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The Secret Listeners: How the Wartime Y Service Intercepted the Secret German Codes for Bletchley Park by [McKay, Sinclair]
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The Secret Listeners: How the Wartime Y Service Intercepted the Secret German Codes for Bletchley Park Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 149 customer reviews

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Length: 369 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

'A fascinating read'

Milton Keynes Citizen

‘McKay’s focus is rather on the personal experiences of the individual Y Service operators — it brings home not only the reality of what these people were doing but also the daily privations endured with remarkable resilience by so many in that war. As with those at Bletchley, the silence of that generation, their disciplined restraint for decades afterwards, is as impressive as their achievements. They felt the powerful pull of common cause and (mostly) had the privilege of knowing that their contribution was significant. Awful as it was for much of the time, for many nothing that followed ever quite lived up to it. We should be grateful that the survivors are talking now.’

Alan Judd Spectator

'As McKay argues in this well-told story, the Y Service has been "sadly and curiously" uncelebrated. Yet were it not for all those encoded messages relayed with such care, the codebreakers at Bletchley would have had little to go on. It was their efforts that made the revolutionary leaps of Bletchley possible. They should be commemorated properly as having played their parts in one of the greatest achievements of the 20th century, he says. And he has done them proud.'

Brian MacArthur Daily Telegraph

‘Sinclair McKay has gathered together memories, from published works and from interviews with surviving veterans. This book is full of delightful episodes.’

The Book Dad

‘Sinclair McKay’s account of this secret war of the airwaves is as painstakingly researched and fascinating as his bestselling The Secret Life Of Bletchley Park, and an essential companion to it.’

Daily Mail

‘Their contribution enabled the code-breakers to achieve their break-through, something that, in turn, shortened the war and saved countless lives.’

Good Book Guide

The veterans who monitored radio traffic and transcrived Morse code are given full, overdue credit in this intriguing book

Saga Magazine

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. 

 


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4846 KB
  • Print Length: 369 pages
  • Publisher: Aurum Press (4 Oct. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781310904
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781310908
  • ASIN: B0091849OU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 149 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #154,477 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer reviews

Top customer reviews

Format: Hardcover
I bought this book because I really enjoyed the author's previous one on Bletchley Park.

Like the last one, it is beautifully human and makes you realise all the extraordinary things people did for their country with such quiet dignity and without fuss or fanfare. The last book focussed on the lives of the people code-breaking at Bletchley park, but this one is about the men and women who were scattered around the world listening in on German communications and meticulously transcribing (and sometimes decoding) the messages to send back to Blecthley (often while also batting away incendiary bombs!).

It's only in recent years that the men and women of the 'Y-Service' (as they were called) have been allowed to talk about their time serving their nation, and it is amazing how humble they are and how woefully un-sung their praises have been. This is a riveting account of the lives of real people.

If you're after a meticulously researched history of the Y-Service then this won't be the book for you, but if like me you like to read the real stories of the people who lived the war and their first-hand stories of what they did, what it was like and how it changed their lives, then this is as good as any I've read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Much has already been written about the remarkable WW2 work at Bletchley but this volume covers the web of worldwide listeners who provided much of the source material for Bletchley. Often working in dangerous, uncomfortable conditions their dedication and concentration comes through in this very readable account. The topic has the potential to be a litany of personal histories but the author cleverly avoids this pitfall by humanising each chapter and allowing the reader to gain just a glimpse of what it must have been like. The fact that the enemy never got wind of the comprehensive allied code-breaking achievements must go down in history as one of the most remarkable achievements of human dedication, self discipline and self sacrifice.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bought Kindle version for myself and the book for my 94 year veteran naval secret listener who was based in Alexandria ! We could discuss it together! It was great and accurate! So interesting ! He's upset though as he never heard from the then Prime Minister Gordon Brown in 2009 with a letter and commemorative medal ! I would love to sort this out for him!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The history is interesting - and it's good to know more about what these people and organisations did during the war, but the writing style doesn't really do it for me. It comes across as a series of recollections just jotted down rather than told as an evolving story with some decent narrative to bind it together.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's not until you read a book like this that you really get to understand what everyone at Bletchley Park, and those scattered around the world at the listening stations did to help shorten the War. It's a shame that it took so long for us to find out exactly what they did. A great and very informative book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A good book, I enjoyed it because I used to be a radar engineer.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Fascinating read. One of the better books on the hush hush side of the war.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Excellent book, well researched and written, engrossing reading about the Y Service all over the world, some brave operators out there
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