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Station X: The Code Breakers of Bletchley Park - Michael Smith

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      03.04.2014 15:01
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      A great insight into a vital well kept secret

      The Ultra Secret ---------------- Station X was the nickname given to the code breaking establishment at Bletchley Park near what is now Milton Keynes. Here during world war two vital secret messages were broken that reduced the length of the war and saved many lives. The highly secret nature of this work meant that their story didn't become public for decades. Some secrets will probably never come out. ?Ultra? was the code for the intelligence gathered, because it was so important and vital to the war effort. This book is the story of how these talented people broke the Enigma code and an even more complex code called ?Tunny?, much more complex and used by the German high command, including Hitler himself. The code breakers, with little to go on managed to break this difficult code and to do this produced what is recognised now as the world's first programmable computer, dubbed ?Colossus?. It's a fascinating read, that is very well written. The author has a great passion for the subject and this comes through. It's not a heavy read either. The book really gives you an idea of the odds against the code breakers and how the geniuses working there broke the codes against all odds. There were some real characters working here and their story is told here. The book also tells the story of Alan Turing, a true genius and pioneer who sadly never received the recognition her deserved in his lifetime. Sadly most of the people who worked here have died, but their legacy lives on and is perfectly retold here. This book helps to finally give credit to those who really deserve it. There was also a TV series for the book but this is hard to get hold of, so this is an excellent insight into the lives and vital work. I have read it a number of times and each time am amazed at their achievements. I would highly recommend looking it up. Highly recommend.

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      22.12.2008 02:54
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      A great read at any level!

      This magnificent book tells the story of Britain's best kept secret! Station X was that secret, and it was probably Station X that played a huge part in ending the war when it did, with the outcome that happened. Britain could quite easily have been crushed due to the might of the German Luftwaffe, or we might have been starved by German Naval shipping, sinking ships that supplied us with food, or the Axis forces could quite simply have sailed across the Channel, landed on our beaches and after a short battle could have simply taken over (although it is debatable what they would have come up against the further north they got). The Nazis might have managed to over-run us in part due to their communications network and how they passed information through various commands. The Nazis had a machine which encoded their communications in such a way that the allied forces would never know their next move - they had Enigma! This machine could encode a message, such that it would take an enormous number of calculations over a hugely impractical time for a cryptographer to decode the message. There were 159 million million million different possibilities! But a select number of people managed to do it. Sometimes even before the intended German recipient had managed to unravel their own message. And it was all hush-hush! Its very existence was kept from even some of the highest ranking. Its workers knew the huge importance of their work, but most of the times did not have a clue what even their closest of colleagues was up to. This book tells the story of how this select, a choice of academics and others, from the upper classes mainly, set to work inventing methods and machines (essentially the fore-runner of the modern computer) which would outwit the German Enigma. We learn about the unusual recruitment method, involving the Daily Telegraph crossword. We read about the important and much overlooked earlier work of the Polish in this most secret of adventures. How a country estate was bought up and converted into a secret codebreaking site. The book does its best to explain to the layman some of the complex principles of cryptography. We get an insight into the personalities behind this phenomena. We are taken through the battle of Britain - despite being outnumbered in the air, Bletchley Park's role gave the Brits a certain edge. We learn the story of how, despite working in bleak conditions and a lack of resources, the workers petitioned to Churchill, and the results of that. We have the battle of the Atlantic, North Africa and the inevitable American involvement. The book comes to an ending with the Invasion of Europe and the end of Bletchley Park. This is a fascinating book and it would be too easy in a review like this too give too much away about it. It is the story of the silent heroes of the British War Effort, many of whom took the secret of Bletchley Park to the Grave with them. Thousands were involved, and how the Nazis never found out is a wonder. Currently available on Amazon for £5.99+£2.75 P&P. For a bargain though, I always try ebid.net first. You should get a copy including P&P for less than a fiver at the ebid.net less than a fiver store http://tinyurl.com/36qeoov

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