Book Discussion on The Reader of Gentlemen's Mail

David Kahn talked about his book The Reader of Gentlemen’s Mail: Herbert O. Yardley and the Birth of American Codebreaking, published… read more

David Kahn talked about his book The Reader of Gentlemen’s Mail: Herbert O. Yardley and the Birth of American Codebreaking, published by Yale University Press. He talked about the career of Herbert Yardley, the man who helped established the first code-breaking agency in 1917. Mr. Kahn asserted that code-breaking intelligence made intelligence gathering important, especially after World War II. Mr. Yardley focused his talents on cracking a Japanese code, which helped the United States win a diplomatic victory at the 1921 disarmament conference. However, eight years later his unit was shut down and Mr. Yardley wrote The American Black Chamber, his memoir that detailed his work and experiences. While writing his book Mr. Kahn questioned if Mr. Yardley’s memoir caused the Japanese to change their codes and if Mr. Yardley sold his work to Japan. Mr. Kahn also wondered what the condition of cryptography would have been had Mr. Yardley stayed in his position. close

*The transcript for this program was compiled from uncorrected Closed Captioning.

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Book Discussion on The Reader of Gentlemen's Mail

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Program ID:
182091-1
Category:
Public Affairs Event
Format:
Speech
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No Location
First Aired:
Jan 9, 2005

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  • Jan 09, 2005 | 1:30am EST | C-SPAN 2
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