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The Education of a Poker Player - Part II

by James McManus |  Published: Jan 02, 2008


In July 1917, Lt. Herbert O. Yardley was given a desk in the code room of the State-Navy-War Building, directly across from the White House. "By lifting my eyes from my work," he wrote, "I could see a tennis game in progress where a few years earlier President Roosevelt and his tennis Cabinet had played every day." He went on to describe the bulky code books and thick stacks of telegrams "from and to consular and diplomatic posts throughout the world" being thumbed by chain-smoking staffers. "The pounding of typewriters specially constructed to make fifteen copies of a telegram mingled with the muffled click of the telegraph instruments" – the sights, sounds, and smoke-marbled humidity of one of the most high-tech rooms in America.

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