Wednesday, December 5, 2018

*Review* Code Girls by Liza Mundy

Genre: Non-Fiction
Published: October 10, 2017
Pages: 433

In the tradition of Hidden Figures and The Girls of Atomic City, Code Girls is the astonishing, untold story of the young American women who cracked key Axis codes, helping to secure Allied victory and revolutionizing the field of cryptanalysis.

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; now, through dazzling research and interviews with surviving code girls, bestselling author Liza Mundy brings to life this riveting and vital story of American courage, service, and scientific accomplishment.

I listened to the audiobook version of this book. Because dialogue was not a major factor in this book, there was no chance for there to be opposite gendered voices required, so I had no issues with the narration itself, and I was easily able to listen to the story at 1.5 speed.

After reading Hidden Figures, it was not quite as big of a shock for me to learn about the women code breakers of WWII. What did surprise me, were the lengths the different branches of service went to to get the best and brightest women to do the work. It was interesting to me that the branches were fighting against each other to recruit women for code breaking rather than working together.

While listening to the book, I remember thinking that it was easier to keep the women separate than it was keeping the women in Hidden Figures separate, but in retrospect, I don't think I kept them separate at all. I think they became something of a monolith in my mind, and because they were all doing pretty much the same thing, just for different organizations, that was more okay in my mind than the blending I experienced with Hidden Figures.

Overall I give Code Girls 4.0947 stars. - Katie 

Liza Mundy is a staff writer at the Washington Post and the bestselling author of Michelle: A Biography and Everything Conceivable, among other works. She received her AB degree from Princeton University and earned an MA in English literature at the University of Virginia. She has won awards for essays, profiles, and science writing from the Sunday Magazine Editors Association, the Maryland-Delaware-DC Press Association, the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors, The Missouri Lifestyle Journalism Awards, and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. She was a 2003 Kaiser Foundation Media Fellow and a 2005 Media Fellow at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Mundy lives in Arlington, Virginia.

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