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Code Girls

Liza Mundy

The award-winning New York Times bestseller about the American women who secretly served as codebreakers during World War II--a "prodigiously researched and engrossing" (New York Times) book that "shines a light on a hidden chapter of American history" (Denver Post).

Recruited by the U.S. Army and Navy from small towns and elite colleges, more than ten thousand women served as codebreakers during World War II. While their brothers and boyfriends took up arms, these women moved to Washington 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 dazzling research and interviews with surviving code girls, bestselling author Liza Mundy brings to life this riveting and vital story of American courage, service, and scientific accomplishment.

A Game of Birds and Wolves

Simon Parkin

As Heard on the New Yorker Radio Hour

The triumphant and "engaging history" (The New Yorker) of the young women who devised a winning strategy that defeated Nazi U-boats and delivered a decisive victory in the Battle of the Atlantic.

By 1941, Winston Churchill had come to believe that the outcome of World War II rested on the battle for the Atlantic. A grand strategy game was devised by Captain Gilbert Roberts and a group of ten Wrens (members of the Women's Royal Naval Service) assigned to his team in an attempt to reveal the tactics behind the vicious success of the German U-boats. Played on a linoleum floor divided into painted squares, it required model ships to be moved across a make-believe ocean in a manner reminiscent of the childhood game, Battleship. Through play, the designers developed "Operation Raspberry," a counter-maneuver that helped turn the tide of World War II.

Combining vibrant novelistic storytelling with extensive research, interviews, and previously unpublished accounts, Simon Parkin describes for the first time the role that women played in developing the Allied strategy that, in the words of one admiral, "contributed in no small measure to the final defeat of Germany." Rich with unforgettable cinematic detail and larger-than-life characters, A Game of Birds and Wolves is a heart-wrenching tale of ingenuity, dedication, perseverance, and love, bringing to life the imagination and sacrifice required to defeat the Nazis at sea.

Hitler's Last Hostages

Mary M. Lane

Adolf Hitler's obsession with art not only fueled his vision of a purified Nazi state--it was the core of his fascist ideology. Its aftermath lives on to this day.

Nazism ascended by brute force and by cultural tyranny. Weimar Germany was a society in turmoil, and Hitler's rise was achieved not only by harnessing the military but also by restricting artistic expression. Hitler, an artist himself, promised the dejected citizens of postwar Germany a purified Reich, purged of "degenerate" influences.

When Hitler came to power in 1933, he removed so-called "degenerate" art from German society and promoted artists whom he considered the embodiment of the "Aryan ideal." Artists who had produced challenging and provocative work fled the country. Curators and art dealers organized their stock. Thousands of great artworks disappeared--and only a fraction of them were rediscovered after World War II.

In 2013, the German government confiscated roughly 1,300 works by Henri Matisse, George Grosz, Claude Monet, and other masters from the apartment of Cornelius Gurlitt, the reclusive son of one of Hitler's primary art dealers. For two years, the government kept the discovery a secret. In Hitler's Last Hostages, Mary M. Lane reveals the fate of those works and tells the definitive story of art in the Third Reich and Germany's ongoing struggle to right the wrongs of the past.