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on 19 September 2013
Being reader of all military I found the book well written and informative the area covering the principle people was enlightening.I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in military history.
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on 20 September 2017
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on 17 June 2017
I read this for the second time recently, and could only write a review after reading other accounts in the meantime.
This book is a significant 'heart-breaker' for anyone who ever thought that Turing was almost singly responsible for breaking it, or that Enigma was only encountered from 1939. The fact that the Polish had been going after it since the early 30s., might come as a shock to some people.

In itself, the Book is a fascinating account of what was the build-up to being able to decipher it all. However, I found that a lot of the Chapters danced back and forth in time throughout, which made it difficult to relate to them all in chronological order, so the picture became blurred.

Just as in all the other Books, there is absolutely NO mention of WHO actually created this ingenious Beast of a Machine, or even ANY attempts to find him / they who developed it. THAT seems to be, so far, the most closely-guarded Secret of all, and something that Hollywood and Pinewood could never imagine of bringing to the big screen !!

If you jump forward to today, you may wonder, as often as I do, what method or code is used to encipher our e-mails, on-line Bank transactions, Amazon orders and details or anything even vaguely like them. Unscrupulous people have infiltrated them already, but make that fact openly and blatantly obvious. That's ONE thing Bletchley Park could not afford to do. If breaking Enigma was difficult enough, then keeping it a Secret was even MORE difficult. How many lives were knowingly sacrificed to keep that Secret?
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on 2 March 2016
Having read "Seizing the Enigma: The Race to Break the German U-Boat Codes, 1933-1945", have purchased this book to read in depth, about how the boffins got the material to work with, as that book was more about solving how to break the Code, with short interludes about how the machines and code books were sourced. The cover of "Seizing the Enigma" is misleading as it gives the impression that it is a story of the Navies part in the breaking of the code, which is not the aim of the Book, which is more a story about the work of Bletchley Park.
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on 6 October 2012
The cracking of the German Naval Enigma codes was a key turning point of WW2, but until the original publication of this book back in 2000, the complete story hadn't been told.

Whilst the contribution of Alan Turing and his fellow code-breakers at Bletchley Park was considerable, the exploits of spies, naval officers and ordinary British seamen also played a major part.

Indeed, the story dates back to 1932 when the Polish cracked the German Airforce Enigma, although they considered the more complicated Navy Enigma to be unbreakable. When WW2 broke out, they handed this information to the British, which was an important starting point.

Updated for the 70th anniversary of the Enigma breakthrough with new material, this is a dense but involving account which pays due tribute to the many people who lost their lives ensuring that Bletchley Park was supplied with the intelligence they needed to crack the code.
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on 17 November 2014
The effort to break Enigma spanned a decade involved many individuals and is covered here in much better detail some other work.

The true story of Enigma at first top secret, then the stuff of legend has the habit of going through some changes. Robert Harris's "Enigma" and Hollywoods "U-571" and most recently "The Imitation Game" all make for good entertainment, but the real story seems to continue to be elusive.
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on 19 April 2001
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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on 25 March 2002
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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on 13 June 2015
I suspect an agenda here!
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VINE VOICEon 7 February 2003
As bibliography in the back of this book indicates, it's an exhaustively researched piece of work, seemingly leaving no stone unturned in the authors quest to tell the whole story of the cracking of the enigma code from its inception in the early 30's right through to the end of WW2. It may be that this exhaustiveness is what leads to the books' greatest weakness - the leaden, lumpen prose in which it is presented.
The breaking of Enigma was a major acheievement by British intelligence and undountedly lead to the war being shortened, possibly by years; it is a tale of individual courage and of genius, and of the constant race against time to break the messages of the day in the hope of protecting british shipping in the Atlantic.
Sadly, none of this excitment or even interest is conveyed in the writing, and whenever a player in this grand tale seems about to develop a life of their own the authorial hand moves quickly to push them back into the grey, uninvolving prose.
This is a shame; it's a great story, worthy of being often told - but this book - whilst crammed with facts - does not tell a story, more lists dates and names and forces the reader to try and find their invlovement or interest where they may.
Five stars for research and information, one star for writing. A tremendous shame.
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