Thistle Publishing Home News Authors About Books

Codebreakers: The Inside Story of Bletchley Park

This is a colourful and authentic account of daily life and work at Government Communications Headquarters, Bletchley Park, the most successful intelligence agency in history.

By 1942 the codebreakers of Bletchley Park and its out-stations were breaking some 4,000 German signals a day, and almost as many from Italy and Japan, eavesdropping on enemy communications up to the highest levels of command. Their colleagues used these decrypts to produce Ultra intelligence which gave a detailed, accurate, and up-to-date picture of enemy strengths, weaknesses, and intentions. The codebreakers' contribution to the war effort was invaluable: Churchill described them as the `secret weapon' that `won the war'.

For the first time a group of the men and women who worked on this top-secret enterprise have combined to write their story in full. Here, they vividly describe their recruitment and training, their feelings and activities, and recall in detail their successes and failures.


It is an exciting story they have to tell. (Tom Greenwell, Yorkshire Post)

Because of its intense secrecy, the work of the men and women at Bletchley received no public recognition for many years after the war, and many of those who made important contributions are no longer alive.This volume of personal recollections by some 30 of the survivors is ... especially welcome. Conditions of life and work at Bletchley, and its principal achievements, are faithfully sampled in Codebreakers, which is worth reading both for its historical interest and for the sidelights it throws on the problems encountered in the rapid assembly and organization of one of the greatest collections of talent that has ever occurred in Western civilization. (Nature)

This unique volume will be of great interest to cryptologists in particular, and intelligence buffs in general. (Surveillant)

While some of the chapters are so technical that Stella Rimmington would struggle to unscramble them, one still gets a strong sense of the excitement and frustrations of a war fought on the airwaves. (Daily Telegraph)

The anecdotal material is fascinating in the insight it gives into everyday life at the institution. (Sunday Times)

Hinsley and Stripp have assembled 30 reminiscers - most geniuses, a few slaves, all highly informative. (Robin Blake, Independent on Sunday)

It is a remarkable tribute to the men and women who worked to crack the Germans' Enigma code. (David Hall,Oxford Times)

The most interesting thing about this collection of essays is the light it throws on the personalities concerned. (Times Higher Education Supplement)

These essays on the diverse activities at Bletchley Park (which remained secret until the 1970s) are enthralling. (The Observer)

What makes Codebreakers so absorbing is that it has been written by the men and women who worked at Bletchley Park, all of whom were forbidden to talk about their work at the time. Codebreakers gives a fascinating insight into their daily lives. (Madeleine Burton, Hitchin Gazette)

One gets a strong sense of the excitement and frustrations of a war fought on the airwaves. (Daily Telegraph)

Interesting stuff. (The Marine Society)

This book has been put together from the personal memories of people none of whom would now be under 65. That they are so readable attests to the skill of the editors, who were themselves part of the Bletchley operation. Above all, it highlights the painstaking effort that intelligence work demands; but, as this volume shows, intelligence is useless there is force and a willingness to take advantage of it. (Canberra Times)

Buy Alan Stripp