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New Leaf The Secret Life of Bletchley Park by Sinclair McKay
#1  CRussel 10-15-2020, 01:28 AM
It's time to discuss our book for October, 2020 -- The Secret Life of Bletchley Park by Sinclair McKay

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Bletchley Park was where one of the war's most famous and crucial achievements was made: the cracking of Germany's Enigma code in which its most important military communications were couched. This country house was home to Britain's most brilliant mathematical brains, like Alan Turing, and the scene of immense advances in technology—indeed, the birth of modern computing. The military codes deciphered there were instrumental in turning both the Battle of the Atlantic and the war in North Africa. But, though plenty has been written about the scientists and the codebreaking, fictional and non-fiction—from Robert Harris and Ian McEwan to Andrew Hodges' biography of Turing—what of the thousands of men and women who lived and worked there during the war? The first history for the general reader of life at Bletchley Park, this is also an amazing compendium of memories from people now in their eighties of skating on the frozen lake in the grounds (a depressed Angus Wilson, the novelist, once threw himself in), of a youthful Roy Jenkins—useless at codebreaking, of the high jinks at nearby accommodation hostels, and of the implacable secrecy that meant girlfriend and boyfriend working in adjacent huts knew nothing about each other's work.
So, what did everyone think?

Reminder: This discussion is open to ALL MobileRead members, regardless of whether they participated in the nomination or voting. However, we do, emphatically, ask that you follow the basic rule of expressing your opinions of the book in a collegial manner, and that you refrain from personal comments but stick to the book at hand. Thank you, and welcome!
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#2  CRussel 10-15-2020, 01:30 AM
FYI, I'm still waiting for this book from either of my libraries, so I might be a bit late to the party. I'll be avoiding this thread for a week or so (book should be available by the weekend, if I've read the Overdrive tea leaves accurately.)
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#3  astrangerhere 10-15-2020, 08:31 AM
For those inclined - Melvin Bragg's excellent programme for the BBC In Our Time featured Alan Turing this week. You can listen to or download the episode HERE.
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#4  fantasyfan 10-15-2020, 01:15 PM
Quote astrangerhere
For those inclined - Melvin Bragg's excellent programme for the BBC In Our Time featured Alan Turing this week. You can listen to or download the episode HERE.
Thanks for that information!

I really enjoyed this book.
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#5  Bookworm_Girl 10-15-2020, 02:51 PM
Did anyone else have the set of The Imitation Game visualized while they read this book? I think that made it a more interesting book for me. Excellent movie about Alan Turing if you have not seen it.
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#6  JSWolf 10-15-2020, 03:30 PM
Quote Bookworm_Girl
Did anyone else have the set of The Imitation Game visualized while they read this book? I think that made it a more interesting book for me. Excellent movie about Alan Turing if you have not seen it.
I too was thinking of the movie. I've have seen it. I may give it another go as it's available for me to watch.
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#7  Bookworm_Girl 10-15-2020, 04:40 PM
Here are some links to supplemental information fur further reading about codebreaking and WWII, including articles about some of the people mentioned in the book.
https://www.gchq.gov.uk/section/advice-guidance/all-topics?topics=Bletchley%20Park%20and%20WWII&sort=d ate%2Bdesc&start=0&rows=20
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#8  Victoria 10-16-2020, 04:09 PM
Quote astrangerhere
For those inclined - Melvin Bragg's excellent programme for the BBC In Our Time featured Alan Turing this week. You can listen to or download the episode HERE.
Quote Bookworm_Girl
Did anyone else have the set of The Imitation Game visualized while they read this book? I think that made it a more interesting book for me. Excellent movie about Alan Turing if you have not seen it.
Like FantasyFan, I’m really enjoying this book too! I’ve been reading it for two weeks, but still haven’t finished. I seem to pause every few paragraphs to look up the people and events it’s describing. I don’t want to rush because it’s turned into such a rich resource re: Britain, WWII ships & battles, mathematics, computers, Japan, Germany etc.

astrangerher thanks for the great link! I’m really looking forward to listening to the Turning episode, and exploring the others. What a goldmine.

Bookworm_Girl thank you very much for the movie reference! I can’t wait to see it, and plan to rent it this weekend.
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#9  Bookworm_Girl 10-16-2020, 06:05 PM
Quote Victoria
Like FantasyFan, I’m really enjoying this book too! I’ve been reading it for two weeks, but still haven’t finished. I seem to pause every few paragraphs to look up the people and events it’s describing. I don’t want to rush because it’s turned into such a rich resource re: Britain, WWII ships & battles, mathematics, computers, Japan, Germany etc.

astrangerher thanks for the great link! I’m really looking forward to listening to the Turning episode, and exploring the others. What a goldmine.

Bookworm_Girl thank you very much for the movie reference! I can’t wait to see it, and plan to rent it this weekend.
It covered a much broader geographical area and timeline than I was expecting. I also went slow. I checked it out of the library twice. I also flipped to the photos at the back about halfway through. Some of my favorite bits were the quoted letters and interviews with the people.
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#10  Bookworm_Girl 10-16-2020, 06:19 PM
The book mentions a fiction thriller Enigma by Robert Harris which sounded interesting. I just discovered that it was made into a movie in 2001 and starred Kate Winslet, Saffron Burrows and Dougray Scott.
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