100 books like The Codebreakers

By Alli Sinclair,

Here are 100 books that The Codebreakers fans have personally recommended if you like The Codebreakers. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II

David Snell Author Of Sing to Silent Stones: Part One

From my list on wartime books about families torn apart by the conflict in WW1 and WW2.

Why am I passionate about this?

My reading is almost entirely influenced by my own family’s extraordinary history. My mother and father-in-law were both illegitimate. Both suffered for the fact and my father-in-law was 11 years old when he first found out and was reunited with his mother, albeit on a second-class basis compared to his half siblings. My mother trained bomb aimers. My father flew Lancaster bombers and was just 19 years old in the skies above wartime Berlin. My own books combine history, my personal experiences, and my family’s past to weave wartime stories exploring the strains that those conflicts imposed on friendships.

David's book list on wartime books about families torn apart by the conflict in WW1 and WW2

David Snell Why did David love this book?

What I loved about this book is that it is the true story of an American woman living in Nazi-occupied France, where she organised and ran resistance groups and led them in action.

The book, though factual, reads like a fictional novel, and her exploits and shear "daring do" almost beggar belief. She only had one leg, a fact that many who met her were completely unaware of, yet she crossed the Pyrenees on foot in winter!

It didn’t surprise me to find out that the men who "ran" the operations from London and Washington denigrated her achievements and consigned her to obscurity, describing her in the words of the book’s title. But she was a truly amazing heroine, and I would have loved to have met her.

By Sonia Purnell,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked A Woman of No Importance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Chosen as a BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR by NPR, the New York Public Library, Amazon, the Seattle Times, the Washington Independent Review of Books, PopSugar, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, BookBrowse, the Spectator, and the Times of London

Winner of the Plutarch Award for Best Biography

"Excellent...This book is as riveting as any thriller, and as hard to put down." -- The New York Times Book Review

"A compelling biography of a masterful spy, and a reminder of what can be done with a few brave people -- and a little resistance." - NPR

"A…


Book cover of Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

Johanna van Zanten Author Of The Imposter

From my list on how the Second World War affected regular people and their families.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child with older sisters, I read their books beyond my age level under the blankets with a flashlight in bed at night. I became a reading addict. Raised in The Netherlands with the Second World War casting its large shadow on our lives, I only became interested, after my parents were gone, in how people survived and had to find their courage under impossible circumstances. They would never talk about those occupation years. My search into history led me to find the answers.

Johanna's book list on how the Second World War affected regular people and their families

Johanna van Zanten Why did Johanna love this book?

I loved this non-fiction book, and reading it, I often broke down in tears, realizing this personal and innocent true teenage story was all leading up to the tremendous death of millions of innocent people.

This is the only Anne Frank book that I recommend to everybody from a young age. It is THE introduction to the real events of World War 2.

By Anne Frank, B.M. Mooyaart (translator),

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Anne Frank as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

With 30 per cent more material than previous editions, this new contemporary and fully anglicized translation gives the reader a deeper insight into Anne's world. Publication of the unabridged Definitive Edition on Penguin Audiobook, read by Helena Bonham-Carter, coincides.


Book cover of The Bronze Horseman

Emma Lombard Author Of Discerning Grace

From my list on unforgettable characters who stay with you.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been described as ‘the Energizer bunny,’ so it’s no surprise that I’m drawn to colorful and passionate fictional characters—especially historical ones who have not only life’s circumstances to deal with but societal limitations too. My personality is such that if I’m told I can’t achieve something, I grit my teeth and say, ‘Watch me!’ So, it’s only natural that I draw on this sheer bloody-mindedness to breathe life into my own historical fiction ensembles. Creating characters who are as limp as wet lettuces is one of my biggest challenges. I want everyone to have gumption, but I also understand that good balance in a story is important.

Emma's book list on unforgettable characters who stay with you

Emma Lombard Why did Emma love this book?

A toast to Tatiana and Alexander! *throws back a shot of vodka*

Compounded by Simons’ exquisitely detailed storytelling, which waxes lyrical about the siege of Leningrad during the summer of 1941, these lovebirds from The Bronze Horseman sit high on my list of unforgettable historical fiction characters.

The superb languor of Alexander’s courtship with Tatiana during a time of terrible hardship helped me overlook both of their faults, and become wholly invested in them as a couple.

He is unrelenting in his desire to take care of Tatiana and her family, and while she is young and at times incredibly naïve, she is also brilliantly resilient.

The character I love to hate: Dasha. Ugh! How can a sister be so cruel?

Boy, did my emotions run the gauntlet with this one!

By Paullina Simons,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Bronze Horseman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A magnificent epic of love, war and Russia from the international bestselling author of TULLY and ROAD TO PARADISE

Leningrad 1941: the white nights of summer illuminate a city of fallen grandeur whose palaces and avenues speak of a different age, when Leningrad was known as St Petersburg.

Two sisters, Tatiana and Dasha, share the same bed, living in one room with their brother and parents.

The routine of their hard impoverished life is shattered on 22 June 1941 when Hitler invades Russia. For the Metanov family, for Leningrad and particularly for Tatiana, life will never be the same again.…


Book cover of Night Witches: The Amazing Story of Russia's Women Pilots in WWII

Eileen A. Bjorkman Author Of The Fly Girls Revolt: The Story of the Women Who Kicked Open the Door to Fly in Combat

From my list on hidden histories of women in the military.

Why am I passionate about this?

I work in aviation, so it was natural to write about it when I started as a freelance writer. But I quickly realized that writing about aviation people is much more interesting than writing about airplanes. Because of my military background I found myself writing veterans’ stories. I’ve uncovered many stories that have never been told or have been forgotten over the years. And because I was in the Air Force in the 1980s and 1990s, I knew the events in my new book had never been told. During my research, I found more books with hidden histories and rediscovered some I read decades ago. This list is my favorites.

Eileen's book list on hidden histories of women in the military

Eileen A. Bjorkman Why did Eileen love this book?

I originally read this book when it came out in 1990. It is about a group of young women in the Soviet Union who flew as combat pilots during World War II.

With U.S. women still prohibited from flying in combat in 1990, I was thrilled that women had already proven themselves in combat a half-century earlier. The “Night Witches” flew mostly at night, and their bombs relentlessly terrorized German ground forces invading the Russian homeland.

Many of the women were designated as aces for shooting down at least five enemy aircraft, and others were awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union.

Although the book has been criticized in recent years for not being entirely factual, it is still a great read about these courageous women.

By Bruce Myles,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Night Witches as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1941 as the Nazi hordes swept eastward into the Soviet Union, the desperate call went out for women to join the Russian air force. Women responded and flew incessant bombing runs; the Germans, who came to dread them, called them 'night witches'.


Book cover of The Codebreakers: The Story Of Secret Writing

Nicholas Reynolds Author Of Need to Know: World War II and the Rise of American Intelligence

From my list on citizen spies building American intelligence in WWII.

Why am I passionate about this?

The defining event in my parents’ lives, World War II has always been in my blood. When I was growing up, it would surface now and again when old comrades came to visit or when we came across souvenirs from the war. My favorite was a carefully etched German map showing sea lanes in the Caribbean, exotic and somehow menacing at the same time. My curiosity piqued, I knew I wanted to be in the thick of history—which meant reading and writing about the war, getting my PhD in history, and becoming a Marine and an intelligence officer.  

Nicholas' book list on citizen spies building American intelligence in WWII

Nicholas Reynolds Why did Nicholas love this book?

David was a pioneer. Before Codebreakers there was next to nothing in print about codebreaking. Focused on World War II, he introduced a generation of readers to a secret realm, inviting us to look behind the big green door for the first time. This generous and loyal friend alerted me to the need for comprehensive overview of American intelligence in World War II.

By David Kahn,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Codebreakers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Codebreaking is the most important form of secret intelligence in the world. It produces much more and more trustworthy information than spies, and this intelligence exerts great influences upon the policies of governments.


Book cover of Total War: Causes and Courses of The Second World War

Peter Grose Author Of A Good Place to Hide: How One French Community Saved Thousands of Lives in World War II

From my list on World War 2 from several different perspectives.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve now written three histories of World War 2. A Very Rude Awakening tells the story of the Japanese midget submarine raid into Sydney Harbour on the night of 31 May 1942. An Awkward Truth deals with the Japanese air raid on the town of Darwin in northern Australia on 19 February 1942. (The raid was carried out by the same force that hit Pearl Harbor ten weeks earlier.) These two books have both been filmed. My third book, A Good Place To Hide, is my pairing for this page. Last but not least, if you want a signed copy of my books, then do my friend Gary Jackson and me a favour by going here and clicking on the link "Buy Books and DVDs."

Peter's book list on World War 2 from several different perspectives

Peter Grose Why did Peter love this book?

This book has appeared under various titles and guises since its first publication in 1972. It is now available as The Penguin History of the Second World War. It is a bit like three books in one, since each author tackles a different theatre of World War 2.

There is a wonderful and possibly apocryphal publishing story about the changes the book underwent over the years. Peter Calvocoressi was always a distinguished historian, but at the time this book first appeared in 1972, "Calvo" was CEO of Penguin Books, and they were the book’s publishers. At that time, Penguin also boasted one of the most brilliant editors in British publishing, Dieter Pevsner. Dieter was (naturally) the right man to edit his boss’s book. Having read it through, Dieter had a question for the boss. “I just don’t understand,” Dieter told Calvo, “how we won the Atlantic submarine war.” Calvo…

By Peter Calvocoressi, Guy Wint, John Pritchard

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Total War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Offers a detailed study of the sources of war in Europe and Asia, the impact of Nazism and the events that shaped the course of World War II in Europe and the Pacific


Book cover of The Girl from Bletchley Park

Gill Thompson Author Of The Child on Platform One

From my list on World War Two featuring strong women.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a teacher, I spent forty years at the chalkface before finally achieving my ambition to be a published writer. My first novel was about a child migrant to Australia; my second about a little girl on the kinder transport. I wanted to write about strong women in world war two. All three of the mothers in my stories are separated from their children and have to make some tough decisions. I hope my readers will remember them for their courage and tenacity and that they’ll enjoy reading about them as much as I’ve enjoyed creating them. 

Gill's book list on World War Two featuring strong women

Gill Thompson Why did Gill love this book?

I’m fascinated by the way the code breakers at Bletchley helped to shorten the war. In Pam, McGurl has created a strong woman, who makes key choices, sometimes at the expense of her own happiness, to support the war effort. But what I really enjoyed was the time slip nature of the novel, where Pam is contrasted to her granddaughter Julia, a modern woman, who, when let down by the men around her, becomes empowered by her own freedom. It’s interesting to see how women’s roles have changed between the 1940s and today. 

By Kathleen McGurl,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Girl from Bletchley Park as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The latest unforgettable timeslip novel from the USA Today bestselling author of The Secret of the Chateau.

Will love lead her to a devastating choice?

1942. Three years into the war, Pam turns down her hard-won place at Oxford University to become a codebreaker at Bletchley Park. There, she meets two young men, both keen to impress her, and Pam finds herself falling hard for one of them. But as the country's future becomes more uncertain by the day, a tragic turn of events casts doubt on her choice - and Pam's loyalty is pushed to its limits...

Present day.…


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

Mark Baldwin

From my list on the Enigma Machine and Bletchley Park.

Why am I passionate about this?

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.

Mark's book list on the Enigma Machine and Bletchley Park

Mark Baldwin Why did Mark love 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.

By Gordon Welchman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Hut Six Story as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Book by Welchman, Gordon


Book cover of The London Restoration

Sarah Sundin Author Of Until Leaves Fall in Paris

From my list on World War II novels to inspire you.

Why am I passionate about this?

Sarah Sundin’s love for the stories of World War II comes from family members who served during the war on the US Home Front and abroad. Her passion for research and travel has fueled her award-winning novels. The horrors of the war brought out the worst in humanity. Yet they also brought out the best in humanity, and those stories—of people who chose kindness and courage and right in trying times—are the stories that inspire us to choose kindness and courage and right in our own trying times.

Sarah's book list on World War II novels to inspire you

Sarah Sundin Why did Sarah love this book?

A love letter to London, this novel takes place immediately after the war, as a newlywed couple tries to pick up the pieces and fall in love again. But she’s keeping secrets from him—she must, having served as a codebreaker at Bletchley Park. And he’s struggling with nightmares from his service as an army medic. When her former boss ropes her in to help bring down a Soviet spy ring somehow connected to her beloved Christopher Wren churches, the secrets and nightmares could very well defeat them. A beautiful tale with literary depth.

By Rachel McMillan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The London Restoration as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The secrets that might save a nation could shatter a marriage.

Madly in love, Diana Foyle and Brent Somerville married in London as the bombs of World War II dropped on their beloved city. Without time for a honeymoon, the couple spent the next four years apart. Diana, an architectural historian, took a top-secret intelligence post at Bletchley Park. Brent, a professor of theology at King's College, believed his wife was working for the Foreign Office as a translator when he was injured in an attack on the European front.

Now that the war is over, the Somervilles' long-anticipated reunion…


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

Mark Baldwin

From my list on the Enigma Machine and Bletchley Park.

Why am I passionate about this?

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.

Mark's book list on the Enigma Machine and Bletchley Park

Mark Baldwin Why did Mark love 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.

By Dermot Turing,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked X Y & Z as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

December, 1932
In the bathroom of a Belgian hotel, a French spymaster photographs top-secret documents - the operating instructions of the cipher machine, Enigma. A few weeks later a mathematician in Warsaw begins to decipher the coded communications of the Third Reich and lays the foundations for the code-breaking operation at Bletchley Park. The co-operation between France, Britain and Poland is given the cover-name 'X, Y & Z'.
December, 1942
It is the middle of World War Two. The Polish code-breakers have risked their lives to continue their work inside Vichy France, even as an uncertain future faces their homeland.…


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