On April 18 at 5:30 p.m., Liza Mundy will deliver the 2018 Stuart G. Christian, Jr. Lecture entitled, “Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of WWII.”
In 1941, following the devastating surprise attack at Pearl Harbor, a group of female college students received secret letters from the U.S. Navy, inviting them to join America’s intelligence forces and train to become code-breakers. The army soon began recruiting female code-breakers as well. Over the next two years more than 10,000 women would answer that call. While their brothers and boyfriends took up arms, these women moved to Washington, D.C., and learned the meticulous work of code-breaking. Their efforts shortened the war, saved countless lives, and gave them access to careers previously denied to them. A strict vow of secrecy nearly erased their efforts from history. Now, through prodigious research and interviews with surviving code girls—including women from Virginia and the Richmond area—bestselling author Liza Mundy brings to life this riveting and vital story of American courage, service, and scientific accomplishment. She shares the story in a talk that includes video footage of her interviews with surviving code breakers. It is the story of an early cohort of women adept in science and math, whose efforts helped the Allies win what remains the biggest, costliest, and worst war in human history.
Liza Mundy was a long-time reporter at the Washington Post and has contributed to numerous publications including TheAtlantic, TIME, The New Republic, Slate, Mother Jones, and Politico. She is a frequent commentator on prominent national television shows, radio, and online news outlets. A senior fellow at New America, Mundy is one of the nation's foremost experts on women and work issues. She is the New York Times bestselling author of The Richer Sex: How the New Majority of Female Breadwinners Is Transforming Sex, Love and Family; Michelle: A Biography; and Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II.
A light reception and book signing will take place at the Virginia Museum of History & Culture following the lecture.