In the Enemy’s House by Howard Blum

Brendan’s Alternate Tagline for In the Enemy’s House:

Spying sounds exhausting.

Quick synopsis:

An espionage story about breaking Russian code after WWII in an attempt to stop the leaking of nuclear secrets.

Fun Fact Non-History People Will Like:

Military recruiters lying their asses off! Who knew? Not a bunch of women during World War II who thought they were going somewhere glamorous then ended up locked in dark rooms deciphering things.

Fun Fact for History Nerds:

Chapter 6 is how codes work. I read it three times. I still have no idea how you can even devise something like that let alone decode it.

My Take on In the Enemy’s House:

On paper, this story is a home run. You have a sweet-talking FBI agent (Lamphere) looking to make his mark and an anti-social code breaker (Gardner) who is the best at what he does.

However, the story of the book is not nearly as engrossing as the snippet makes it out to be. The book on a whole is a good read. It is interesting and the entire science of code breaking makes my brain hurt a lot.

The thing is, I wanted to hear more about Lamphere and Gardner and how they worked together. The book is much more interested in Lamphere and Gardner becomes a very secondary character in the whole story.

Also, the book jumps between the various spies and their code names a bit too much. While spy books can often be a little difficult to follow when you suck at names (like me), it should not make me go back pages and pages to remember who we are even talking about. I found myself doing that a lot.

It may sound like I didn’t like the book. I did, but I planned on liking it a lot more.


An enjoyable read if espionage is your thing, but not as great as it could have been. Buy it here!

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