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on 6 March 2014
I bought this book because my mum worked at Bletchley Park, imagine the surprise I got on finding a picture of her off duty with her friends. I have the exact same photo and mum had drawn an arrow on the photo with "me" written underneath, to send to her future husband (my dad). Mum never talked about her time there or what she did, I don't even know what hut she was in. All I know is in her later years she told me she had loved her time at Bletchley Park. Mum never got to see this book as she died at the age of 86 in 2007, but she would have been thrilled to see herself in the book!
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on 6 February 2009
The history of Bletchley Park since 1973, when F. W. Winterbotham's The Ultra Secret: The Inside Story of Operation Ultra, Bletchley Park and Enigma shattered the existing historiography of WWII, has been a field which has expanded hugely. There are now hundreds of works, in the form of novel, film, article and full monograph which focus on the history of Bletchley Park. However few, if any, have been written with the lives of everyday Bletchley Park's workers in mind. That was, of course, until Marion Hill wrote 'Bletchley Park People'. As a result Marion Hill has provided us with a new look at an old subject; a social history of Bletchley Park from the point of view of the thousands of unknown and uncelebrated individuals who worked at the Park.

The work is based upon substantial research at the Imperial War Museum and the Bletchley Park Trust Archive, and the bulk of the material used are written and recorded memories of Bletchley Park veterans stored at these depositories. As a result `Bletchley Park People' is a work which fuses together numerous anecdotes which, accompanied and contextualised by the author's commentary, creates a delightful synthesis of history and reminisce.

However, the work is not without flaws. In particular `Bletchley Park People' has a tendency to ignore a number of key issues and suffers from several methodological flaws. In the case of the former, the issue of gender, for example, is in need of considerable expansion. While the author notes that female employees encountered a `glass ceiling' [p. 78], the issue is hurriedly discarded within a few paragraphs. In the case of the methodological issues, the book is based upon anecdote. In itself that is not a problem if anecdote is supported with further supporting evidence. However `Bletchley Park People' shows little evidence of being supported by any other forms of archival evidence. Furthermore the book's bibliography lists only seven works of secondary literature, though other works are included in notes. As a result Marion Hill leaves her work almost entirely reliant upon anecdote.

Other issues, particularly the lack of an index, are simply irritating. Additionally, for those readers who wish to research the topic further, the book offers irritating obstacles. While `Bletchley Park People' is supplemented with endnotes, many of which list the relevant archive employed by the author, full references, to specific archival files and interviews, are eschewed. Worse still, many direct quotes are left entirely without reference even to specific archives.

All in all, though `Bletchley Park People' is a work littered with flaws both great and small, it is still pioneering, fascinating and often delightful.
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on 26 June 2013
Very interesting book,my husband has not put it down since i bought it for him.I recommend this book and a must have.
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on 8 October 2016
Just what I expected, brilliant.
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on 31 March 2011
An enjoyable read in that a picture is built up of the daily life of several of the ordinary "footsoldiers".
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on 27 December 2014
AGAIN TELLS A COMPLEX STORY
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on 13 December 2015
No comment.
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