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In 1939, several hundred people - students, professors, international chess players, junior military officers, actresses and debutantes - reported to a Victorian mansion in Buckinghamshire: Bletchley Park. This was to be 'Station X', the Allies' top-secret centre for deciphering enemy codes. Their task was to break the ingenious Enigma code used for German high-level communications. The settings for the Enigma machine changed continually and each day the German operators had 159 million million million different possibilities. Yet against all the odds this gifted group achieved the impossible, coping with even greater difficulties to break Shark, the U-Boat Enigma, and Fish, the cypher system used by Hitler to talk to his guards.
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The success the Allies had breaking Nazi codes in WWII has been reliably credited with cutting three years off the time it took to defeat Germany. Central to this Herculean effort was an eccentric, motley crew assembled at an unassuming Victorian mansion just north of London, called Bletchley Park but officially dubbed Station X. The name wasn't intended to connote mystery--the tagged-on Roman numeral simply designated Bletchley as the 10th wartime installation set up by Britain's covert intelligence organization, MI6. But Station X trafficked in more than its share of intrigue over the course of the war, with code-breaking coups that included intercepting the first evidence of the Holocaust and tipping off the British naval squadron that sank the Bismarck, pride of the German fleet.
Michael Smith, the senior espionage reporter for London's Daily Telegraph, gives an intimate and intense account of the exploits of Station X by drawing on recently declassified documents and extensive interviews with many of the students, soldiers, and mathematicians who were sequestered at the top-secret site. Smith strikes an engaging balance between the human side of the effort and the nuts and bolts of the code game, giving clear explanations of how brilliant code breakers such as Alan Turing solved the puzzles the Nazis put to them. --Paul HughesAbout the Author:
Michael Smith is a defence correspondent at the Daily Telegraph
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Book Description TV Books, 2001. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M1575000946
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