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The Secret Life of Bletchley Park: The History of the Wartime Codebreaking Centre by the Men and Women Who Were There Paperback – 1 Aug 2011


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Frequently Bought Together

The Secret Life of Bletchley Park: The History of the Wartime Codebreaking Centre by the Men and Women Who Were There + The Secret Listeners: The Men and Women Posted Across the World to Intercept the German Codes for Bletchley Park + Alan Turing: The Enigma: The Book That Inspired the Film The Imitation Game
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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Aurum Press Ltd; Reprint edition (1 Aug. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845136330
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845136338
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 12.7 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (436 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 15,218 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sinclair McKay is a features writer for The Telegraph and The Mail on Sunday. He is also the acclaimed author of the bestselling 'The Secret Life of Bletchley Park'.

Product Description

Review

'McKay's book is an eloquent tribute to a quite remarkable group of men and women, whose like we will not see again.'
Four stars ****

(Mail On Sunday)

'I found this a truly breathtaking, eye-opening book.'

(A. N. Wilson Reader's Digest)

'It is their stories, and the humbling thought of what their dedication to duty achieved, that make this book worth reading.'
Four stars ****

(Daily Telegraph)

About the Author

SINCLAIR MCKAY is the bestselling author of The Secret Life of Bletchley Park and The Secret Listeners for Aurum, as well as histories of Hammer films, the James Bond films, and the pastime of rambling. He lives in London. 


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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

169 of 173 people found the following review helpful By A. Rodriguez-Veglio on 15 July 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is rivetting. I know we've all been told quite a bit about Bletchley Park since the wraps were removed, but this book makes one realise how absolutely extraordinary a place it was; and how amazingly extraordinary were the girls and boys, men and women who worked there. It is wonderfully human in its descriptions of personalities and is better than any novel I have ever read set in this period and a similar background. It shows how beautifully English-amateurish and ad hoc was the setting up and gathering of suitable personnel; and how very well-chosen and suitable they all were ! Doubt it would be allowed to happen today ! And how much we owe them all can never ever be calculated. I'm so glad this has been written and published whilst so many of them are able to receive this salute to their loyalty and commitment. We owe them our un-dying gratitude....literally !
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173 of 178 people found the following review helpful By Alex Williams on 30 Jun. 2010
Format: Hardcover
There have been a plethora of books on Bletchley Park and the crucial part it played in the downfall of Nazi Germany. This, though, is the first to put a human face to the extraordinary ordinary people who toiled tirelessly to crack the intercepted enemy codes and help turn the Second World War in the Allies' favour. Through a series of interviews with those who worked at the intelligence centre in the nondescript Buckinghamshire town, Sinclair McKay has been able to breathe new life into a well-mined story. Bound by the Official Secrets Act, many had not spoken about their war-time roles before; indeed, so assiduously did they follow the letter of the Act, relatives went to their graves thinking their offspring had somehow shirked their patriotic duties during the conflict, rather than being unsung, anonymous heroes. A book that deserves to sit alongside more scholarly offerings on the shelf.
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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful By I. H. C. Mellor VINE VOICE on 22 Oct. 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
What has always amazed me about Bletchley Park is how it has remained so 'secret' for so long. This book goes a long way to explain why that is. The book looks at the lives of the people who worked at the Park during the war, how they came to be there and what it was really like. These are actual accounts from the people themselves. It is a very easy to read and facinating insight into a massive secret operation that probably won us the war. I actually live in Milton Keynes and I know many of the areas mentioned in the book so it is a very vivid, real-life, story for me. I would strongly encourage anyone reading this book, who has not done so already, to visit Bletchley Park, you will definitely feel a need to do so after reading this book. The huts are still there as is the house, lake etc. I found this book an amzing insight into somewhere I have visited several time, but now realise I knew so little about. The accounts of people like Alan Turing and 'Dilly' Knox are fascinating and shows the amazing foresight these people had. This is an excellent book.
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74 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Jean Nisbet on 3 Aug. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I didn't read the blurb for this book before I ordered it, but went on the recommendation of a friend. Since she, like me, is interested in codes, puzzles and wordgames of all kinds, I imagined the book would give detailed information about the enigma machines and how the German codes were cracked in WW2.

But this is a social history of Bletchley Park and it gives most detail about the working conditions, social lives and lodgings of the many poor people who strove to crack the codes. I say poor, because it's clear their conditions were not particularly good in or outside of work. And worst of all, since they were all covered by the Official Secrets Act they were unable to tell even their immediate family and friends at the time or for 30 years after what contribution they had made to ending the war.

I found the description of Alan Turing's life and his bizarre death especially moving. Who knows what Turing might have gone on to contribute to the development of computers had he lived in a more tolerant society?
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71 of 73 people found the following review helpful By S Riaz HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 5 Aug. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Although this book does look at how codes were broken, the war changed and lives affected by what happened at Bletchley Park, this is essentially about the people who worked there. And, what a cast of characters to work with! Boffins, socialites, professors and tea girls. Everyone had a part to play and this is a very interesting book about a fascinating time. Buy and enjoy.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Stevetrumpet VINE VOICE on 28 Oct. 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a very interesting book about the people that worked at Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire during the Second World War working on code breaking, including that of the infamous Enigma machine. This is the story of the codebreakers and other workers rather than about the codes, for which there are many other books available.
The book has some interesting photos and has been written following interviews withthose that were there working at Blecthley during the war.

There is an extensive list of references and so will give anyone wanting to know moew a good set of additinal references. If you have read or seen the film based on the book Enigma and are interested to find out more - then this is a good book to read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Gerry on 25 Aug. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A well written and easy book to read. A real eye opener. How did they manage to keep Bletchley Park such a secret during the ward, nobody knew for example that so many people were involved in Bletchely Park during 1940 to 1945. Also reading between the lines, it helps you to understand why some strange political decisions were made during and after world war two. I enjoyed this book.
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