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The Debs of Bletchley Park and Other Stories by Michael Smith

The Debs of Bletchley Park and Other Stories

Biography / Autobiography   Books of the Month   History   
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January 2015 Book of the Month.

More than eight thousand women worked at Bletchley Park during the Second World War, largely unsung, they placed a crucial role in breaking the German codes. As Michael Smith’s new book shows, they were many and varied from all walks of life. From the Debutante and the Stripper to the Wren and the Student it was these 'real people', all women, who worked at Bletchley Park to break the codes whose intelligence helped to win the war. They are an incredible set of women, and this is their story.

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The Bletchley Girls, Tessa Dunlop

The Secret Life of Bletchley Park: The History of the Wartime Codebreaking Centre by the Men and Women Who Were There, Sinclair McKay

Who is Sue Baker

The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. The code breaking undertaken at Bletchley Park during the Second World War has long been the focus of popular attention, and was recently in the spotlight again thanks to the film The Imitation Game, which depicts the wartime exploits of Alan Turing, the man responsible for cracking the fiendishly difficult Enigma code. With a multi-million pound restoration of the Bletchley Park huts taking place in 2014, there is only one area of the whole operation that has not received due scrutiny to date and that is the contribution made by its female workforce. Of the twelve thousand people employed at the top-secret site, nine thousand were women, and this, courtesy of Michael Smith’s comprehensive research, is their story. From the debutantes of the title, who gamely chauffeured in the daily workers, to the scores of girls simply listing figures or operating machines, the importance of these women and their efforts in assisting the crucial code-breaking intelligence provides salutary reading.
~ Amanda Hodges

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The Debs of Bletchley Park and Other Stories by Michael Smith

For Winston Churchill the men and women at Bletchley Park were 'the geese the laid the golden eggs', providing important intelligence that led to the Allied victory in the Second World War. At the peak of Bletchley's success, a total of twelve thousand people worked there of whom more than eight thousand were women. These included a former ballerina who helped to crack the Enigma Code; a debutante working for the Admiralty with a direct line to Churchill; the convent girl who operated the Bombes, the top secret machines that tested Enigma settings; and the German literature student whose codebreaking saved countless lives at D-Day. All these women were essential cogs in a very large machine, yet their stories have been kept secret. The Debs of Bletchley Park and Other Stories tells their tale: how they came to be there, the lives they gave up to do 'their bit' for the war effort, and the part they played in the vital work of 'Station X'. They are an incredible set of women, and this is their story.


'Pacey and easy to read ... a fascinating account of how the war changed life for women in all strata of society' 'Brisk and readable story of the women of Bletchley ... Smith is good on what the women actually did' 'If you are looking for a riveting, un-put-downable read to curl up with on a Siberian January night - look no further than Michael Smith's marvellous book - The Debs of Bletchley Park' 'Comprehensive...movingly portrayed ... Smith provides a useful corrective to the many accounts that see Turing as the lone central figure at Bletchley.' '
If you are looking for a riveting, un

-put-downable read to curl up with on a Siberian January night - look no further than Michael Smith
s marvellous book

- The Debs of Bletchley Park' 'colourful and engaging social history'
Brisk and readable story of the women of Bletchley

... Smith is good on what the women actually did' 'Pacey and easy to read ... a fascinating account of how the war changed life for women in all strata of society'

About the Author

Michael Smith

Michael Smith is an award-winning journalist and the author of a number of bestselling books on spies, special forces and codebreaking including The Sunday Times number one bestseller Station X: The Codebreakers of Bletchley Park; Foley: The Spy Who Saved 10,000 Jews; The Spying Game and Killer Elite: The Inside Story of America’s Most Secret Special Operations Team. He is also the co-editor, with Ralph Erskine, of The Bletchley Park Codebreakers. Smith was a member of the British Army's Intelligence Corps before joining the BBC. He was a reporter and defence correspondent for both the Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Times covering the wars in the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan. Smith is a trustee of Bletchley Park and chair of the Trust’s Historical Advisory Committee. He lives near Henley-on-Thames.

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Book Info

Publication date

8th January 2015


Michael Smith

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Aurum Press Ltd


304 pages


Biography / Autobiography
Books of the Month

Second World War

20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000
Espionage & secret services



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