BMMHS Evening Zoom Talk: Wise Gals
Wise Gals: The Spies Who Built the CIA and Changed the Future of Espionage
Speaker: Nathalia Holt
This Zoom Talk will be scheduled to start at 7:30pm
Tuesday 5th September 7:30pm
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Drawing from both interviews and declassified government documents, Holt’s gripping and deeply-researched book chronicles the incredible true story of four groundbreaking female operatives who shaped the CIA in its precarious early days.
The never-before-told story of a small cadre of influential female spies in the precarious early days of the CIA – women who helped create the template for cutting-edge espionage (and blazed new paths for equality in the workplace).
In the wake of World War II, four agents were critical in helping build a new organisation now known as the CIA. Adelaide Hawkins, Mary Hutchison, Eloise Page, and Elizabeth Sudmeier, called the ‘wise gals’ by their male colleagues because of their sharp sense of humour and even quicker intelligence, were not the stereotypical femme fatale of spy novels. They were smart, courageous, and groundbreaking agents at the top of their class, instrumental in both developing innovative tools for intelligence gathering – and insisting (in their own unique ways) that they receive the credit and pay their expertise deserved.
Adelaide rose through the ranks, developing new cryptosystems that advanced how spies communicate with each other. Mary worked overseas in Europe and Asia, building partnerships and allegiances that would last decades. Elizabeth would risk her life in the Middle East in order to gain intelligence on deadly Soviet weaponry. Eloise would wield influence on scientific and technical operations worldwide, ultimately exposing global terrorism threats.
Wise Gals sheds a light on the untold history of the women whose daring foreign intrigues, domestic persistence, and fighting spirit have been and continue to be instrumental to the world’s security.
About the Speaker – Nathalia Holt
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