World War II

F.H. Hinsley, Codebreakers

Table of Contents

Hinsley, F.H., and Alan Stripp, eds. Codebreakers: The Inside Story of Bletchley Park. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993. 1994. [pb] 2001. [pb]

According to Surveillant 3.2/3, this book has "30 chapters, all written by persons who worked at Bletchley Park"; they are "important contributions." Weierud, Cryptolog 15.1, believes that the stories told in Codebreakers "deserve serious attention.... It is its authenticity that make[s] this book unique.... The book is amazingly coherent and well written" and "documents an important part of our wartime history."

Bates, NIPQ 11.2, notes that "Codebreakers ... is a collection of ... personal recollections of things that occurred 50 years ago. In order to minimize errors due to faulty memories the editors have done extensive cross checking between contributions and research into documents which have been declassified. Hinsley has written an excellent introduction.... This is a major contribution to the cryptanalyst's professional library.... [B]ut it is also of great interest to all intelligence professionals."

For Ferris, I&NS 9.3, this is "an essential work. It must be read by anyone and everyone concerned with intelligence during the Second World War.... Gaps, of course, remain." For example, it "does not discuss diplomatic codebreaking." This is a "companion to the official history."

Ceruzzi, Science, 13 May 1994, says that this book "is unique in that it contains only first-person accounts," all by participants in the Bletchley Park drama. "These are the stories mainly of people working at the lowest levels, who had little knowledge of how their work fitted into the big picture, other than knowing that it was important.... [T]his is one of the best of the books about Bletchley Park."

To Trevor-Roper, Spectator, 18 Sep. 1993, the details of the work of the people at Bletchley Park "were so complicated that it is hard to explain them, or make them interesting, to the uninitiated, as some readers of this book may find. But the book is an important record.... To say that BP won the war would be untrue and unfair. But it certainly tipped the scales, shortened the war, and preserved us from defeat."

Booklist, 1 Nov. 1993, comments that the narratives do "not require much background on cryptography" to understand. The stories present "the human side of an operation more secret than and just as critical to Allied victory as anything in the war except the Manhattan Project. For the most part, the men and women involved ... tell their stories with simple eloquence."

Kruh, Cryptologia 18.1, finds Codebreakers to be "a remarkable book, undoubtedly the definitive work on Bletchley Park, with lively anecdotes and detailed stories giving a colorful account of BP's daily life and work." Also in Cryptologia 18.1, Deavours writes that "[e]veryone interested in cryptology or history in general[] will want to own a copy of this book.... [T]he articles are quite well written and fit together in a nearly seamless fashion..., a tribute to the book's editors who have done an outstanding job."

Table of Contents

Introduction. "The Influence of Ultra in the Second World War," F.H. Hinsley

Part 1. The Production of Ultra Intelligence

1. "Life In and Out of Hut 3," William Millward

2. "The Duty Officer, Hut 3," Ralph Bennett

3. "A Naval Officer in Hut 3," Edward Thomas

4. "The Z Watch in Hut 4, Part I," Alec Dakin

5. "The Z Watch in Hut 4, Part II," Walter Eytan

6. "Italian Naval Decrypts," Patrick Wilkinson

7. "Naval Section VI," Vivienne Alford

8. "Anglo-American Signals Intelligence Co-operation," Telford Taylor

9. "An American at Bletchley Park," Robert M. Slusser

10. "Bletchley Park, the Admiralty, and Naval Enigma," F. H. Hinsley

Part 2. Enigma

11. "The Enigma Machine: Its Mechanism and Use," Alan Stripp

12. "Hut 6: Early days," Stuart Milner-Barry

13. "Hut 6: 1941-1945," Derek Taunt

14. "Hut 8 and Naval Enigma, Part I," Joan Murray

15. "Hut 8 and Naval Enigma, Part II," Rolf Noskwith

16. "The Abwehr Enigma," Peter Twinn

17. "The Bombes," Diana Payne

Part. 3. Fish

18. "An Introduction to Fish," F. H. Hinsley

19. "Enigma and Fish," Jack Good

20. "The Tunny Machine," Ken Halton

21. "Operation Tunny," Gil Hayward

Part 4. Field Ciphers and Tactical Codes

22. "Recollections of Bletchley Park, France, and Cairo," Henry Dryden

23. "Army Ultra's Poor Relations," Noel Currer-Briggs

24. "Navy Ultra's Poor Relations," Christopher Morris

25. "Tactical Signals of the German Air Force," Peter Gray Lucas

Part 5. Japanese Codes

26. "Japanese Naval Codes," Michael Loewe

27. "Bedford-Bletchley-Kilindini-Colombo," Hugh Denham

28. "Japanese Military Codes," Maurice Wiles

29. "Japanese Army Air Force Codes at Bletchley Park and Delhi," Alan Stripp

30. "Recollections of Temps Perdu at Bletchley Park," Carmen Blacker

Appendix. "How the Bletchley Park Buildings Took Shape," Bob Watson

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