New York Times review of Liza Mundy’s Code Girls


The NY Times have reviewed the latest from Liza Mundy. (Above see a recent talk on the book; introduced by Liza’s husband.)

In Liza Mundy’s prodigiously researched and engrossing new book, “Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II,” she describes the experiences of several thousand American women who spent the war years in Washington, untangling the clandestine messages sent by the Japanese and German militaries and diplomatic corps. At a time when even well-educated women were not encouraged to have careers — much less compete with men to demonstrate their mastery of arcane, technical skills — this hiring frenzy represented a dramatic shift. The same social experiment was simultaneously unfolding on the other side of the Atlantic. The British debutantes and their middle-class peers recruited to work at the secret Bletchley Park code-breaking operation came to outnumber the men. [NYTimes.com]

Fast Company dissect’s the work of happiness expert Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin’s work was cited for the piece “This Is Why Your Passive-Aggressive Office Note Didn’t Work.”

People are different. The way you convince one person to do something often doesn’t work on another person. In fact, sometimes the same method that works on one person backfires with another. That’s what author Gretchen Rubin found after surveying over a million people about how they view and react to expectations. [FastCompany.com]

Michael Osterholm on “How to Stop a Lethal Virus” in this Smithsonian interview

Michael Osterholm is the author of Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs.

“The real challenge is that there is already an established, and very mature, private-sector enterprise producing flu vaccine that has in place a system of annual delivery that guarantees a certain amount of money,” said Michael Osterholm, the founder of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. “How are you going to change that? Who is going to pay for that, given that the cost of research and development may mean the vaccine will be substantially more expensive than what we already have? What company will embrace that?” [SmithsonianMag.com]

Gordon Wood’s new book is out now; reviewed in the WSJ

Gordon Wood’s latest Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson is out now. It has been reviewed in the Wall Street Journal:

“…as Gordon S. Wood vividly conveys in “Friends Divided,” the two men were stark contrasts in almost every way. Tall and lanky, Jefferson towered over the short and stout Adams. Outwardly serene, gregarious and gracious, Jefferson made friends more easily than did the cranky, excitable and acerbic Adams. Jefferson sought to ingratiate, Adams to provoke. Where Jefferson flattered the American people as the best on earth, Adams warned them to beware of their passions, greed and conceit. Jefferson told them what they longed to hear, while Adams conveyed unpalatable truths. Adams clung to a secularized vision of the original sin that taints all humanity, according to the Calvinist sermons of his youth. Jefferson instead embraced an Enlightenment creed that regarded humanity as potentially perfectible if freed from too much government. Jefferson sought, with remarkable success, to know something about everything, while Adams focused his reading and writing on political theory. [WSJ.com ––paywall-protected]

Anne Nelson’s new book reviewed in the Wall Street Journal

An unsung hero of the French Resistance, Suzanne Spaak risked everything to save Jewish children from deportation to Auschwitz. Diane Cole reviews Suzanne’s Children by Anne Nelson.

“My children are safe while others are threatened.” That anguished thought gave Belgian heiress Suzanne Spaak the determination to risk everything to protect Jewish children in Nazi-occupied Paris from deportation to, and probable death in, concentration camps. Although absolute numbers are hard to come by, author and playwright Anne Nelson estimates in her immersive chronicle, “Suzanne’s Children,” that Spaak and her Resistance colleagues may have helped save hundreds of young Jewish lives. [WSJ.com––paywall protected]

Liza Mundy’s Code Girls is out now


Liza Mundy’s new book Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War IIis out now. Check out coverage in Politico and the Washington Post:

In the past few years, forgotten women of science, from the genteel astronomers who classified the stars at the Harvard Observatory in the 1890s to the African American mathematicians who staffed NASA in the 1960s, have been rescued and celebrated. If you cheered the recovery of these remarkable pioneers, you will love reading about the women recruited by the Army and the Navy during World War II and trained in secret programs to break Japanese and German military codes. In “Code Girls,” journalist Liza Mundy tells the irresistible tale of the female cryptographers who learned to crack these diabolically difficult systems. Being chosen for this mission changed the lives of more than 10,000 young American women, took them out of their familiar surroundings and prescribed destinies, and offered them a thrilling opportunity to do urgent war work at the nation’s center. [WashingtonPost.com]

Brian Alexander to speak at the inaugural Obama Foundation Summit

Brian Alexander, author of Glass House: The 1% Economy and the Shattering of the All-American Town, is set to speak at the first ever event.

On October 31st and November 1st, the Obama Foundation will welcome civic leaders from around Chicago, the U.S., and the world to join us for a two-day immersive event in Chicago. During this inaugural Summit, hundreds of leaders from around the world will come together to exchange ideas, explore creative solutions to common problems, and experience civic art, technology, and music from around the world. [Obama.org]

The first of a two-part series on Joe Clement and Matt Miles’ new book in the Washington Post: “Hitting the return key on education”

Joe Clement and Matt Miles teach social studies at Chantilly High School in Fairfax County. They know a teacher who spent six hours jazzing up a lesson on old political cartoons with a PowerPoint presentation. Students pulled laptops off a cart so they could follow and comment on the lesson online. [WashingtonPost.com]