How Codebreaking Helped Shorten World War II
Proteus Gowanus (543 Union St., Brooklyn)

As part of our exploration of Secret Wars, Proteus Gowanus is very pleased to present David Kahn, the world’s leading expert on the history of codes and cryptology. Dr. Kahn will discuss how the frantic race to break enemy codes helped bring about an earlier end to World War II.

Kahn’s monumental 1967 book The Codebreakers: The Story of Secret Writing is the definitive account of secret writing from ancient hieroglyphs through the 20th century. The book was a finalist for the 1968 Pulitzer Prize in nonfiction, and was republished in a revised edition in 1996. Other notable books include Seizing the Enigma: The Race to Break the German U-Boat Code, 1939-1943; Hitler’s Spies: German Military Intelligence in World War II; and The Reader of Gentlemen’s Mail: Herbert O. Yardley and the Birth of American Codebreaking.

Dr. Kahn holds a doctorate in Modern German History from Oxford University. Although the National Security Agency (NSA) attempted to suppress the original publication of The Codebreakers, he was later selected as the NSA’s scholar-in-residence. His lifetime collection of cryptologic books, memorabilia, and artifacts is permanently housed in the agency’s National Cryptologic Museum.

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