The Woman Who Smashed Codes

  • by Jason Fagone
  • Narrated by Cassandra Campbell
  • 13 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's 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 US 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 40 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, Elizabeth 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 best sellers with the atmosphere and intensity of The Imitation Game, The Woman Who Smashed Codes is riveting popular history at its finest.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Wonderful, interesting and hard to stop listening

Excellent piece of US history I hope Elizebeth is or will be included in women's history classes, what an amazing person and life story. A well done book with excellent narration
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- Matthew Goble

At first slow but grows and becomes stupendous

Beginning has such detailed and to me warning descriptions that I almost quit the book. That background forms a great counterpoint to the remainder of the book and their accomplishments were stupendous and their Integra full and moral character is sorely needed today
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- Donald A. Rauh M.D.,Ph.D.

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-26-2017
  • Publisher: HarperAudio