The Secret Lives of Codebreakers: The Men and Women Who Cracked the Enigma Code at Bletchley Park

Sinclair McKay. Plume, $16 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-452-29871-2
McKay introduces readers to the bustling world of Bletchley Park, a facility dedicated to decoding German intelligence during World War II. Bletchley, located 50 miles outside London, featured a mansion with a series of long "huts" and a staff of nearly ten thousand of Britain's best and brightest decrypting around the clock. The work was so secretive workers were forbidden from discussing developments with anyone outside their own hut, much less the outside world. Here, mathematician Alan Turing, along with Gordon Welchman, created the "bombe" machine that mechanized code breaking, and, later, The Colossus, a precursor to the modern computer. McKay shares both Bletchley's many war-time achievements—including the sinkings of the Bismarck, Scharnhorst, and Tirpitz—and controversies, like that concerning Churchill's awareness of an impending Luftwaffe air raids on industrial West Midlands cities. Bletchley was also a cultural and romantic melting pot where military and civilians mixed, social class was irrelevant and there were plays, dances, and musical performances; many people even met their future spouses there. McKay brings the Park and its inhabitants to life in this compelling history of Britain's best kept secret of World War II. (Sept)
Reviewed on: 01/07/2013
Release date: 09/01/2012
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-101-60351-2
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