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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, Elizebeths 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 nations 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 Hitlers 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 Enigmaand eventually succeeded, at a terrible cost to his personal life. Fagone unveils Americas code-breaking history through the prism of Smiths 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 Larsons 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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alysonwrites
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Well here‘s historical validation for the same way I decided to celebrate my birthday today—sleeping in. When you are bone tired, THAT IS THE CELEBRATION. Woo-hoo! 😴🎉

Soubhiville Happy Birthday! I hope the extra sleep helped. 2d
alysonwrites @Soubhiville Thank you! 💕 It did. Reading a good book is also helping. ☺️📖 2d
5 likes2 comments
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rsteve388
Bailedbailed

I bailed on this I wasn't getting into it. I think it maybe the format, I was listening to via audiobook.

wanderinglynn Have you read Code Girls? I‘m listening to the audiobook now & enjoying it. Sounds like it might be similar to this one, but Code Girls takes a broader look at the women who helped cracked the codes during WWII. 1mo
rsteve388 Hmm I haven't. Seems interesting. I'll give it a shot. 1mo
16 likes2 comments
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rsteve388

#NFNov Points have been counted! A couple of announcements.

1.) If I left a note that asks if you finished or if this is a TIL please let me know. Sometimes it isn't apparent to me and I want to ensure I give everyone their full points.

2.) Sign ups are closed. I am gonna take down the sign up sheet.

Happy Reading!

erzascarletbookgasm What‘s TIL? 1mo
rsteve388 Today I Learned 1mo
22 likes2 comments
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rsteve388

#NFNov Sorry y'all today has been way busier then u expected. And I am trying to spend time with my partner before he leaves for a new job in IN. I will count points around 8pm my time before I go to bed.

Megabooks Take care and don‘t feel bad. 💜 1mo
erzascarletbookgasm I didn‘t know we‘re given points, thanks and take care. 1mo
25 likes2 comments
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rsteve388
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So I am looking through my Audiobook TBR looking for my first #NFNov Read and I found this and as always, I like to see how long a book is before I commit to it. And when I looked at this book... I was like.. weird.. they have 8 hours for ONE chapter.. I am still new to audiobooks.. but what is that about?!! #Audiobooks

RachelO Woah. That‘s just... uncomfortable! 1mo
ljuliel Holy smokes ! I go through lots of audiobooks and have never seen a chapter that long ! I wonder why it‘s divided that way ? 1mo
rsteve388 I mean uncomfortable is right. I have to wonder if the real book is one long chapter. 1mo
23 likes3 comments
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FireproofBunny
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Pickpick
DivineDiana I love this book and the cover! 3mo
gradcat So great! ♥️ 3mo
15 likes2 comments
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DivineDiana
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Pickpick

This is a photo of Elizebeth and William Friedman in the early days of their relationship. As I read this remarkable story of love,war, and spies, I couldn‘t help but think that it would make a great movie. Just discovered that the creators of the hit TV show The Good Wife have optioned the rights. Loved the Friedmans relationship, and am in awe of the brilliant mind of Elizebeth! #girlpower

Cinfhen Would you recommend this book for book club?? 4mo
DivineDiana @Cinfhen Absolutely! Well researched, intelligent writing and non fiction that reads like fiction! 4mo
Cinfhen Oh good!!! Adding to my list 💚 4mo
74 likes2 stack adds3 comments
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DivineDiana
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“ For all the harmless innocence conjured by the word “library” the Friedmans knew the truth: a library, properly maintained, could save the world- or burn it down. “

Photo: The Friedmans in their home library, 1957.

Crazeedi This made me think of the library in Alexandria that was destroyed, so much knowledge just gone...😢 4mo
DivineDiana @Crazeedi Yes, so sad. The Friedmans were so protective of their books, that they kept an axe mounted over the doorway to warn borrowers to return their books! 4mo
Crazeedi @DivineDiana that's hilarious! But a great idea, I rarely lend the ones I really care about. Other ones I'll give away 4mo
61 likes2 stack adds3 comments
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kspenmoll
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The time of Trump. 😱 Maybe a bit exaggerated, but some days that is how I feel.

rretzler Truth! 4mo
43 likes1 comment
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kspenmoll
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#weekendreads
📚 Book of Dirt, Miracle Creek, Murder by the Book, tagged book.
📚last recommended Secrets of Nanreath Hall to ex student I buddy read with. She just graduated but we are reading this summer. She loves historical fiction.
📚12 library books. Think I have a library thing???! Won‘t promise to read them all...

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kspenmoll
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#nonfiction #womenwarriors #womenandscience #womenandhistory

Loving this book about Elizebeth Friedman who was responsible for “smashing codes” for decades, while the infamous Director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover publicly took the credit.Here is an interview with the author, Jason Fagone.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/15/books/tell-us-5-things-woman-who-smashed-code...

53 likes2 stack adds
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DivineDiana
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Next IRL Book Club read! #nonfiction

kspenmoll I just started this.😃 5mo
Librarybelle Several people I know really like this one. I have it on my to read list! 5mo
DivineDiana @kspenmoll We can “compare notes”! 🙂 (edited) 5mo
See All 7 Comments
DivineDiana @Librarybelle Good to know! 🙂 5mo
Aims42 A fascinating read!! Hope you enjoy it 🤩 5mo
Graywacke (Interesting abbreviated title on my phone - it truncates the last two letters. I was confused in an intrigued way for a moment.) 5mo
DivineDiana @Graywacke 😂 (edited) 5mo
66 likes1 stack add7 comments
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howjessreads
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Megabooks I picked it up! 5mo
LaurenReads Great book! 5mo
Aims42 Loved this book!! 5mo
70 likes2 stack adds3 comments
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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

65 likes2 stack adds
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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). 11mo
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 11mo
scale-shark I'm so glad you liked it!! 11mo
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
Pickpick

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! 1y
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 😻 1y
SandyW I love it when my kitties sleep on me, however that manifests itself. 😻 1y
mcipher Hi Max!! 💚💚 1y
See All 6 Comments
ValerieAndBooks Hello Max 💖! 1y
Cinfhen Max😻😻😻 1y
rubyslippersreads My handsome Max! 😻😻😻 1y
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

14 likes1 stack add
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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! 2y
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!" ??

87 likes1 stack add
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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. 2y
ohloulu I used the focus feature that Litsy has to edit photos! 2y
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! 2y
Aims42 @hermyknee awww thank you! 2y
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! 2y
Aims42 @hermyknee I‘ve heard good things, so I‘ll definitely keep ya posted 😃 2y
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! 2y
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! 🎂🎉🍾 2y
Aims42 Thank you, @RebelReader ☺️☺️☺️ 2y
megt Happy birthday! 2y
DebinHawaii Happy Birthday!! 🎉📚🎂🎁🎈 2y
Aims42 Thanks so much for the happy wishes @megt and @DebinHawaii 💖💖💖 2y
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! 2y
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! 2y
SassenachTheBookWizard @Annl it is called his-story and not her-story 2y
Hrhadrienne I went to school 3 blocks from the place where the Tulsa Race Riots happened. Never heard of it until 2 years ago. 2y
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! 2y
140 likes19 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. 2y
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. 2y
drokka Thank you. My library doesn't always have these right away, but they did this time. 2y
GarthRanzz This is on my TBR. Just need to get into the mood for non-fiction. 2y
TamAnder This is already waiting on my TBR table in our study. Looking forward to hearing how you review it. 2y
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. 2y
Expandingbookshelf @Notafraidofwords seriously! I‘m so sore right now 2y
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.