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Top Secret Ultra [Hardcover]

Peter Calvocoressi
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 1980
This title was first published in 1980. This new edition has been rewritten (by the original author), re-typeset, re-illustrated and re-indexed.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Cassell; First Edition edition (July 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0304305464
  • ISBN-13: 978-0304305469
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,637,476 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

From the Publisher

This is one of only three books about Bletchley Park to be written by someone working there in a senior capacity for virtually the whole war. This lends it a rare degree of authenticity. Of course, a 158-page book can not be, in any sense, 'complete', but it does offer an excellent overview of the Bletchley/Enigma story, with sections on BP, the Enigma machine, codebreaking, deriving usable intelligence from decrypts, and most valuably, an informed assessment of how the decrypted information helped the Allies bring the war to an end. Authentic, and with a broad coverage, this is the best choice for anyone wanting to read just one book on this subject. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This is a fairly short and digestible book. It is about Ultra, the handling and uses of itelligence from Enigma traffic, and does not just deal exclusively with the code breaking at Bletchly Park.
I found it very interesting, particularly the way that the intelligence picture was built up from fragmentary decyphering of transmissions, logging quantities and geographical sources of traffic and the uses to which it was put. The films often don't make clear that many messages took days or weeks to decode or that decoding failed completely.
I shall definitely take a more detailed look at the subject having read this very good book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars top secret ultra 24 Jun 2013
By edward
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
reading this book gave me further insight into a matter which i thought i fully understood, now having read i now now more in fuller detail.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting insight 5 Jan 2008
Unfortunately you don't learn a great deal about Bletchley Park in this volume, but you do get to feel you have a nodding acquaintance with some of the key players.

By its nature a book like this (memoirs of someone working there from some thirty years on) is going to be sketchy and anecdotal, and very far from being complete, but as an interesting adjunct to all the other works which document this crucial aspect of WWII it's worthwhile.

The author's style is self-deprecatory in places, almost apologetic, but a sense of his love for the whole episode shines through.

Get this if you're a serious historian, borrow it if you're interest is merely casual, but read it anyway.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Short but Very Good 20 Jan 2010
By Hagrid's Umbrella VINE VOICE
Reading a book about an interesting subject can sometimes make it difficult to judge however I really enjoyed this book so am giving it the full marks. It should be noted that this is very short, just 140 pages over five chapters plus some appendixes.

The author worked in Hut 3 and gives an overview of the code breaking, no real detail, but is more involved with Hut 3 and Ultra, dealing with the decrypted messages. The writing is in a nice flowing style.

Chapter 1 - Bletchley Park
Overview what was done there. Brief outline of the author getting there (only in 1942) and some of the weakness with the Germans use of it.

Chapter 2 - The Enigma and the Poles
Excellent to get the story from before we worked on it and learn some of the details of it with their hard work, insight on taking up the intelligence of what was offered by the French when we and the French(cyphers) not that interested. Description of the Enigma machine.

Chapter 3 - Three Stages to Daylight
Discusses interception, decypher and use.

Chapter 4 - The Uses of Ultra
What he's lead up to with some interesting examples and putting its value in perspective.

Chapter 5 - A verdict
Summing up the achievements.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging 10 Jan 2013
By bokspahi - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
One of the classic descriptions of efforts at Bletchley to crack the German ciphers. Calvocoressi was one of the officers in charge of the ULTRA program. He writes beautifully. A number of later accounts rely in part on his, so those familiar with the story of ULTRA will recognize the details. There is not a lot by way of crypto, early comp-sci, or technical detail, which really is the unique achievement of the ULTRA decrypts. But it is an engaging story of the magnificent efforts of dedicated men and women and of the immense challenges they overcame.
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