Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II

Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II

by Liza Mundy

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Overview

The award-winning New York Times bestseller about the American women who secretly served as codebreakers during World War II--a "prodigiously researched and engrossing" (New York Times) book that "shines a light on a hidden chapter of American history" (Denver Post).

Recruited by the U.S. Army and Navy from small towns and elite colleges, more than ten thousand women served as codebreakers during World War II. While their brothers and boyfriends took up arms, these women moved to Washington and learned the meticulous work of code-breaking. Their efforts shortened the war, saved countless lives, and gave them access to careers previously denied to them. A strict vow of secrecy nearly erased their efforts from history; now, through dazzling research and interviews with surviving code girls, bestselling author Liza Mundy brings to life this riveting and vital story of American courage, service, and scientific accomplishment.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316352550
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 10/10/2017
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 8,196
File size: 34 MB
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About the Author

Liza Mundy is the New York Times bestselling author of The Richer Sex: How the New Majority of Female Breadwinners Is Transforming Sex, Love and Family and Michelle: A Biography. She has worked as a reporter at the Washington Post and contributed to numerous publications including The Atlantic, TIME, The New Republic, Slate, Mother Jones, and The Guardian. She is a frequent commentator on countless prominent national television, radio, and online news outlets and has positioned herself at the prestigious New America Foundation as one of the nation's foremost experts on women and work issues.

Table of Contents

Author's Note xiii

The Secret Letters 1

Introduction: "Your Country Needs You, Young Ladies" 17

Part I "In the Event of Total War Women Will Be Needed"

Chapter 1 Twenty-Eight Acres of Girls 53

Chapter 2 "This Is a Man's Size Job, but I Seem to Be Getting Away with It" 86

Chapter 3 The Most Difficult Problem 130

Chapter 4 "So Many Girls in One Place" 169

Part II "Over All This Vast Expanse of Waters Japan Was Supreme"

Chapter 5 "It Was Heart-Rending" 201

Chapter 6 "Q for Communications" 244

Chapter 7 The Forlorn Shoe 311

Chapter 8 "Hell's Half-Acre" 318

Chapter 9 "It Was Only Human to Complain" 356

Chapter 10 Pencil-Pushing Mamas Sink the Shipping of Japan 375

Part III The Tide Turns

Chapter 11 Sugar Camp 401

Chapter 12 "All My Love, Jim" 448

Chapter 13 "Enemy Landing at the Mouth of the Seine" 460

Chapter 14 Teedy 487

Chapter 15 The Surrender Message 499

Chapter 16 Good-Bye to Crow 513

Epilogue The Mitten 522

Acknowledgments 551

Notes 559

Bibliography 609

What People are Saying About This

author of The Good Girls Revolt Lynn Povich

"Code Girls is a riveting account of the thousands of young coeds who flooded into Washington to help America win World War II. Liza Mundy has written a thrilling page-turner that illuminates the patriotism, rivalry and sexism of the code-breakers' world."

New York Times-bestselling author of Sin in the Second City and Liar, Temptress, Solider, Spy - Karen Abbott

"Code Girls is an extraordinary book by an extraordinary author. Liza Mundy's portraits of World War II codebreakers are so skillfully and vividly drawn that I felt as if I were right there with them—mastering ciphers, outwitting the Japanese army, sinking ships, breaking hearts, and even accidentally insulting Eleanor Roosevelt. I am an evangelist for this book: You must read it."

author of The Good Girls Revolt - Lynn Povich

"Code Girls is a riveting account of the thousands of young coeds who flooded into Washington to help America win World War II. Liza Mundy has written a thrilling page-turner that illuminates the patriotism, rivalry and sexism of the code-breakers' world."

Pulitzer Prize-winning author of High Noon - Glenn Frankel

"Liza Mundy's Code Girls reveals one of World War Two's last remaining secrets: the true tale of the young American women who helped shorten the war and saved thousands of lives by breaking the codes of the German and Japanese armed forces. But it's also a superbly researched and stirringly written social history of a pivotal chapter in the struggle for women's rights, told through the powerful and poignant stories of the individuals involved. In exploring the vast, obscure and makeshift offices of wartime Washington where these women performed seemingly impossible deeds, Mundy has discovered a birthplace of modern America.

New York Times bestselling author of Rise of the Rocket Girls - Nathalia Holt

"Code Girls reveals a hidden army of female cryptographers, whose work played a crucial role in ending World War II. With clarity and insight, Mundy exposes the intertwined narratives of the women who broke codes and the burgeoning field of military intelligence in the 1940s. I cannot overstate the importance of this book; Mundy has rescued a piece of forgotten history, and given these American heroes the recognition they deserve."

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