During the 1920s Herbert O. Yardley was chief of the first peacetime cryptanalytic organization in the United States, the ancestor of today's National Security Agency. Funded by the U.S. Army and the Department of State and working out of New York, his small and highly secret unit succeeded in breaking the diplomatic codes of several nations, including Japan. The decrypts played a critical role in U.S. diplomacy. Despite its extraordinary successes, the Black Chamber, as it came to known, was disbanded in 1929. President Hoover's new Secretary of State Henry L. Stimson refused to continue its funding with the now-famous comment, "Gentlemen do not read other people's mail." In 1931 a disappointed Yardley caused a sensation when he published this book and revealed to the world exactly what his agency had done with the secret and illegal cooperation of nearly the entire American cable industry. These revelations and Yardley's right to publish them set into motion a conflict that continues to this day: the right to freedom of expression versus national security. In addition to offering an expose on post-World War I cryptology, the book is filled with exciting stories and personalities.
Set against the backdrop of 1980s London, with its spangled haunts and limitless indulgence, Senseless chronicles, through the jaded faculties of its narrator, a world which veers from dancing to desiring, from laughter to disaster, from recreational drugs to prescribed ones, and back. At the core of the story lie George's two principal relationships - with his brother, Kelly, whom he cannot seem to love, and with his best friend, Matthew, whom he loves like a true brother. Together, George and Matthew confront shame and ignorance with indomitable spirit and dignity. This remarkable novel is at once a defiant elegy for a vanished decade and a love story. Delivered with brutal elegance, Paul Golding's narrative is more than a shoring up against loss. It is a search for sense itself.