Code Girls by Liza Mundy


Rate: 4/5


Medium: Audiobook


Overview (No Spoilers)

Code Girls was the remarkable account of women codebreakers during World War II and the society molds they broke during this tumultuous time. The breakthroughs these inspirational women achieved with little to no recognition had major and immediate impacts on the Allies’ active war effort. Mundy brings to life not only the stories of these codebreakers, who held their secrets for decades, but more so allowed their vibrant unique personalities and senses of humor to shine with amusing romantic and life anecdotes of these young women. Additionally, Mundy spent significant effort highlighting views from the time period and social norms encountered on a daily basis from sexism to job availability and expectations. Due to the secrecy surrounding the projects, even their families later in life didn’t know the important work the women were engaged in during the war. I had a hard time putting myself in their shoes and imagining not only accepting, but also moving significant distances for a job that I knew nothing about.  The numbers of American women employed as codebreakers during the war was astonishing, although how quickly the women were pushed out post war was disheartening. I couldn’t help but be curious about the Cold War codebreaking mentality as it was slightly touched on toward the end of the Code Girls. Overall, the high level of research Mundy conducted to write Code Girls is evident, and enhanced with eloquent interweaving of the incredible feats and amusing stories achieved and lived by these extraordinary women


4 comments

  1. […] Manhattan Beach was first recommended to me well over a year and a half ago by a coworker who even brought the book to my desk and told me I absolutely had to read it immediately. As should be obvious from the time elapsed between when introduced and and the posting of this review, life had other plans. Shortly, after Nicole had given me the book to read, I took a new job, whereupon I returned Manhattan Beach to her with only a few chapters read. With the distraction of the new job, this title soon fell completely off my to-be-read list. It was only when a month ago that Manhattan Beach showed up on a list of available books from my local library that my memory was jogged, and the title made its way back to my possession.  This novel took several chapters to get warmed up, but Egan’s eloquent writing style swirled with each ebb and flow of the alternating view points, drawing the reader ever further into the depths of this emotionally toying read. Egan touches on several, various topics throughout this evolving read from the Great Depression, and women’s rights, to disabilities in the 1920-1940s and World War II. Despite covering a wide ranging topics, they’re woven, seamlessly together in a story that will evoke the full spectrum of emotions, all the while keeping the reader on their toes as to the direction the story is headed due to the key placement of several unexpected plot twists. The characters were meticulously crafted and imbued with depth through the aid of subtle cues during inner dialogue or interactions that seemingly effortlessly added layer by layer. Toward the end, just as the arc was winding to its zenith, Egan’s characters seemed to stumble in stark contrast to the foundation that had been carefully crafted throughout the read. The stressful sequence of events leading up to the story altering twist took on a forced nature that seemed to stand out, breaking the reading trance I love falling into while reading. This hitch aside, Manhattan Beach wove a haunting account of heartbreak and perseverance during a time of change and uncertainty in the United States, that managed to tie nicely my recent read, Code Girls. […]

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