The best books about British intelligence in WW1

Roseanna M. White Author Of The Number of Love
By Roseanna M. White

Who am I?

Roseanna M. White is a historical fiction writer whose bestselling stories always seem to find their way to war, espionage, and intrigue. A fascination with her family’s heritage led her to tales set in Edwardian and Great War England, and she’s spent the last seven years studying that culture and how the era’s events intersected with things like faith, family, the arts, and social reforms. Of course, she does all this study and writing about war and mayhem from the safety of her home in West Virginia, where life is blessedly ordinary and no one expects her to actually crack any codes in order to survive...which is definitely a good thing.


I wrote...

The Number of Love

By Roseanna M. White,

Book cover of The Number of Love

What is my book about?

Three years into the Great War, England's greatest asset is their intelligence network--field agents risking their lives to gather information, and codebreakers able to crack every German telegram. Margot De Wilde thrives in the environment of the secretive Room 40, where she spends her days deciphering intercepted messages. But when her world is turned upside down by an unexpected loss, for the first time in her life numbers aren't enough.

The books I picked & why

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Before Enigma: The Room 40 Codebreakers of the First World War

By David Boyle,

Book cover of Before Enigma: The Room 40 Codebreakers of the First World War

Why this book?

This is a short punchy book that provides a great introduction to the topic of codebreaking in England during the Great War, giving a sweeping overview and then some entertaining and tantalizing stories about the people involved. At just over a hundred pages, this is a quick read that serves as a fun introduction to the topic.


'Blinker' Hall: Spymaster: The Man Who Brought America into World War I

By David Ramsay,

Book cover of 'Blinker' Hall: Spymaster: The Man Who Brought America into World War I

Why this book?

Any research into the codebreaking arm of British Intelligence during the Great War will quickly point to one man as the mastermind: Admiral Sir Reginald “Blinker” Hall. He is, at a glance, one of the most intriguing historical figures you’ll ever come across…and the more you learn, the more convinced you’ll be of that. In Blinker Hall, Spymaster, Ramsay delivers not only a thorough look into intelligence and codebreaking, using documents that have been declassified only recently to his writing, but also an insightful look into the man who orchestrated one of the most complex intelligence systems of the modern era. For anyone interested in intelligence, cryptography, or even just the invisible world behind a war that spanned continents, this book delivers it all, and does it in an engaging, entertaining style.


Finding Thoroton: The Royal Marine Who Ran British Naval Intelligence in the Western Mediterranean in World War One

By Philip Vickers,

Book cover of Finding Thoroton: The Royal Marine Who Ran British Naval Intelligence in the Western Mediterranean in World War One

Why this book?

British Intelligence during the First World War is most known for the work of Room 40, which led to the more famous Bletchley Park in the next World War; however, another crucial part of the operation was all the agents in the field that reported to the same man who spearheaded the codebreaking. Those in the Mediterranean were under the command of Charles “the Bold” Thoroton, and this book, written by his granddaughter’s husband, is an enthralling peek into the life of an agent on the ground. From fascinating stories of how unnamed agents found the information the Admiralty was desperate for to being targeted by counter-agent femme fatales, Finding Thoroton reveals information not to be found in any other book, compiled through careful research. A fascinating read.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in World War 1, military intelligence, and World War 2?

5,810 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about World War 1, military intelligence, and World War 2.

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