Showing posts with label Espionage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Espionage. Show all posts

Monday, November 21, 2022

Elizebeth The Code Smasher – A Review

 



The Woman Who Smashed Codes

   A True Story of Love, Spies, 
   and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America's Enemies

By

   Jason Fagone

 

Reviewed by

   Geoffrey W. Sutton

Elizebeth Smith (1892-1980) is the woman who smashed the codes of Nazis in World War II. Her story, told by Jason Fagone, reads like one of the best mystery novels. I recommend The Woman Who Smashed Codes to anyone interested in the contribution of women to science and democracy. And to anyone interested in the intriguing world of spies, the foundations of Western intelligence agencies, or World War II.

 Elizebeth (spelt with an “e” not an “a”) was often overshadowed by her high profile husband, William Friedman, the dean of American Cryptology. Elizebeth is an American Hero--this book tells her story.

Elizebeth Smith of Huntington Indiana began her professional career as a Quaker schoolteacher. She, and her husband to be, were hired by the wealthy supporter of scientific investigations, George Fabyan to work at Riverbank Laboratories on suspected hidden messages by Francis Bacon in the works of William Shakespeare. Elizebeth and William worked together, married, and moved on from the Shakespeare project to establish a Department of Codes and Ciphers, which contracted with the US government to crack World War I messages.

After the couple left Riverbank, Elizebeth cracked smuggler’s codes during the prohibition era. She headed the unit at the Coast Guard, which became part of the US Navy. Her unit was responsible for breaking the codes of the expanding Nazi network in South America. Her department later coordinated work with the British efforts at Bletchley Park.

The couple raised two children. After the war, Elizebeth spent many years caring for her husband who struggled with depression and a series of heart attacks. He died in 1969 and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. She lived to age 88 and died in New Jersey. Her ashes were taken to her husband’s grave.

Cite this review

Sutton, G. W. (2022, November 21). Elizebeth the code smasher. Interdisciplinary Journal of Book Reviews. Retrieved from https://suttonreviews.suttong.com/2022/11/elizebeth-code-smasher-review.html


 Reference

Fagone, J. (2018). The woman who smashed codes. San Francisco: Dey St. 

    Available on AMAZON.

Related Posts

Women and World War II

A Woman of No Importance

The Light of Days

 Please check out my website   www.suttong.com

   and see my books on   AMAZON       or  GOOGLE STORE

Also, consider connecting with me on    FACEBOOK   Geoff W. Sutton    

   TWITTER  @Geoff.W.Sutton    

You can read many published articles at no charge:

  Academia   Geoff W Sutton     ResearchGate   Geoffrey W Sutton 

 

 

 

Monday, April 6, 2020

A Woman of No Importance Review by Sutton


A Woman of No    

Importance

By

    Sonia Purnell

Reviewed by

    Geoffrey W. Sutton

A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II

A woman of no importance is more than just another spy story. Virginia Hall was a true hero who battled men’s prejudice against female warriors as she simultaneously took on the Nazi occupiers of France by organizing resistance fighters and sending vital intelligence to British and American intelligence planners in London during World a War II. Her contributions were recognized much later than were her male peers as cultures in the UK and USA gradually changed to appreciate women. 

Fortunately the book not only gives Virginia a voice but it educates us about the horrors of war and the importance of small hidden  acts of courage that support the more visible efforts of armed forces. 

Virginia Hall's contribution to America does not end with World War II. She joined the newly formed CIA and was assigned to a variety of tasks--many below her level of expertise.

The book is well written and the author clearly appreciates her hero. She shares some of the leaders weak points but even these are often viewed from a generous perspective. 

Like the hero herself, the author does not draw much attention to Virginia’s prosthetic leg. We learn enough to realize this was one extra challenge to overcome especially since the progress in prostheses over the last 75 years. 

Adding to the burden of prejudice and war are the heavy gear and limited functionality of low tech communication equipment of the 1940s. It’s truly a story of courage, determination, accomplishment, and dedication that would make anyone proud to have been part of her winning team.

Virginia Hall born 6 April 1906 in Baltimore Maryland, died 8 July 1982, Rockville, Maryland USA. You may also like the CIA story.

Reference

Purnell, S. (2019). A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II. New York: Viking.