Breaking the Code

Breaking the Code

A Father's Secret, A Daughter's Journey, and the Question That Changed Everything

Book - 2011
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On his 81st birthday, without explanation, Karen Fisher-Alaniz's father placed two weathered notebooks on her lap. Inside were more than 400 pages of letters he'd written to his parents during WWII. She began reading them, and the more she read, the more she discovered about the man she never knew.

They began to meet for lunch every week, for her to ask him questions, and him to provide the answers. It was through this process that she discovered thesecret role he played in WWII. Karen's father was part of a small and elite group of men who were trained to copy and break top-secret Japanese code transmitted in Katakana.

Through this journey, with painful memories now at the forefront of his thoughts, Karen's father began to suffer, making their meetings as much about healing as discovery. Thus began an unintended journey-one taken by a father and daughter who thought they knew each other-as they became newly bound inways that transcended age and time.
Publisher: Naperville, Ill. : Sourcebooks, c2011.
ISBN: 9781402261121
Branch Call Number: 940.5486 FIS
Characteristics: xiv, 316 p. : ill ; 21 cm.


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IndyPL_SteveB Dec 20, 2018

On his 81st birthday, Murray Fisher gave his daughter Karen two thick notebooks containing several hundred letters that he had written home to his mother and other family members while stationed in the Pacific in World War II. Murray’s mother had saved them and Murray himself had never read them again. He had always told his family that he had a boring Navy career, being a simple radio man and clerk in Hawaii in 1945. As Karen read these letters and talked to her father about them, she sensed he was hiding something. Over several years of talks, she finally got him to open up about the secret role he played in the war, the dangerous mission he went on, and the death of a close friend he had never told anyone about in almost 60 years.

The book succeeds because Karen tells Murray Fisher’s story with compassion, love, and an admirable attention to detail. Fortunately, Murray himself was a fine letter writer, because his letters are the basis for the book. We learn a lot about the daily life of the sailor in Hawaii in 1945. Just as important are the changes in Karen and in her relationship with her father as he begins to reveal his inner life for the first time. In many ways it is a simple story that could have happened to anyone in a war, which perhaps makes it even more important and moving.

Aug 31, 2018

A different perspective of a World War II veteran. This veteran served minimal active duty, but was essential to the war effort, as he was a code breaker of a Japanese dialect. The veteran who was the subject of this book just recently passed away in December of 2017.

Jun 06, 2013

I really enjoyed this book. The daughter of a WWII vet shares letter that he sent home and helps him deal with the tragedies that he saw in the war. It really help me put army life in Hawaii after the Pearl Harbor into perspective.


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yellow_lion_354 Aug 22, 2012

yellow_lion_354 thinks this title is suitable for 7 years and over


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