An inspiring true story, perfect for fans of Hidden Figures, about an American woman who pioneered codebreaking in WWI and WWII but was only recently recognized for her extraordinary contributions.
Elizebeth Smith Friedman had a rare talent for spotting patterns and solving puzzles. These skills led her to become one of the top cryptanalysts in America during both World War I and World War II.
She originally came to code breaking through her love for Shakespeare when she was hired by an eccentric millionaire to prove that Shakespeare's plays had secret messages in them. Within a year, she had learned so much about code breaking that she was a star in the making. She went on to play a major role decoding messages during WWI and WWII and also for the Coast Guard's war against smugglers.
Elizebeth and her husband, William, became the top code-breaking team in the US, and she did it all at a time when most women weren't welcome in the workforce.
Amy Butler Greenfield is an award-winning historian and novelist who aims to shed light on this female pioneer of the STEM community.
This comprehensive biography centers Elizebeth Smith Friedman (1892 1980), one of America's most important and little-known code breakers, who had a profound impact on WWI and WWII. Greenfield thoroughly covers Friedman's life, from her repressive childhood; college education; early introduction to codes in a research program run by an eccentric millionaire; marriage to and partnership with brilliant fellow cryptanalyst William Friedman; and varied government career and later life. While coverage of Friedman's extended professional machinations slows the pace, the book proves strongest as it ably chronicles how her skills developed and homes in on codes and code breaking. Recurring offset feature "Code Breaker" offers fascinating details on the mechanics, such as "Rail Fence Love Letter," a coded love note; "Solving in Depth," which highlights Friedman's work on the famous Nazi Enigma code; and "The Last Word," which reveals how Friedman even employed a code on her husband's tombstone. B&w photographs help round out the history, alongside primary sources such as news stories and even Friedman's own handwritten notes. A captivating account of the life and critical contributions of "one of the most formidable code breakers in the world." Back matter includes a bibliography and notes. Ages 12 up.