The best books on the Enigma Machine and Bletchley Park

Mark Baldwin
By Mark Baldwin

Who am I?

Dr. Mark Baldwin – aka Dr. Enigma – is a world expert and speaker on the Enigma machine and has delivered over 700 presentations and demonstrations (using his own, genuine wartime Enigma machine) to some 70,000 people around the world. He has spoken to a wide range of audiences, from cybersecurity experts and software developers at leading Silicon Valley tech companies such as Facebook, Dropbox, and PayPal, to academic audiences at universities, executives at business conferences, and the general public in a couple of hundred one-man theatre shows.

My project is...

Book Dr. Enigma For An Event

Dr. Mark ‘Enigma’ Baldwin is an international expert and professional speaker on the Enigma machine, the History of Cryptography, and the Special Operations Executive, and has delivered more than 800 talks on these topics, all over the world. His Enigma machine talks and demos offer a rare opportunity for the audience to see and even play with a genuine, wartime Enigma machine.

The books I picked & why

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The Hut Six Story: Breaking the Enigma Codes

By Gordon Welchman,

Book cover of The Hut Six Story: Breaking the Enigma Codes

Why this book?

The Enigma story and Bletchley Park are now legitimate subjects for academic study, but modern books are necessarily written by people without first-hand experience of wartime Intelligence work. As a publisher, I have always been keen to record the experiences of those people personally involved in such things, and Welchman was not just a leading codebreaker at Bletchley Park throughout the whole war, he was also instrumental in transforming a random collection of a hundred academics into a non-stop production line of codebreaking and Intelligence, employing over ten thousand people. This, our best-selling book, continues to intrigue readers worldwide.

The Bletchley Park Codebreakers

By Ralph Erskine, Michael Smith,

Book cover of The Bletchley Park Codebreakers

Why this book?

This anthology is a valuable complement to my first book, with a couple of dozen contributors: a mixture of some who worked at Bletchley Park during the war, and some who are professional historians. The passage of time has encouraged archival research, and allowed historical analysis, producing an authoritative account of Bletchley’s achievements, particularly the breaking of millions of Enigma-enciphered messages.

Alan Turing: The Enigma

By Andrew Hodges,

Book cover of Alan Turing: The Enigma

Why this book?

Imaginative and unconventional thinking was essential if Britain was to overcome the challenge of Nazi Germany. Far-sighted and tolerant management allowed unusual talent to thrive, with beneficial results. Perhaps the most famous, and amongst the most imaginative and unconventional, was Alan Turing, so this book fully deserves a place on my list. Well-researched and authoritative, its publication led to a growing interest in this gay Cambridge mathematician, whose life came to a tragic end with his suicide at the age of 41.

X Y & Z: The Real Story of How Enigma Was Broken

By Dermot Turing,

Book cover of X Y & Z: The Real Story of How Enigma Was Broken

Why this book?

The brilliance of the Bletchley Park codebreakers is undoubted, but it must be remembered that they did not start from scratch; they built on the work of the cryptanalysts of the Polish Cipher Bureau, who had first broken Enigma ciphers in 1932, and then passed on all their knowledge to Britain in 1939, before the war began. The tentative and suspicious negotiations between Poland, France and the UK were convoluted and lengthy. Alan Turing’s nephew conducted ground-breaking research in archives in the UK, France, Germany, Poland and the USA to compile this unrivalled account of those early days.

Delusions of Intelligence: Enigma, Ultra, and the End of Secure Ciphers

By R.A. Ratcliff,

Book cover of Delusions of Intelligence: Enigma, Ultra, and the End of Secure Ciphers

Why this book?

At my presentations, I am so often asked ‘Didn’t the Germans know the Allies had broken Enigma?’ and ‘Did Germany have something like Bletchley Park?’ This book answers questions like these, and shows, in particular, the unjustified faith the Germans had in the Enigma machine. Believing its ciphers to be unbreakable, they failed to spot evidence of its weaknesses and vulnerability.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the Enigma machine, Bletchley Park, and World War 2?

5,888 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the Enigma machine, Bletchley Park, and World War 2.

The Enigma Machine Explore 7 books about the Enigma machine
Bletchley Park Explore 9 books about Bletchley Park
World War 2 Explore 975 books about World War 2

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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