Summary: Sinclair McKay opens up many new secrets of the U.K., World War II, as well as a very secret place where the British were deciphering the code. The code used to send undecipherable messages: Enigma! He reveals these secrets through his international bestselling book The Secret Lives of Codebreakers: The Men and Women who Cracked the Enigma Code at Bletchley Park. There were mainline codebreakers, those of which were Alan Turing, Dilly Knox, Gordon Welchman, Oliver and Sheila Lawn, Mavis Batey, Angus Wilson and many others. The code of Enigma was said to be the unbreakable code, which it was. But unfortunately for the British, the Germans used the Enigma machines to their own advantage. But the men and women who served at Bletchley Park were able to figure out the Enigma code. But the toughest type of Enigma was the naval Enigma. Without the thousands of intelligent linguists, mathematicians, codebreakers, and Wrens, breaking the Enigma all the way into German High Command wouldn’t have been possible, as Captain Jerry Roberts tells from his experiences, “Captain Jerry Roberts recalls one extraordinary day when he realized just how far into German High Command they had managed to penetrate: ‘The people the messages were going to and coming from would be given at the beginning of the message. So you would have General so and so sending to Army HQ in Berlin. Most of them were signed by a general. Some were signed by Hitler. I can remember myself deciphering at least one message-he just called himself: ‘Adolf Hitler, Führur.’’”(McKay 263).
Evaluation: I think this book was a really good book. I especially liked the stories behind the secrets of Bletchley Park. Some include what each of the huts did in the operation of Bletchley Park, as well as the very interesting machines, including the revolutionary bombe machines which helped mechanize the codebreaking process. Soon after, the Colossus, the precursor of the modern computer, helped in the sinkings of the Bismarck, Scharnhorst, and Tirpitz. Other machines included the Russian enciphering machine called LEKTOR, which enciphered Russian messages for sending to its allies, as well as a Japanese deciphering machine known as MAGIC 44, which was used to decipher messages, especially from the Russians. The most shocking fact I ever read in the book was the fact that on September 7, 1940, 350 German bombers came and dropped a total of 19,000 tons of bombs on London alone, and I feel that they did not see that coming.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Recommendations: The Story of My Experiments with Truth by Gandhi, The Night Trilogy by Elie Wiesel, D-Day, June 6, 1944 by Stephen E. Ambrose