Add a second review of "The Secret Listeners"
authorAlex Chan <alex@alexwlchan.net>
Tue, 10 Mar 2020 08:38:25 +0000 (08:38 +0000)
committerAlex Chan <alex@alexwlchan.net>
Tue, 10 Mar 2020 08:38:25 +0000 (08:38 +0000)
src/reviews/2020/the-secret-listeners-2019.md [new file with mode: 0644]

diff --git a/src/reviews/2020/the-secret-listeners-2019.md b/src/reviews/2020/the-secret-listeners-2019.md
new file mode 100644 (file)
index 0000000..d5e78dc
--- /dev/null
@@ -0,0 +1,29 @@
+---
+book:
+  author: Sinclair McKay
+  cover_image: 'the-secret-listeners.jpg'
+  publication_year: '2012'
+  title: The Secret Listeners
+  isbn13: '9781845137632'
+review:
+  date_read: '2020-03-10'
+  format: 'hardback'
+  rating: 5
+---
+
+I tried to read this in 2017, struggled, and put it back on the shelf.
+Now I've had a second attempt, I'm really glad I kept it.
+
+This is a book about the [Y service](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Y-stations), the British signals intelligence stations that monitored radio transmissions during both World Wars.
+They had to transcribe the high-speed, encrypted Morse transmissions at incredible speed, and do direction-finding to pinpoint the location of an enemy transmission.
+
+The level of detail and research is clear.
+There are lots of quotes and records from people who actually did the work, who were members of Y service.
+It's an aspect to wartime espionage I'd never really thought about before.
+
+I didn't count, but I think the majority of accounts are from women (most of the work was done by [Wrens](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_Royal_Naval_Service)); a nice counterpoint to military histories that usually focus on men.
+
+Perhaps surprisingly, this history book has also inspired me to spread my wings a little more.
+(COVID-19 pandemic notwithstanding.)
+These stations were scattered around the world -- Sardinia, Cairo, India; from sandy deserts to tropical islands -- and people younger than me were catapulted from quiet British lives to cosmopolitan world travellers.
+In 2020, I'm never going to be a Morse operator or signals intelligence officer, but I can try to see a bit more of the world.