Author: Liza Mundy
Source: from publisher for review
Summary: A perfect narrative nonfiction blend of personal stories, global events, and a history of code breaking.
“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” (source) but here the author is able to share their story based on interviews and recently declassified documents.
This book was everything I hoped it would be. The personal stories, told with the help of letters and interviews, really brought the women to life. An author couldn’t have made up more engaging stories. Although the author does include the women’s personal lives and their romances, this helped present them as well rounded people without taking over the story. Marriages were presented as part of their stories, but not as the culmination or ending.
The bigger picture story was presented well too. The female code-breakers during WWII influenced global events throughout the war and their lives were influenced by global events, so this made for an intimate perspective on the course of the war. The history of code breaking, particularly the constant participation of women, was also explored. I loved learning about some principles of code-breaking as well. The author did an incredible job integrating all of these aspects – personal stories, global events, and code-breaking history – in a wonderful, engaging way.