out of history to get mad about.

kgriffith YESSSSSSSSS! Here I am appreciating your Litsy use. And your book choice, at that. 2y
3 likes1 stack add1 comment
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UnabridgedTomes
Pickpick

Got this for my grandma for Christmas, and read it first. You know, as quality control. It‘s nonfiction that reads like a thriller. Highly, highly recommend this.

7 likes1 stack add
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MrBook
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#TBRtemptation post 3! In 1912, a brilliant Shakespeare expert, Elizabeth Smith, went to work for an eccentric tycoon at his Chicago estate. He asked her to apply her language skills to something new: code-breaking. She met her future husband, cryptologist William Friedman. Their work led to the NSA's creation. She brought down gangsters during Prohibition and Enigmas and Purple during WWII. #blameLitsy #blameMrBook 😎

WarpedSweetness I love your posts! I add soooo many books to my TBR list because of them! Lol 2y
85 likes15 stack adds1 comment
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Melissa_J
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This is the book I‘m currently crushing on!

Thanks so much for the giveaway @Cinfhen #crushingongiveaway #payitforward

Cinfhen Ooh, another book that sounds fascinating!!! 🙌🏻💕thanks for playing along 🤓 2y
Andrew65 @Cinfhen I agree, I need to check this book out. 2y
40 likes3 stack adds2 comments
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mizzelle
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#RiotGrams Day 4 My "current read" from the library is Jason Fagone's "The Woman Who Smashed Codes". I saw the author's thread on twitter. I'd encountered the Friedmans before at a Folger exhibition on cryptography.