- Kids Nonfiction
- Code Breaker, Spy Hunter: How Elizebeth Friedman Changed The Course of Two World Wars
Code Breaker, Spy Hunter: How Elizebeth Friedman Changed The Course of Two World Wars
In this picture book biography, young readers will learn all about Elizebeth Friedman (1892–1980), a brilliant American code breaker who smashed Nazi spy rings, took down gangsters, and created the CIA's first cryptology unit. Her story came to light when her secret papers were finally declassified in 2015. From thwarting notorious rumrunners with only paper and pencil to “counter-spying into the minds and activities of” Nazis, Elizebeth held a pivotal role in the early days of US cryptology. No code was too challenging for her to crack, and Elizebeth’s work undoubtedly saved thousands of lives. Extensive back matter includes explanations of codes and ciphers, further information on cryptology, a bibliography, a timeline of Elizebeth’s life, plus secret messages for young readers to decode.
I love how the author not only gives the history of Elizebeth Friedman but weaves throughout ways she was able to break through codes. This even when critics claimed it was only her opinions and not science.
The illustrations are engaging. So is the information on what cryptanalysis is and how this science helped bring to justice not only Nazis, but others who worked against the government. I also like how there is a crack the code page at the back of the book for young readers to try breaking their own codes.
Informative spotlight on a woman cryptanalyst who not only broke through Nazi spy rings, but created the first CIA cryptology unit.