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The Secret Life of an American Codebreaker (ePub)

Codebreaker Girls

WWII Espionage & the SOE Women of History Military

By Jan Slimming
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
File Size: 39.6 MB (.epub)
ISBN: 9781526784162
eBook Released: 30th January 2022

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The Secret Life of an American Codebreaker is the true account of Janice Martin, a college student recruited to the military in 1943, after she was secretly approached by a college professor at Goucher College, a liberal arts establishment for women in Baltimore, USA. Destined for a teaching career, Janice became a prestigious professor of classics at Georgia State University, but how did she spend three years of her secret life during the war working in Washington D.C.’s Top Secret Intelligence?

Why was she chosen? How was she chosen? What did she do? Questions everyone asks are answered in this study of not just one but several Second World War codebreakers, male and female.

Backed by extensive research, unpublished photographs and recorded interviews, we discover the life of Janice Martin from Baltimore and her Top Secret Ultra role in helping to combat U-boats in the Battle of the Atlantic; the work she and her colleagues undertook in a foundation provided by both British and American Intelligence. From ‘the early days’ to D-Day and beyond, the book includes other hidden figures who were part of this huge wheel of an incredible time in history.

"...a welcome addition to the seldom told story of the role of American women in the World War II codebreaking effort."

The Spectrum Monitor, July 2022

Our fascination with the generally unsung heroes of WWII who worked so hard to break and decipher the enemies' codes continues, and is fed by this amazing biopic of Janice Martin and many of her colleagues.

Books Monthly

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Code breaker gives a detailed account of how codebreaking evolved, and includes snippets of the life of Janice Martin from Baltimore and her Top Secret Ultra role in helping to combat U-boats in the Battle of the Atlantic; the work she and her colleagues undertook in a foundation provided by both British and American Intelligence.

NetGalley, C M

The Secret Life of an American Codebreaker by Jan Slimming – Compelling, Fascinating and Interesting


Do you find World War II history fascinating? I do, and that is why I was excited to read Jan Slimming’s new book The Secret Life of an American Codebreaker.

The book starts out telling the story of Janice Martin, a young college student who was recruited to learn about and employ the much-needed skill of codebreaking during the pivotal time in our Country, World War II.

Janice is the focus of the book, but the book is about more than one person. Periodically, the story comes back around to what was happening in Janice’s life at that time. The story includes the history of cryptography and codebreaking. You will learn about brilliant individuals who worked together to break the coded messages of our enemies during WWII. That information was passed along to our military leaders to use and effectively win the battles.

The Secret Life of an American Codebreaker was a fascinating book and goes into a lot of detail about how Americans, Great Britain, and the Allied forces worked together. An early version of computers was developed to help analyze the large volume and ever-changing data that was coming in from the enemies’ encrypted messages.

I found The Secret Life of an American Codebreaker by Jan Slimming to be a very interesting and compelling book. I highly recommend it, especially if you like history, stories about WWII, and intrigue.

After reading this book, it makes me wish that I had sat down with my parents and other family members and learned about the work they did in WWII. I cannot imagine how different the world would have been if not for the courageous work and sacrifice of so many during World War II.

NetGalley, Susan Wachtel

The true story of Janice Martin, this is the story of a woman destined to be a teacher who became a secret codebreaker during the war working for Washington's Top Secret Intelligence. This book is full of research, photos, and interviews. This was an immensely interesting book and I learned a lot!

NetGalley, Terri Ladage Randolph

Simply incredible!
This is science fiction brought to life by these amazing people, geniuses all of them who played a huge part of bringing the war to its end.
The technology and the ways they went about cracking the codes is incredible.
Hugely interesting read, simply incredible!

NetGalley, Debbie Hosie

A very fascinating and insightful read. I really enjoyed delving in to the life of this incredible woman.

NetGalley, Stephanie Humphreys

I enjoyed the 8.5+ hours I spent reading this 295-page WWII history. I read and liked her first book Codebreaker Girls: A Secret Life at Bletchley Park. Both books are unique in that their subjects are connected to the author. This book is easy to read even though it is full of many details. I like the chosen cover art. I give this novel a rating of 4.5 (rounded up to a 5) out of 5.

NetGalley, John Purvis

What an amazing read! And it all being true is astonishing!
Extremely interesting reading with information I never knew before.
If you are fans of military history then you can’t go wrong with adding this to your reading list.

NetGalley, Debbie Littley

I know a few people who refuse to recognize themselves as veterans because they did not see combat or were not allowed to serve in the infantry based on medical restrictions. Can you imagine having served a vital role in one of history’s biggest wars and not being able to tell anyone? This was the case with WW2 code breaker, Janice Martin. Martin was attending a women’s college in Baltimore when she was secretly approached by her professor. Martin then spent the next three years serving as a code breaker during the war. This book gives great accurate details about how the men and women learned to combat U-boats. Martin then went on to be a college professor at Georgia State University, keeping hidden her vital aid in the war.

I found this book very accurate and interesting. I love WW2 history, especially the unknown stories of individuals bravery during the war. I will be suggesting this book to any history or war time fan.

NetGalley, Courtney Motes

As a lover of history I was really looking forward to reading this book. It did not disappoint. Rich with details, not just code breaking, but a very complete telling of the war and the stories were definitely engrossing. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves history and not just a rehash of the most known stories of the war but new and intriguing aspects.

NetGalley, Sandra Berryman

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is a great read for anyone interested in codebreaking during the Second World War and in particular, the extensive role women played... The book is extensively researched and well written. I particularly enjoyed reading about the nuances of the US/ UK relationships. While these two groups of intellectuals were ostensibly on the same side during the war sharing decoded messages there was clearly a lot of rivalry, more than a modicum of mistrust and the occasional eavesdropping on eachother. In such a clandestine world, you would expect nothing less!

NetGalley, Michael Neill

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Interesting study of WW2 encryption/decryption from the perspective of an American woman decades after the war ended and the Secrets Act had expired. We usually see studies surrounding Bletchley Park (the British codebreakers), so this was different in perspective. Very interesting read.

NetGalley, Jan Tangen

Have you ever had a member of your family, that you know was involved in WWII, but they never spoke of what they did or what they saw? I know I have members of my family that never spoke of their time during the war. Jan Slimming, the author, was trying to find out what her mother’s role was in WWII but her mother passed before she could find out.

This story centers around Janice Martin, a young college student at the start of the war and her part as an American Codebreaker. We find out the reason the majority of these people were bound by law not to ever speak of what they did nor their part in the war effort.

The story is fascinating and told with extreme accuracy and research. There are so many people we don’t know about and their tremendous tenacity and how much they aided in the American and European efforts in thwarting u-boat attacks and more.

As someone who loves WWII history, I found this book historically accurate and truly enjoyed learning about people I knew nothing about. I especially enjoy hearing the roles women played and at a time when it was still felt women were inferior they proved to be just as adept and smart as their male counterparts.

NetGalley, Vicki Quammen

As featured in: 'Daughters reveal how they only learned that their mother was a secret Bletchley Park codebreaker who helped steal Hitler's biggest war secrets after she died aged 89'

Full article available at: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10344189/Daughters-learn-late-mother-Bletchley-Park-codebreaker-stole-Hitlers-war-secrets.html

Mail Online

About Jan Slimming

Jan Slimming is a publishing professional and the author of Codebreaker Girls: A Secret Life at Bletchley Park and The Secret Life of an American Codebreaker. She now lives in Atlanta with her husband and family. She is CoFEPOW Area Co-ordinator for the Eastern United States.

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