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On Books, Writers, Most Things Written, Including My Light Verse.

Archive for October, 2017

Female Code Warriors Fought War of Secret Messages

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After the war, Elizebeth cracked the messages of organized gangsters. Her expert testimony as a cryptanalyst helped convict many bootleggers and rum runners. At that time, the FBI was in its infancy and remarkably inept, but that didn’t keep J. Edgar Hoover from trying to get headlines. For her part, Elizebeth preferred to remain anonymous, a spy of sorts. In July 1931, the Treasury Department cleared her to lead a codebreaking team of her own, which would break codes for all Treasury agencies. She was given a new office, funds to hire staff, and a new title: Cryptanalyst-in-Charge, U.S. Coast Guard, with a pay raise to $3,800 per year. It was the first unit of its kind and the only codebreaking unit in the United States ever to be run by a woman — “another pioneering moment for Elizebeth.”

You can read my piece on about The Woman Who Smashed Codes, by Jason Fagone, and Code Girls, by Liza Mundy, in the Los Angeles Review Books by clicking the image below.

Smash & Code

You can buy The Woman Who Smashed Codes from Barnes and Noble here and Code Girls here.

Written by Joe Peschel

October 29th, 2017 at 1:27 pm

The Women Who Worked Undercover in World War II

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The penalty for breaking a signed secrecy oath was a $10,000 fine or 10 years in prison. So the women usually talked in “airy terms about [doing] clerical work.” One woman told a navy admiral who was covertly checking up on her, “I fill inkwells and sharpen pencils and give people what they need.”

You can read me my review of Code Girls, by Liza Mundy, in the October 15, 2017, edition of the Houston Chronicle by clicking the image below.

Code Girls

You can buy Code Girls at Barnes & Noble.

Written by Joe Peschel

October 13th, 2017 at 4:49 pm