Add an entry for "Codebreakers"
authorAlex Chan <alex@alexwlchan.net>
Tue, 15 Sep 2020 08:35:32 +0000 (09:35 +0100)
committerAlex Chan <alex@alexwlchan.net>
Tue, 15 Sep 2020 08:35:32 +0000 (09:35 +0100)
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src/reviews/2020/codebreakers-the-inside-story-of-bletchley-park.md [new file with mode: 0644]

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+---
+book:
+  author: F.H. Hinsley and Alan Tripp
+  cover_image: codebreakers-the-inside-story-of-bletchley-park.jpg
+  isbn13: '9780198203278'
+  publication_year: '1993'
+  title: 'Codebreakers: The inside story of Bletchley Park'
+review:
+  date_read: 2020-09-15
+  format: hardback
+  rating: 5
+---
+
+A series of first-hand accounts from people who worked at or with Bletchley Park.
+It covers a variety of areas -- flavours of Enigma and Tunny, hand-ciphers, Japanese codes, indexing of information -- and includes anecdotes that are too small or personal to be mentioned in the narrative histories.
+
+I don't think there are any really "big" names in this book (Turing, Tutte, Welchman, etc.).
+It's much more the thousands of people who made the Park work, rather than the mathematical brains who made a few key breakthroughs.
+It shows a side to the Park I haven't read as much about before.
+A lot of personal, day-to-day life, rather than the pure mathematics of codebreaking.
+
+As part of that, there's a distinct scepticism of the value of the work.
+Modern commentary is adamant that Bletchley Park either won the war or shortened it by years; this was less clear-cut to the people actually working there (who often never saw the output of their work).
+One person leaves saying "I do not honestly think that I served any purpose useful in shortening the war".
+I found that an interesting counter-perspective to the conventional wisdom around BP.
+
+Would highly recommend to anybody interested in BP or its history.
+
+I don't remember how I got this book, but it's definitely staying on my shelves.