Liza Mundy is an award-winning journalist and the New York Times bestselling author of five books including her latest work, The Sisterhood: The Secret History of Women at the CIA. Her narrative non-fiction aims to engage, delight, and inform readers by providing a compelling take on important parts of American history that have long been overlooked, expanding our collective understanding of our past by telling true stories of the people, often unsung, who shaped our world. Kate Moore, author of Radium Girls, called her "one of our foremost historians."
The Sisterhood recounts the true story of the women espionage officers—tough, brilliant, resilient—who helped build the world’s foremost spy agency. It received starred reviews from Booklist and Kirkus, which named it one of the most anticipated non-fiction titles of fall 2023, calling it "a story that deserves to be told about women who deserve to be remembered." Pulitzer-Prize winning author Steve Coll called it a "rip-roaring read about spy craft" that rewrites our understanding of the events before and after the 9/11 attacks.
Her previous book, Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II (2017), tells another true story of women’s contributions to American intelligence, recounting the lives and legacy of more than 10,000 women recruited to break Axis codes during World War II. Code Girls was a New York Times best-seller, a Washington Post best-seller, and a Wall Street Journal best-seller. It won awards including "Best General Audience Intelligence Book" of 2018 from the Association of Former Intelligence Officers, which said "Code Girls does for women of that era what Hidden Figures did for African American women of the 1960s and Windtalkers did for the native American code communicators of World War II." Mundy is also the New York Times bestselling author of Michelle: A Biography, a 2008 biography of former First Lady Michelle Obama; and The Richer Sex, which explored the forces behind women’s rising economic power.
She has appeared on television and radio shows including The Colbert Report, The Today Show, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, MSNBC, CNN, C-Span, Weekend Edition, All Things Considered, and Fresh Air with Terry Gross. She has given talks at many events related to national security, leadership, STEM, politics, intelligence, and World War II history. A former staff writer for The Washington Post, she writes for the Atlantic, Politico, and Smithsonian, among others. She has an AB degree from Princeton University and an MA in English literature from the University of Virginia. She lives in Washington, DC—not far from the sites of both the Army and Navy WWII codebreaking operations—and in Los Angeles, CA.
The Sisterhood: The Secret History of Women at the CIA
Throughout history, there have always been assumptions about women’s capabilities—or lack thereof. This can sometimes work to women’s benefit but can also lead to disastrous results. One thing is for certain: those who underestimate women always pay the price. During World War II, it was the Axis powers who paid no attention to the unassuming housewife who was actually a spy. More recently, it was the U.S. who ignored the women analysts who’d been sounding the alarm for over a decade that an attack like 9/11 was imminent. In this talk based on her book “The Sisterhood: The Secret History of Women at the CIA,” historian Liza Mundy provides a deeper understanding of women’s contributions to national intelligence. In highlighting the ongoing struggle to be taken seriously that women face, Mundy paints a vivid picture of persistence and resilience and reveals how silencing women makes the world a more dangerous place.
Code Girls: The Untold Story of WWII Code Breakers
The iconic imagery of Rosie the Riveter will lead you to believe that the extent of women’s contributions to World War II labor efforts were in factories. But in fact, over 10,000 highly educated women were recruited for knowledge work and trained to be code breakers. The pioneering work these women did as code breakers not only helped turn the tide of the war and saved countless lives, but also served as the foundation for our modern intelligence endeavors. In a talk that inspires both moments of laughter and deep reflection about women’s influence through history and today, historian Liza Mundy saves this riveting story of American courage and excellence from being lost forever. Through vivid historical photos and video interviews with surviving code girls, Mundy masterfully bridges the gap between today and yesterday, leaving audiences with a profound appreciation for the enduring legacy of these remarkable women and their role in shaping the world as we know it.
Women in the Workplace: Challenges Then and Now
History has many instances where women were called upon in times of hardship and expected to quietly return to the sidelines when they were no longer needed, after they’d proven their competency and worth. Today, women are making more money than ever before and quickly surpassing their male counterparts in terms of education, but they are still often disregarded, underestimated, and only temporarily valued. Despite the progress made, the journey towards full gender equality in the workplace is far from over. Through the lens of a historian and investigative journalist, Liza Mundy offers an insightful look into the state of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the past, present, and future.