Enigma: The Battle for the Code

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9780470581087: Enigma: The Battle for the Code

"cracking stuff . . . vivid and hitherto unknown details."-Sunday Times (London)

The complete untold story of the cracking of the infamous Nazi code

Most histories of the cracking of the elusive Enigma code focus on the work done by the codebreakers at Bletchley Park, Britain's famous World War II counterintelligence station. In this fascinating account, however, we are told, for the first time, the hair-raising stories of the heroic British and American sailors, spies, and secret agents who put their lives on the line to provide the codebreakers with the materials they needed. Noted British journalist Hugh Sebag-Montefiore tracked down many of the surviving players in the Enigma drama, and these witnesses-some of them speaking on record for the first time-provide unforgettable firsthand accounts of the courageous men and women who faced death in order to capture vital codebooks from sinking ships and snatch them from under the noses of Nazi officials. In addition to these gripping stories, we learn fascinating new details about the genesis of the code and the feverish activities at Bletchley. Enigma is a spellbinding account of the brilliant feat of decryption that turned the tide of World War II.

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From the Inside Flap:

Winston Churchill called the cracking of the German Enigma code "the secret weapon that won the war." Now, for the first time, Hugh Sebag-Montefiore reveals the complete story of the breaking of the code by the Allies–the breakthrough that played a crucial role in the outcome of World War II.

Until recently, most historians exclusively credited the brilliant mathematicians and professors at Bletchley Park–Britain’s famous World War II counterintelligence station–for breaking the elusive Enigma code. But as this spellbinding narrative recounts, while Bletchley stars such as Alan Turing and Harry Hinsley made outstanding contributions, the critical breaking of the code depended on the work of a much larger group of heroes, most of them unsung.

Masterfully told and engagingly written, Enigma not only presents fascinating new details about the genesis of the code and the secret work at Bletchley but also tells the hair-raising stories of those who selflessly put their lives on the line to provide the codebreakers with the materials they needed. We get a compelling glimpse of the daring exploits of secret agents and spies, naval officers and ordinary seamen–the courageous men and women who risked their lives, and in some cases lost them, snatching the vital codebooks from under the noses of Nazi officials and from sinking German ships and submarines.

From Hans Thilo Schmidt, the German who gave the Allies their first clues on how to break Enigma, to Lieutenant Commander Mark Thornton, who masterminded the capture of codebooks from a German U-boat, Enigma deftly delivers sharply etched portraits of the many heroic but hitherto unknown British and American sailors without whose bravery Enigma would never have been broken.

As the story unfolds, many of the last surviving witnesses to the Enigma drama–some of them speaking on record for the first time–provide unforgettable firsthand accounts, vividly reconstructing their daring exploits. Sebag-Montefiore introduces us to the head of French counterintelligence, who contributes details of the spying and double-crossing that took place in the race to break the Enigma code and discloses little-known facts about how the Poles first cracked the Luftwaffe’s version of the code and then managed to pass it along to the British.

Based in part on documents recently unearthed from American and British archives–including previously confidential government files–and in part on several surviving witnesses to the saga, Enigma tells the stunning story of the brilliant piece of decryption that changed history.

About the Author:

HUGH SEBAG-MONTEFIORE is an attorney and journalist who has written for numerous British newspapers, including the Sunday times, the Sunday Telegraph, and the Observer. His family owned Bletchley Park before it was sold to the British government in the late 1930s. He lives in London.

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Hugh Sebag-Montefiore
Published by Wiley (2004)
ISBN 10: 0470581085 ISBN 13: 9780470581087
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Sebag-Montefiore, Hugh
Published by Wiley (2004)
ISBN 10: 0470581085 ISBN 13: 9780470581087
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