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ENIGMA THE BATTLE FOR THE CODE Hardcover – 2005

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 455 pages
  • Publisher: The Folio Society; First Edition edition (2005)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000LROFZI
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16.3 x 4.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 574,059 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First Sentence
On Sunday 1 November 1931 Hans Thilo Schmidt, a forty-three-year-old executive at the German Defence Ministry Cipher Office in Berlin, took a step from which there was no turning back. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 19 April 2001
Format: Paperback
Hugh Sebag-Montefiore (HSM) gives a well written & well researched history of the Enigma. HSM has interviewed a significant number of the main players in the story which leads to a much fuller background to the story which no doubt had very significant impact on WW II. The book was written after a large amount of historic data was released from the Public Records Office which accounts for when the book was published, this too adds to quality of read. I also liked the way in which HSM used appendices to include some of the more technical details of the cipher breaking techniques, this allowed the story to remain readable without losing the more complex information to those who will be interested in understanding it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Charlemagne the lesser on 12 Aug. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The breaking of the German Enigma coding system is now rightly acknowledged to have been the most vital single element leading to Allied victory during the Second World War. Since the 1970s when the Ultra Secret was first made public, a great deal has been written on Enigma; but much of what has been written or shown on TV in the UK, has lead to the widespread impression that the breaking of Enigma was solely down to a few brilliant mathematicians at Bletchley Park and Alan Turing in particular. As HSM shows, the breaking of the code was in fact a multi-national effort with the crucial role of the Polish cryptanalysts during the 1930s being well covered here. This book deals mainly with German Naval Enigma, and describes the efforts made to break into that most vital code and then to keep up with all the changes to the Enigma machine, code books, and systems, which the Germans made throughout the war. The role of the Royal Navy, and later the Royal Canadian Navy, and US Navy in capturing up to date Enigma machines, code books and documents during raids on German land installations and weather ships; or by courageously boarding crippled and sinking U-Boats is well detailed. Without these 'pinches' the cryptanalysts were often left searching in the dark.
HSM also shows that the Germans themselves often contributed to their own undoing through sloppy procedures both by those designing the system and by those operating it. Their worst error however was that they had convinced themselves that the Enigma system was infallible; so that despite often damning evidence to the contrary, Doenitz was always told that Enigma was secure.
With regard to the layout of the book, I have read the whole of the 'story' first and will go into the operational detail appendices as required.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Alan Eager on 25 Mar. 2002
Format: Paperback
This book describes the sheer hard work that went on with breaking the Enigma code - not just from the code breakers at Bletchley park but the guys who risked their lives in recovering secrets from the Germans to boarding booby trapped U-boats. It describes many of the successes and failures particularly at sea with the interception of the U-boat supply ships to the sinking of the Scharnhorst and the ultimate deceptions before D-day.
Read this an find out there was much, much more to Enigma than Alan Turing (although he was pretty amazing too!).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bookaholic on 27 May 2013
Format: Hardcover
The Folio Edition is the 2001 update of the 2000 ed. of Enigma: Battle for the Code with "minor emendations" -- I placed this review elsewhere and share it here, "I enjoyed The Folio Society ed. (2005) of this book for its historical content. I, however, would like to be able to contact the author (doesn't seem to be easy to do -- probably my fault) as on page 322, para 3, last line, it is stated that the "parents" of crew members only learned that they were alive when returned to Germany in 1947. I realize that repatriation of POWs was at times a lengthy process for a variety of reasons. I, however, note that there was a U.S. Navy Department public press and radio release dated May 16, 1945 (shortly after V.E. Day) which included this, "Fifty-eight survivors (including the captain) from the U-505's crew of 59 were rescued and imprisoned in the United States." I guess that my question is, "Did the story slip through the cracks and German authorities not get word about the U-505 POWs? BTW, the U-505 became a museum piece in 1954 (Chicago) and there is a fantastic website (kudos to the webmaster) about the U-505 and other U-boat subjects at http://uboatarchive.net/(less)" Despite my question, the book is an excellent read and details that things were more complicated than many are aware of. The heart of the story actually begins in 1931 with more than a little intrigue.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 12 Aug. 2000
Format: Hardcover
A great deal has been written about Enigma over the years and, because so many of the major players are no longer with us, I can't imagine that any significant additions can be added to the story outlined here. I found the book anecdotal, dramatic and accessible. The author's journalistic background has obviously helped here! This is not dry history but a journey through the greatest story of WWII. The only criticism that I can level at this book is that it does not go into enough detail in places (especially with regard to the Army and Air Force Enigma battles). The Naval Enigma however is given the full treatment. Despite only giving the book 4 stars I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it!
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