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

Product Details
$25.00  $23.25
Dey Street Books
Publish Date
5.3 X 7.8 X 1.3 inches | 0.8 pounds

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About the Author

Jason Fagone is a journalist who covers science, technology, and culture. Named one of the "Ten Young Writers on the Rise" by the Columbia Journalism Review, he is a contributor to the Huffington Post Highline and has written for GQ, Esquire, The Atlantic, the New York Times, Mother Jones, and Philadelphia magazine. Fagone is also the author of Ingenious: A True Story of Invention, the X Prize, and the Race to Revive America and Horsemen of the Esophagus: Competitive Eating and the Big Fat American Dream. He lives in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.

"A powerful love story, a story of war, and a fascinating biography, The Woman Who Smashed Codes is 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 of Sin in the Second City
"Jason Fagone's stunning narrative unearths an intimate and unexpected history of code breaking. 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 of Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us From Missiles to the Moon to Mars
"In The Woman Who Smashed Codes, 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, author of The Billionaire's Vinegar
"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 of How Soccer Explains the World and the forthcoming World Without Mind
"Deeply reported and stunningly original, The Woman Who Smashed Codes is a riveting narrative about one of the most overlooked figures in American history--a figure whose remarkable story was essentially ignored for more than seventy years simply because she was a woman."--Stefan Fatsis, bestselling author of Word Freak
"[Fagone] records the pair's accomplishments, trials, and love affair, taking care to ensure that Elizebeth finally receives the recognition she deserves...[a] carefully researched story of a smart and loyal but overlooked woman."--Library Journal (starred review)
"A bang-up research effort [and] an engaging resurrection of a significant player in the world of cryptology."--Kirkus Reviews
"Riveting, inspiring, and rich in colorful characters, Fagone's extensively researched and utterly dazzling title is popular history at its very best and a book club natural."--Booklist (starred review)
"Bursting with details in everything from dinner parties to spy rings, Fagone's book offers the story of a fascinating woman in perilous times, and asks some uneasy questions about the present."
"This book tells the incredible, little-known story of code-breaker Elizebeth Smith and her husband, cryptologist William Friedman, otherwise known as the 'Adam and Eve' of the NSA."--New York Post
"Reads like some wild cross between a fairy tale and a gripping detective thriller... a sheer delight to read."--San Francisco Chronicle
"In The Woman Who Smashed Codes, journalist Jason Fagone recreates a world and a cast of characters so utterly fascinating they will inhabit the psyches of its readers long after the book has been read."--Associated Press
"The Woman Who Smashed Codes should be the next Hidden Figures...a story that anyone with interest in the time period has to read, a key piece of the puzzle about America's war effort."--Washington Post
"One of the year's best reads, it is both deeply researched and beautifully told."--The Philadelphia Inquirer
"[Elizebeth Friedman] was a tireless and talented code breaker who brought down gangsters and Nazi spies...a fascinating swath of American history that begins in Gilded Age Chicago and moves to the inner workings of our intelligence agencies at the close of WWII."
--Los Angeles Times
"The Woman Who Smashed Codes...has drawn comparisons to Hidden Figures, though we think this one is better. In journalist Jason Fagone's deft hands, we not only learn about a lost national treasure, but also get new insight into the history of our country at war."--New York Post
"This is the best work of nonfiction I've ever read--no hyperbole...Fagone has painstakingly worked backward to piece together a truth that has been buried for too long. In the process, he has helped Friedman gain recognition as the American hero she was."--MIT Technology Review
"[Fagone] documents the amazing arc of his subject's life, often in stunning detail...Ms. Friedman was not only crypto pioneer and a patriotic spycatcher, but also an inspiring role model."--Wired
"Damned-near impossible to put down. The book has everything: thrills, chills, kills, love, crypto, and a hopeful sense that a nearly forgotten American genius, Elizebeth Smith Friedman, is finally being given her due."--Ars Technica
"Fagone is a superb writer and has created a fascinating tale of a woman who brought down Prohibition-era smugglers, Nazi's, counterfeiters, gangsters and more. "--Ben Rothke, RSA Conference
"Superb storytelling"--Providence Journal
"It's unsurprising that the name Elizebeth Friedman doesn't ring a bell for most Americans, given how much of her work was classified during the war.... Still, this Quaker-born poet from Indiana was the grandmother of the National Security Agency and virtually created the modern code-breaking profession. Trust us on this one."--Forbes
"The Woman Who Smashed Codes is historical reporting done right, assigning credit where it is long overdue."--Seattle Book Review