The best books about Bletchley Park 📚

Browse the best books on Bletchley Park as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of The Bletchley Park Codebreakers

The Bletchley Park Codebreakers

By Ralph Erskine, Michael Smith

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.

From the list:

The best books on the Enigma Machine and Bletchley Park

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

The Hut Six Story: Breaking the Enigma Codes

By Gordon Welchman

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.

From the list:

The best books on the Enigma Machine and Bletchley Park

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

Total War: Causes and Courses of The Second World War

By Peter Calvocoressi, Guy Wint, John Pritchard

Why 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…

From the list:

The best books on World War 2 from several different perspectives

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Book cover of The Girl from Bletchley Park

The Girl from Bletchley Park

By Kathleen McGurl

Why 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. 

From the list:

The best World War Two books featuring strong women

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Book cover of Alan Turing: The Enigma

Alan Turing: The Enigma

By Andrew Hodges

Why this book?

Turing was the greatest mathematician in mid-century England—a codebreaker for the German codes and much much more. Turing machines are still the (abstract) computers that model what is possible and what is not. Alan Turing himself was gay when this was an unsolvable problem—and his life ended far too soon. He had so much to give.

From the list:

The best books about mathematicians and their lives

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

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

By Dermot Turing

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.

From the list:

The best books on the Enigma Machine and Bletchley Park

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

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