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The Secret Lives of Codebreakers: The Men…

The Secret Lives of Codebreakers: The Men and Women Who Cracked the Enigma… (original 2010; edition 2012)

by Sinclair McKay

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Title:The Secret Lives of Codebreakers: The Men and Women Who Cracked the Enigma Code at Bletchley Park
Authors:Sinclair McKay
Info:Plume (2012), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Secret Life of Bletchley Park by Sinclair McKay (2010)



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A fascinating account of an amazing episode in 20th century British history. Thoroughly researched and well-written. A great read. ( )
1 vote rosiezbanks | Feb 26, 2015 |
Excellent book - very detailed on every aspect of life at Bletchley Park (even the prevalence of Aspergers) - except for the religious aspect of the codebreakers' lives. One would think they were all atheists, given the detail given to other aspects of life there. ( )
1 vote davemac | Mar 5, 2014 |
Before and during WWII, some of England's most brilliant mathematical and linguistic minds, men and women both, went to work at the remote country estate of Bletchley Park. There, they cracked the German Enigma encryption, and the intelligence their decryption provided to the Allies may have shortened the war by years. But they were unable to tell the world about the part they played in the war effort for decades, evading questions even from those closest to them and denying the credit they were due.

Now that their silence has been lifted, Sinclair McKay has written a tremendously enjoyable book about the extraordinary social world of Bletchley Park, where eccentric geniuses roamed free and men and women from every social class rubbed shoulders. After reading this, be sure to watch the brilliant ITV miniseries The Bletchley Circle, about the crime-solving exploits of four female Bletchley alumni a decade after the war. ( )
1 vote circumspice | Feb 18, 2014 |
This account of the extraordinary achievements of the codebreakers of Bletchley Park covers not only the brilliant mental and technical breakthroughs but also the personal stories of the men and women who worked there. Most poignant perhaps is that, so well was the secret kept in the decades after the war, the Bletchley veterans felt unable to tell even their parents before they died. Not a rip roaring read, quite low key, but it did leave me wanting to visit what is now the Bletchley Park museum. ( )
1 vote DramMan | Sep 2, 2013 |
Recently, I’ve become fascinated by World-War-II era spying – and Bletchley Park. This is just the sort of book I was looking for. It gives the inside story about what went on at Bletchley Park before and through the end of World War II, with a focus on the codebreakers and Wrens who weren’t then and aren’t now household names.

Of course, Alan Turing is a main character, but the most interesting bits come from interviews of the rank-and-file workers, who took sabbaticals from their careers to serve the cause. They came from all social classes, and were for the most part very young at the time. And for most of their lives, they have not been allowed (because of the Official Secrets Act) to speak to anyone about what they did during the war. Now, of course, there is a museum at Bletchley Park and many of the codebreakers have been honored in public recognition ceremonies by the British government.

The Secret Lives of Codebreakers makes for a quick and fascinating read. In these days when the word “secret” is an anachronism – it’s great to know that, at one time, people were able to keep mum about something.

I do wish the book had been longer and that the author would have included a proper bibliography. ( )
1 vote NewsieQ | May 13, 2013 |
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Bletchley Park in the Buckinghamshire countryside was home to Britain's most brilliant mathematical brains and the scene of immense advances in technology, like the birth of modern computing. This book tells the story of what it was like to work there during the war.… (more)

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