Secret Days: Codebreaking in Bletchley Park by Asa Briggs

Secret Days: Codebreaking in Bletchley Park by Asa Briggs lands on the shelves of my shop, where it will be found in my Biography section.

London: Frontline Books, 2011, (First Edition) Hardback in dust wrapper.

Contains: Black & white photographs; Chronological tables [1]; Colour photographs; List of abbreviations; Glossary; Plans [1];

From the cover: Asa Briggs was a code breaker at Bletchley Park from 1943 to 1945, serving as part of a team of men and women who worked to crack Axis codes and ciphers. Many books have been written about the Buckinghamshire mansion during the Second World War since secrecy rules were relaxed in the 1970s, but Briggs memoirs are one of only a few first-hand accounts of life at the Park written by a professional historian.

Briggs was a history student at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, when war was declared in 1939. After graduating in 1941, he taught history at Keighley Grammar School and served in the Royal Corps of Signals before joining the Intelligence Corps in 1942. At Bletchley Park, he worked in Hut Six under the guidance of the brilliant mathematician Gordon Welchman.

Secret Days is a meticulously researched account of daily life at Bletchley Park. It covers the range of work done at Bletchley Park, from code-breaking to radio interception to translation to administration to catering and maintenance work. It also describes the two camps that accommodated many of Bletchleys employees. Bletchleys vibrant and diverse community fostered many friendships and Briggs account provides a fascinating insight into the social life of BP, as it was known.

Secret Days also contains a detailed, critical review of the historiography of Bletchley Park.

The title Secret Days reflects the way in which workers at Bletchley Park thought and worked in terms of days, rather than months or years. Each day was divided into three eight-hour shifts, often with deadlines to meet at the end of each shift.

Very Good in Very Good Dust Wrapper. Dust wrapper very slightly rubbed at the edges. Slight lean. Text complete, clean and tight.

Black boards with Gilt titling to the Spine. [XIX] 202 pages. Index. 9½” x 6¼”.

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