Written by Bletchley Park’s chief historian, Michael Smith takes his readers chronologically through the Second World War, highlighting the secret work undertaken by those men and women of the British Government’s Code and Cypher School.
Smith’s latest research indicates that out of the 12,000 people who worked at Bletchley Park and its outstations 8,000 of them were women. And, as the book title suggests, Smith focuses on those young women; the stories of their recruitment through the Foreign Office and the network of family and friends, and he follows their daily lives both at work and at play. Many of those women were university graduates, ladies from secretarial colleges; some were straight from school whilst others had joined the services. Each one was specially selected and signed the Official Secrets Act. They asked no questions, but in turn they occasionally told lies when asked what work they did.
As would be expected from any book written by Michael Smith it is well researched and not only covers the main aspects of the war, it introduces the reader to the art of code-breaking. For those who wish to learn more, the reference section of sources, bibliography and index are clear, concise and very helpful.
Smith’s easy writing style coupled with the book’s excellent layout makes it attractive to the eye, easy to navigate and a highly informative read.