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The Bletchley Girls by Tessa Dunlop

The Bletchley Girls

Biography / Autobiography   NewGen - YA Fiction   Books of the Month   History   eBook Favourites   eBook Favourites   

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January 2015 Non-Fiction Book of the Month.

Interest in Bletchley Park has reached dizzying and glamorous heights, so to read a realistic rather than romanticised picture of fifteen women who spent time there is utterly compelling. These Bletchley Park veterans are from various backgrounds, they have widely different memories and experiences, however there is a vein of steadfastness and true spirit that weaves through and marks these women apart. The author introduces backgrounds, routes to, life at and perhaps with most impact, life after Bletchley Park. It does take a little time to get to know and differentiate between the fifteen women, as memories are mixed together on a time line rather than each individual story being highlighted. Even though this is a rational, practical trip down memory lane, from the tip of the Official Secrets Act, to the toe of the continuous repetition of most of their roles, you can not help but be thrilled by this glimpse into a truly fascinating world. ~ Liz Robinson

The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. Boasting an average age of ninety, the fifteen veterans featured in this book are not just Bletchley girls – they are also the children of the Armistice, the schoolgirls of the thirties, the housewives of the fifties, and the grandmothers of the digital age. Their lives have been profoundly marked by two world wars, and the world into which they were born is now as distant as that of ancient Rome. Until now, Bletchley’s narrative has been predominantly a male one – one only has to think of the recent film The Imitation Game to be aware of that. By 1944, however, women outnumbered men three to one at Bletchley, yet it is only now that these wonderful women are enjoying their long-overdue fifteen minutes of fame. Published to coincide with the 70th anniversary of VE Day in 2015, this is a remarkable piece of oral history, which sets the seal on the vital operations that eventually led the Allies to victory.
~ Julia Hamilton

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The Bletchley Girls by Tessa Dunlop

Based on extensive interviews conducted specifically for this book, Tessa Dunlop tells the story of The Bletchley Girls through the lives of fifteen women who were all selected to work in Britain's most secret World War Two organisation - Bletchley Park. Many were just school girls at the outbreak of war; the next six years would change their lives forever. This vivid portrayal of their experiences, sacrifices and memories is a poignant reminder that without the work of thousands of young women Bletchley Park's extraordinary achievements would not have been possible. By meeting and talking to these fascinating female secret-keepers who are still alive today, Tessa Dunlop captures their extraordinary journeys into an adult world of war, secrecy, love and loss.


Dunlop is engaging in her personal approach. Her obvious feminine empathy with the venerable ladies she spoke to gives her book an immediacy and intimacy. Daily Mail giving us the daily details of their lives in the women's own voices Dunlop does them and us a fine service. -- Erica Wagne New Statesman An in-depth picture of life in Britain's wartime intelligence centre...The result is fascinating, and is made all the more touching by the developing friendships between Dunlop and her interviewees. Financial Times Dunlop has interviewed some of those Bletchley women still alive and draws on one or two unpublished diaries. These have yielded some good stuff, especially on the particular intensity of wartime sexual relationships. The Observer Dunlop offers us glimpses of the women's lives and expectations, their education, aspirations and personal anecdotes, how they coped with the aftermath of war and what became of them. The combined accounts make for a fascinating social document of women's lives. Sunday Express The 15 extraordinary women interviewed for this book came from backgrounds as diverse as debutantes and factory workers. It's an engrossing read that captures their wildly different experiences. Choice Magazine Tessa Dunlop's The Bletchley Girls tells the story of 15 female veterans of 'Station X', all of whom Dunlop has interviewed at length. The Guardian Tessa Dunlop, author of The Bletchley Girls, documents the lives of 15 remarkable women who worked at The Park and are still alive to tell their stories. Sunday Telegraph By spending time with these fascinating women, Tessa Dunlop captures their extraordinary stories of life at Bletchley Park. Daily Telegraph Brings the unsung heroines of Bletchley into the limelight and gives them a share of the credit that so often goes to their male counterparts. The Scotsman Candid about the hardships and heartaches of wartime work and its knock-on effects. The Times A specially selected team is hard at work attempting - and succeeding - to crack secret German and Japanese codes. Many of their number were women, even schoolgirls - and it is their remarkable first hand stories that form the basis of this fascinating book. History Revealed Magazine Oscar-tipped movie The Imitation Game brought master code breaker Alan Turing's story to the big screen, and tales of the women he worked with during the Second World War can be found in Tessa Dunlop's new book. Irish News Work conducted by women at Bletchley Park during the Second World War is often overlooked, making this a unique history of the period. The Bookseller Not simply a biography of one shared experience, but a generation...unquestionably compelling. Blackpool Gazette Her book, The Bletchley Girls, sees her adding to the understanding of the sheer scale of the work undertaken at Bletchley Park. Cambridge News

About the Author

Tessa Dunlop

Award winning broadcaster and historian, Tessa Dunlop has presented several series and one-off documentaries for BBC TV including 'Thames Shipwrecks', 'Coast' and 'Inside Out'. She has authored and presented several documentaries for Radio 4 and the BBC World Service and has written for almost all the major national newspapers. She received the Gertrude Easton History prize whilst at Oxford University, got a 1st in her MA: Imperialism and Culture and has been awarded a PhD scholarship at Sheffield Hallam University.

Author photo © Patrick Dodds

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Book Info

Publication date

8th January 2015


Tessa Dunlop

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Hodder & Stoughton Ltd an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton General Division


352 pages


Biography / Autobiography
NewGen - YA Fiction
Books of the Month
eBook Favourites
eBook Favourites

Second World War
Military intelligence

20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000



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