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The Secrets of Station X: How the Bletchley Park codebreakers helped win the war (Dialogue Espionage Classics) Paperback – 11 Aug 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 100 customer reviews

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  • The Secrets of Station X: How the Bletchley Park codebreakers helped win the war (Dialogue Espionage Classics)
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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
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  • Alan Turing: The Enigma: The Book That Inspired the Film The Imitation Game
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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Biteback Publishing (11 Aug. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849540950
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849540957
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 12.7 x 19 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 115,416 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Author

This book contains the most up-to-date history of Bletchley Park with the latest information from the national archives on what happened at Bletchley and what effect it had on the war. It naturally contains some of the same quotations from codebreakers that were used in Station X, my previous history of Bletchley Park, but is a completely new book which is 50 per cent longer than Station X, corrects some of the earlier misinformation surrounding the codebreakers and really is the better of the two books.

About the Author

Michael Smith is a former military intelligence officer and award-winning journalist and author. He is the author of many books, including most recently, Six: A history of Britain s secret intelligence services.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"The Secrets of Station X" is a brilliant book. Through this compact publication, the author Michael Smith introduces the reader to the secret world of the World War Two code-breakers working under the guise of the Government Code & Cypher School based in Bletchley Park, a quirky English Mansion in the heart of rural Buckinghamshire.
Working his way chronologically from 1938 to 1945 the author calls on substantiated evidence and code-breakers' memories. With his easy read, writing style Smith tells the story of some of those people, the place they worked and the work they did, breaking into the enemy codes and cyphers.
By integrating the history of the Second World War with the work of the code-breakers Smith highlights the importance of their work, their frustrations and the tensions under which they were working.
With simple explanation of codes and cyphers the author explains the breaking into the Enigma cyphers, the working of the Enigma machines and that of the Bombe machines tasked to assist in breaking those cyphers; the building of Colossus to identify the wheel settings of the Lorenz machine used to encipher the teleprinter messages between Hitler and his high command. He also introduces, the often ignored, work undertaken on hand cyphers and in particular the breaking of the Japanese codes.
With 295 pages of substantiated facts 24 pages of notes and 9 index pages, this book is well laid out and well presented. To my mind, this book makes for good reading and is an ideal reference tool.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am sure this book deserves five stars for the comprehensiveness of its account of the code-breaking activities at Bletchley Park; but stars are intended to indicate whether “I love it” (5) or “I like it” (4). I have given it only four stars because there were several times when I considered giving up the book: when its technical details were so dense, when I could not understand the descriptions of the decoding machines, when I lost track of the meanings of abbreviations or indeed of the huge cast of characters.

But each time, just as I was about to give up, the book would spring to life again: we have the depiction of the amazing atmosphere in a military establishment in which so many eccentric academics were allowed to be eccentric. We find young men who will have very distinguished career is later life (Roy Jenkins, for instance; Peter Benenson who would become the founder of Amnesty International; the novelists Angus Wilson and Ian Fleming; the chess master Harry Golombek; others would become well-known academics like the historians Trevor-Roper, Asa Briggs, J.H.Plumb, T.S.R.Boase and the American William Bundy). And of course there are the giants of code-breakers, including Dilly Knox, John Tiltman, Alan Turing, Hugh Alexander and Tommy Flowers. In John Cairncross Bletchley Park had a Soviet double agent who passed information on to the Soviet Union. He was not suspected at the time; but there were often suspicions that American colleagues could not be trusted to keep the strict secrecy to which everyone at Bletchley was so committed that, except at the top level, the great majority of the people who were working there did not even tell each other what they were doing and often did not know what role their individual work was playing in the overall picture.
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Format: Paperback
I have already read Station X by this author and Secret Life of Bletchley Park but neither of them were as good as this book. There seems to be far more in this book than either of the others. It reads very well and one only has to turn to the back of the book to see the broad and far-reaching research that was carried out in the construction of this book.

I didn't realise that most of the people at Bletchley were young woman in their late teens and early twenties and they do seem to have enjoyed themselves in all sorts of ways! But what is really good about this book is that it not only tell you how they lived, it also tells you what difference they made at each point of the war. They really did make a difference in a lot of ways.

This is definitely five stars for me.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Sometimes I find the daily Amazon emails can be a little annoying or irrelevant but they are always worth keeping for the occasional gems they point you in the direction of, The Secrets of Station X being one of them.

I couldn't say I knew much about what went on at Bletchley Park but was well aware of the legend that has been built up about the place and the significance of its contribution during the Second World War.

So when the opportunity arose to find out more, at a snip of a price, I might add I quickly added the book to my Kindle library.

It proved to be a thoroughly absorbing and rewarding read and tells the tale in some detail as to the extensive contributions made by the many people at Bletchley Park and the positive impact those fine and talented people had.

As well as being a great read in itself Michael Smith's book has piqued my curiosity to read more about some of the missions, battles and events referred to. And in reading those other books specific to those operations and events I've learned yet more about those at Bletchley Park and how their work and efforts were perceived by those benefiting from their achievements in breaking enemy codes.

A book, well worthy of your time and your hard earned.
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