Litercurious Book Review
|Title||The Codebreakers of Bletchley Park: |
The Secret Intelligence Station that Helped
Defeat the Nazis
|Author||John Dermot Turing|
|Publisher||Arcturus (March 15, 2020)|
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sir John Dermot Turing is the 12th Baronet of the Turing baronetcy. He is the nephew of Alan Turing the infamous English mathematician that worked on the enigma machine. He did a D.Phil in genetics at New College, Oxford before moving into the legal profession. He specialized in financial law and is currently an author.
WHO IS THE TARGET AUDIENCE?
This book is for everyone. Wether you are a historian, student, WWII enthusiast or just someone who interested in secret intelligence code breaking, you will find this book interesting.
Before James Bond, there was Alister Denniston, Dilly Knox, Alan Turing, Mavis Batley (née Lever), Peter Twinn and Frank Birch.
The Codebreakers of Bletchley Park is a unique take on an old subject and has managed to breathe new life into those who worked on the Enigma machine. It is the true-life account of the people, places and techniques employed for decrypting the machine that the Axis powers used during WWII to secretly encrypt their commercial, diplomatic and military communications. Unlike many books of its kind, The Codebreakers of Bletchley Park paints an intimate observation of the participants that is lacking in other publications. The reader gets a look back in time and at the characters behind the crack. The vital importance of the work at Bletchley Park contributed to the war as a whole and in particular, the Battle of Cape Matapan from 27-29 March, 1941.
The Codebreakers of Bletchley Park is a character driven dive into the ultra-secret world of the codebreakers. Turing’s chronology primarily focuses on the years immediately preceding WWII through the evolution of the Government Code & Cypher School (GC & CS) and its evolution into the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). The early codebreakers were, as Alister Denniston dubbed them, ‘the professor type.’ Most of these were ‘Kingsmen,’ alumni of King’s College, Cambridge; although not exclusively. They came from varying disciplines that included mathematics, academia, arts, humanities, classics languages, and history. Once ‘The Hunting Party’ had arrived at Bletchley Park work that began with a hand full of academics quickly grew in size and scope. Those with other skills and talents including: Intelligence Staff, Translators, Linguists, Managers, Machine Operators, Typists, Secretaries, and Stenographers were swiftly recruited.
The author avoids focusing upon Alan Truing, but instead introduces the reader to the arguably equally important contributors to the cracking of the Enigma. My favorite character was Dilly Knox a brilliant scholar of the Classics, specifically Greek. He was humorous and poetic. He constantly threatened to resign his position, was a man full of contradictions, a less than skillful driver and tragically gone too soon.
Those interested in women’s studies will find this publication to be a breath of fresh air. It includes details of the women who worked at Bletchley Park and heralds the significant contributions made by those women. Most of whom were never awarded any recognition or accolade.
The Codebreakers of Bletchley Park is anything but a dry retelling of history. I found it intriguing, enlightening and humors in equal amounts. Since I read it a week or two ago, I’ve thought of it fondly and often mentioned it repeatedly to friends and family. This, for me, is the seal of a truly great work and because of this I am rating this book highly.
If you want to find out: who ‘Dilly’s Fillies’ were, why there was a bath in the office of Room 40 at the Admiralty, how QWERTZU has anything to do with the Enigma, how the Bomba became the Bombe or what really went on in Hut 6; you will have to read The Codebreakers of Bletchley Park for yourself. Be prepared for a compelling and extraordinary true-life tale.
Highly recommended for everyone.
I would like to thank Sir John Dermot Turing, Netgalley and Arcturus for affording me the opertunity to review The Codebreakers of Bletchley Park: The Secret Intelligence Station that Helped Defeat the Nazis.