Regular price: $24.49

Free with 30-day trial
Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

A remarkable look at the day-to-day life of the codebreakers whose clandestine efforts helped win World War II.

Bletchley Park looked like any other sprawling country estate. In reality, however, it was the top-secret headquarters of Britain’s Government Code and Cypher School - and the site where Germany’s legendary Enigma code was finally cracked. There, the nation’s most brilliant mathematical minds - including Alan Turing, whose discoveries at Bletchley would fuel the birth of modern computing - toiled alongside debutantes, factory workers, and students on projects of international importance. Until now, little has been revealed about ordinary life at this extraordinary facility.

Drawing on remarkable first-hand interviews, The Secret Lives of Codebreakers reveals the entertainments, pastimes, and furtive romances that helped ease the incredible pressures faced by these covert operatives as they worked to turn the tide of World War II.

©2010 Sinclair McKay (P)2013 Gildan Media LLC

Critic Reviews

"McKay's book is an eloquent tribute to a quite remarkable group of men and women, whose like we will not see again." (Mail On Sunday)
McKay's book is an eloquent tribute to a quite remarkable group of men and women, whose like we will not see again." (Mail On Sunday)
"Five stars." (Sunday Telegraph)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    32
  • 4 Stars
    22
  • 3 Stars
    10
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    5

Performance

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    30
  • 4 Stars
    21
  • 3 Stars
    8
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    1

Story

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    29
  • 4 Stars
    19
  • 3 Stars
    8
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    3
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Drew
  • Austin, TX, United States
  • 01-31-14

Dull treatment of an exciting subject

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

probably not. there are better books on the subject

Has The Secret Lives of Codebreakers turned you off from other books in this genre?

Not at all

Any additional comments?

I hate to be too hard on this book, but I personally found it a very dull read on a subject I am fascinated by. It's not easy to write engaging non-fiction, but if ever there was fertile ground for it, it was the story of Bletchley Park in the 30s and 40s.There was nothing new for me in this recounting of the facts- though there were some interesting "telling" about some of the more interesting personalities and management styles, but it all read like a newspaper account- there was no "showing". I never felt any kind of connection to the people or the place. It was all just thoroughly, but dryly described.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Sean
  • Houston, Texas, United States
  • 11-26-13

One of the more approachable histories

I've read or listened to several histories of Bletchley Park. This one does a great job of letting you know what it was like for the people who were there. How the food was. What the conditions were at their billets. How so many people could work in such close proximity and rarely see one another. How the secret of Ultra could have been kept by so many, for so long.

And, yes, what sorts of contributions to the war they were making, whether they knew it at the time or not.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • sharon
  • san diego, california, United States
  • 03-02-14

Great Story About Bletchley Park

I really enjoyed this back story about Bletchley Park and the people who worked there.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

headers? we need no stinking headers!

a little dry at times. wonderful content. I need an extra right word for passing

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Immersive Story, Flawed Writing

What made the experience of listening to The Secret Lives of Codebreakers the most enjoyable?

The stories about the codebreakers' daily lives. When the author eases away from his running commentary and let the codebreakers speak for themselves, the history comes alive.

What other book might you compare The Secret Lives of Codebreakers to and why?

The combination of linear storytelling, personal anecdotes, and historical context is reminiscent of The Boys in the Boat - although McKay's writing style is amateurish in comparison. That said, I enjoyed the way each author wove his research into the historical backdrop,

What three words best describe Walter Dixon’s performance?

Unremarkable, yet pleasant (He flubbed a few pronunciations, too)

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

"Enigma's B roll"

Any additional comments?

This book is well-researched and the organization is solid. However, McKay needs to enroll in a few undergraduate writing courses. His sentences are unwieldy to the point of distraction. I am relieved I listened to this book instead of reading it; the narrator's delivery was a welcome distraction.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

seemed well researched

I enjoyed listening to this , wouldn't exactly describe it as riveting but I definitely learned a lot and the narration style definitely contributed toward my genuine enjoyment of this audiobook