The Bletchley Girls War, Secrecy, Love and Loss: the Women of Bletchley Park Tell Their Story

by Tessa Dunlop

Biography / Autobiography eBooks of the Month History

LoveReading View on The Bletchley Girls War, Secrecy, Love and Loss: the Women of Bletchley Park Tell Their Story

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

Liz Robinson

The Bletchley Girls War, Secrecy, Love and Loss: the Women of Bletchley Park Tell Their Story Synopsis

'Lively...in giving us the daily details of their lives in the women's own voices Dunlop does them and us a fine service' New Statesman '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 '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 The Bletchley Girls weaves together the lives of fifteen women who were all selected to work in Britain's most secret organisation - Bletchley Park. It is their story, told in their voices; Tessa met and talked to 15 veterans, often visiting them several times. Firm friendships were made as their epic journey unfolded on paper. The scale of female involvement in Britain during the Second World War wasn't matched in any other country. From 8 million working women just over 7000 were hand-picked to work at Bletchley Park and its outstations. There had always been girls at the Park but soon they outnumbered the men three to one. A refugee from Belgium, a Scottish debutante, a Jewish 14-year-old, and a factory worker from Northamptonshire - the Bletchley Girls confound stereotypes. But they all have one common bond, the war and their highly confidential part in it. In the middle of the night, hunched over meaningless pieces of paper, tending mind-blowing machines, sitting listening for hours on end, theirs was invariably confusing, monotonous and meticulous work, about which they could not breathe a word. 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. Through the voices of the women themselves, this is a portrait of life at Bletchley Park beyond the celebrated code-breakers, it's the story of the girls behind Britain's ability to consistently out-smart the enemy, and an insight into the women they have become.

The Bletchley Girls War, Secrecy, Love and Loss: the Women of Bletchley Park Tell Their Story Press Reviews

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

'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

'Lively...in 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

'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

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781444795745
Publication date: 02/07/2015
Publisher: Hodder Paperback an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton General Division
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781444795745
Publication date: 2nd July 2015
Author: Tessa Dunlop
Publisher: Hodder Paperback an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton General Division
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 352 pages
Genres: Biography / Autobiography, eBook Favourites, History,
Categories: Second World War, Espionage & secret services, 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000,

About 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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