Book Review: The Secret Life of an American Codebreaker

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Jan Slimming published The Secret Life of an American Codebreaker at the end of January 2022. She has published two books on women involved in WWII codebreaking.

In return for a fair and honest review, I received an ARC of this book through I categorize this book as ‘G’. While the biography of Janice Martin forms the core of this book, the scope is much larger.

Martin was recruited into the military in 1943. After graduation from Goucher College, she became an officer in the WAVES. She worked for three years in the US codebreaking efforts. The book covers the events leading up to WWII and the eventual involvement of the United States. It details the history of women in cryptography. It also tells about their role in the WWII military. Since Martin was stationed in Washington DC, there is substantial discussion of living in the capital during the war. Some of the cryptographic machinery is also described.

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.

Further Information:

  1. Podcast Series Bletchley Park
  2. Codebreaker Girls: A Secret Life at Bletchley Park
  3. Code Wars: How ‘Ultra’ and ‘Magic’ Led to Allied Victory
  4. Images of the National Archives: Codebreakers
  5. The Girls Who Stepped Out of Line: Untold Stories of the Women Who Changed the Course of World War II

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (

If you have an interest in the WWII era of history, you may find these three pages of interest. 

  • The “World War II Resources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 570 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, and other sources with information on the World War II era in history.
  • The “World War II Timeline” page expands almost daily and shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.
  • The About WWII page is a collection of links to posts that I have made over the years that are relevant to WWII.

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