The Secret Listeners

  • by Sinclair McKay
  • Narrated by Gordon Griffin
  • 12 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Before Bletchley Park could break the German war machine’s code, its daily military communications had to be monitored and recording by "the Listening Service" - the wartime department whose bases moved with every theatre of war: Cairo, Malta, Gibraltar, Iraq, Cyprus, as well as having listening stations along the eastern coast of Britain to intercept radio traffic in the European theatre. This is the story of the - usually very young - men and women sent out to far-flung outposts to listen in for Bletchley Park, an oral history of exotic locations and ordinary lives turned upside down by a sudden remote posting - the heady nightlife in Cairo, filing cabinets full of snakes in North Africa, and flights out to Delhi by luxurious flying boat.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A Truly Fascinating Read

I found this book to be especially interesting because it covers so much that I never had an inkling about before. I should have, but it just never occurred to me. Common sense should have told me that the program had to have had existed. I read about Enigma and the Benchley code breakers practically ad nauseam and never once wondered how they came by all those codes they were breaking in the first place.

The book gives a fascinating insight into the critical information-gathering role women played in both the European and Far Eastern theatres of war, many of them barely out of their teens - were frequently located at various, and generally extremely isolated, locations in the UK. But many of them were also shipped off to exotic overseas locations which, occasionally, were dangerously close to the front line. It was inevitable that many of the girls had to put up with decidedly chauvinistic comments from both troops and officers who, completely ignorant of what the girls were doing, considered the battlefield no place for women. The feminist in me loves the fact that in the 1940's women in this program managed by sheer ability to overcome the "don't worry your pretty little head" or the "just hand me the bullets honey while I fire the gun" myth.

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- Jeanette Finan

Fascinating, well-written & well-read

A unique, interesting, and well read account of the wiretappers of World War II. The men and women who listen to the Morse signals, and passed them onto Bletchley park to be decoded. Often working in real time, the wire listeners played an extremely important role in the second world war. This is the first work I have seen on the subject, but I would love to see more! The author treats the subject with sympathy, speaking with several of the remaining wire listeners. He's able to give an account of their personal lives as well as the important work that they performed in the war. Great author, great reader. Definitely recommend it!
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- B. Hobbs "dulcedeleche9"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-04-2012
  • Publisher: Audible Studios