THE RIDDLE OF THE LABYRINTH, by New York Times writer Margalit Fox, tells one of the most intriguing stories in the history of language—the race to decipher the Bronze Age script known as Linear B, first dug up on clay tablets in Crete in 1900. Fox masterfully blends history, linguistics, and cryptology into a mesmerizing account that reads like an intellectual detective story. At the center of this narrative is an American linguist, Alice Kober, whose major contribution to the decoding of the script is unknown to history because she died before she was able to make the final leap. In many respects, Alice Kober is to the story of Linear B what Rosalind Franklin, the great unsung heroine of the mapping of molecular structure of DNA, is to that canonical Margalit Fox holds graduate degrees in linguists and currently has been writing obits for the NYT, many of which have been front page.
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