NPR Best Book of the Year
"Not all superheroes wear capes, and Elizebeth Smith Friedman should be the subject of a future Wonder Woman movie." --The New York Times
Joining the ranks of Hidden Figures and In the Garden of Beasts, the incredible true story of the greatest codebreaking duo that ever lived, an American woman and her husband who invented the modern science of cryptology together and used it to confront the evils of their time, solving puzzles that unmasked Nazi spies and helped win World War II.
In 1916, at the height of World War I, brilliant Shakespeare expert Elizebeth Smith went to work for an eccentric tycoon on his estate outside Chicago. The tycoon had close ties to the U.S. government, and he soon asked Elizebeth to apply her language skills to an exciting new venture: code-breaking. There she met the man who would become her husband, groundbreaking cryptologist William Friedman. Though she and Friedman are in many ways the Adam and Eve of the NSA, Elizebeth's story, incredibly, has never been told.
In The Woman Who Smashed Codes, Jason Fagone chronicles the life of this extraordinary woman, who played an integral role in our nation's history for forty years. After World War I, Smith used her talents to catch gangsters and smugglers during Prohibition, then accepted a covert mission to discover and expose Nazi spy rings that were spreading like wildfire across South America, advancing ever closer to the United States. As World War II raged, Elizebeth fought a highly classified battle of wits against Hitler's Reich, cracking multiple versions of the Enigma machine used by German spies. Meanwhile, inside an Army vault in Washington, William worked furiously to break Purple, the Japanese version of Enigma--and eventually succeeded, at a terrible cost to his personal life.
Fagone unveils America's code-breaking history through the prism of Smith's life, bringing into focus the unforgettable events and colorful personalities that would help shape modern intelligence. Blending the lively pace and compelling detail that are the hallmarks of Erik Larson's bestsellers with the atmosphere and intensity of The Imitation Game, The Woman Who Smashed Codes is page-turning popular history at its finest.--Forbes
The Zhivago Affair is the dramatic, never-before-told story--drawing on newly declassified files--of how a forbidden book became a secret CIA weapon in the ideological battle between East and West.In May 1956, an Italian publishing scout went to a village outside Moscow to visit Russia's greatest living poet, Boris Pasternak. He left carrying the manuscript of Pasternak's only novel, suppressed by Soviet authorities. From there the life of this extraordinary book entered the realm of the spy novel. The CIA published a Russian-language edition of Doctor Zhivago and smuggled it into the Soviet Union. Copies were devoured in Moscow and Leningrad, sold on the black market, and passed from friend to friend. Pasternak's funeral in 1960 was attended by thousands who defied their government to bid him farewell, and his example launched the great tradition of the Soviet writer-dissident. First to obtain CIA files providing proof of the agency's involvement, Peter Finn and Petra Couv e take us back to a remarkable Cold War era when literature had the power to stir the world. (With 8 pages of black-and-white illustrations.)
Drawing on newly declassified government files, this is the dramatic story of how a forbidden book in the Soviet Union became a secret CIA weapon in the ideological battle between East and West.
In May 1956, an Italian publishing scout took a train to a village just outside Moscow to visit Russia s greatest living poet, Boris Pasternak. He left carrying the original manuscript of Pasternak s first and only novel, entrusted to him with these words: This is Doctor Zhivago. May it make its way around the world. Pasternak believed his novel was unlikely ever to be published in the Soviet Union, where the authorities regarded it as an irredeemable assault on the 1917 Revolution. But he thought it stood a chance in the West and, indeed, beginning in Italy, Doctor Zhivago was widely published in translation throughout the world.
From there the life of this extraordinary book entered the realm of the spy novel. The CIA, which recognized that the Cold War was above all an ideological battle, published a Russian-language edition of Doctor Zhivago and smuggled it into the Soviet Union. Copies were devoured in Moscow and Leningrad, sold on the black market, and passed surreptitiously from friend to friend. Pasternak s funeral in 1960 was attended by thousands of admirers who defied their government to bid him farewell. The example he set launched the great tradition of the writer-dissident in the Soviet Union.
In The Zhivago Affair, Peter Finn and Petra Couvee bring us intimately close to this charming, passionate, and complex artist. First to obtain CIA files providing concrete proof of the agency s involvement, the authors give us a literary thriller that takes us back to a fascinating period of the Cold War to a time when literature had the power to stir the world.
(With 8 pages of black-and-white illustrations.)
The most remarkable double agent of World War II, Eddie Chapman was witty, handsome, and charming. Too bad he was also a con man, womanizer, and safe-cracker. To the British, though, he was known as ZigZag, one of MI5's most valuable agents. To the Abwehr--German military intelligence--he was known as Fritzchen (Little Fritz), and was believed to be one of their most valued and trusted spies. For three long years, Eddie played this dangerous double game, daily risking life and limb to help the Allies win the war. He was so charming that his German handler, Baron Stefan von Gr ning, thought of Fritzchen as the son he never had. The Germans even awarded him the Iron Cross for spying for the Reich They sent him to Britain, with the mission to blow up the De Havilland aircraft factory. How he and MI5 convinced the Germans that he had accomplished his mission stands as one of history's greatest acts of counterintelligence.Until now, Eddie Chapman's extraordinary double life has never been told, thwarted by the Official Secrets Act. Now all the evidence--including Eddie's MI5 file--has finally been released, paving the way for Nicholas Booth's enthralling account of Eddie's long and extraordinary life. A film of ZigZag is in the works with Tom Hanks producing and Mike Newell directing.