The Secret Lives of Codebreakers

  • by Sinclair McKay
  • Narrated by Walter Dixon
  • 10 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A remarkable look at the day-to-day life of the codebreakers whose clandestine efforts helped win World War II.
Bletchley Park looked like any other sprawling country estate. In reality, however, it was the top-secret headquarters of Britain’s Government Code and Cypher School - and the site where Germany’s legendary Enigma code was finally cracked. There, the nation’s most brilliant mathematical minds - including Alan Turing, whose discoveries at Bletchley would fuel the birth of modern computing - toiled alongside debutantes, factory workers, and students on projects of international importance. Until now, little has been revealed about ordinary life at this extraordinary facility.
Drawing on remarkable first-hand interviews, The Secret Lives of Codebreakers reveals the entertainments, pastimes, and furtive romances that helped ease the incredible pressures faced by these covert operatives as they worked to turn the tide of World War II.

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What the Critics Say

"McKay's book is an eloquent tribute to a quite remarkable group of men and women, whose like we will not see again." (Mail On Sunday)
McKay's book is an eloquent tribute to a quite remarkable group of men and women, whose like we will not see again." (Mail On Sunday)
"Five stars." (Sunday Telegraph)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Dull treatment of an exciting subject

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

probably not. there are better books on the subject


Has The Secret Lives of Codebreakers turned you off from other books in this genre?

Not at all


Any additional comments?

I hate to be too hard on this book, but I personally found it a very dull read on a subject I am fascinated by. It's not easy to write engaging non-fiction, but if ever there was fertile ground for it, it was the story of Bletchley Park in the 30s and 40s.There was nothing new for me in this recounting of the facts- though there were some interesting "telling" about some of the more interesting personalities and management styles, but it all read like a newspaper account- there was no "showing". I never felt any kind of connection to the people or the place. It was all just thoroughly, but dryly described.

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- Drew

One of the more approachable histories

I've read or listened to several histories of Bletchley Park. This one does a great job of letting you know what it was like for the people who were there. How the food was. What the conditions were at their billets. How so many people could work in such close proximity and rarely see one another. How the secret of Ultra could have been kept by so many, for so long.

And, yes, what sorts of contributions to the war they were making, whether they knew it at the time or not.
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- Sean "Say something about yourself!"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-02-2013
  • Publisher: Gildan Media, LLC