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Hacking the Nazis: The secret story of the women who broke Hitler's codes


Elizabeth Smith Friedman broke the Nazi code during World War II that saved lives. Her name was erased in history until Jason Fagone uncovers 22 boxes containing Friedman’s files in the George C. Marshall library, and wrote the book “The Woman Who Smashed Codes”.
The non-fiction book details the personal life of Friedman, how witty and funny she was, warm, a true person. The highlight of the book is all about her greatest accomplishment, which was deciphering the Nazi code and cracking Enigma machines in the World War II. The book is also a love story.


Friedman was branded as the greatest codebreaker, and she happens to be married to a fellow codebreaker William Friedman. Mr. Friedman broke the WWWII Japanese cipher machine Purple.
Due to the sexism in their days, Friedman was not recognized for her ability to break codes. It was not known then that FBI agents used her to solve puzzles, and she died poor despite all her contributions to the country.
Being a codebreaker means living life in the shadows, and most of Friedman’s work was labeled “Top Secret Ultra”.
However, J. Edgar Hoover who was the FBI Director claimed Friedman’s success in codebreaking as his own after World War II. He published “How the Nazi Spy Invasion Was Smashed” in The American Magazine.


Hoover sealed his deception by making a film directed by Frank Capra and starred him to play himself. Fagone said that Hoover is also a chauvinist because, in 1924, he fired two female agents and prohibited women from joining the FBI.

The book “The Woman Who Smashed Codes” consists of stories about women empowerment, how they were undermined. And the focus of the book is with the life of Elizabeth Smith Friedman.

Hacking the Nazis: The secret story of the women who broke Hitler's codes Hacking the Nazis: The secret story of the women who broke Hitler's codes Reviewed by Tim on April 22, 2018 Rating: 5

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