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Customer Review

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Insight to Code breaking in World War II, 5 Mar. 2010
This review is from: The Hut Six Story : Breaking the Enigma Codes (Paperback)
The is a more complete book specifically on how the Enigma code was broken and dealt with at Bletchley park than
Herivelismus and Top Secret Ultra (though they're very good also and concentrate on more specific elements of the story). Welchman was involved early on and was involved with some specific element of code breaking but also sheds light on the importance of his prominent role into organising the handling of all this information to make the most of it. Reading it it did feel like he'd missed a trick not selling it as a management book but later on he does lightly touch on this point himself.

The book is 254 pages of medium size print split in to four parts over 13 chapters with 3 appendices. Some diagrams, pictures and specific example of documents intercepted and fed on an included.

Part one: Backdrop to Hut 6
Part Two: The First Year
Part Three: The Rest of the War
Part Four: An Addendum (Explaining the difference between the Polish Bomba and British Bombe

A fascinating topic this is and is written in a pleasant easy to read style covering the pre war Enigama, Polish code breaking, handing this to the British and French and how Bletchley took it forward once it got harder to crack.

What is fascinating is the how the leverage of technique they used to get a foot hold into breaking the code, how precarious it all was, how innovative people were (punched holes in paper helped them crack the code!), how organised they were and how much the broke. One of the interesting background stories is the proper secret squirrel operation the Poles undertook when a German parcel was incorrectly posted and they had a weekend to work their magic on it then return it as was.

Welchman covers the two important contribution he made to code breaking, one of which was already independently being developed, as well as the planning and implementation of the hut's organising and the strong links he formed with the signals teams to produce a well oiled machine.

The only criticism I'd really make is this book replaces the original Part four with Welchmans article on the Bombe/Bombe. May be it was a bit dated but could be interesting to read his view on what could have been learnt from his experience back in the 80's.
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