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Topic: WWII cryptography

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Subject: WWII cryptography
Date Posted: 2/7/2011 3:38 AM ET
Member Since: 5/17/2009
Posts: 64
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I am looking for true stories about American and British code breakers during WWII. For instance, my favorite scene fro the movie Midway was the scene in which the the officer fleshed-out the location of "AF". any suggestions?

Date Posted: 2/7/2011 12:16 PM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
Posts: 1,930
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I have this one on my TBR (haven't read it yet)

Between Silk and Cyanide: A Codemaker's War, 1941-1945
Author: Leo Marks

Date Posted: 2/8/2011 1:27 AM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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You will find some interesting reading material about the Dayton Ohio "codebreakers" , and about the man at the center of the World War Two U.S, Navy project, one Joe Desch, if you "google" his name.  He was an engineer who drove himself and the WAVES sent to the National Cash Register facility here to assist him extremely hard.  But the effort to decrypt the codes used by the Nazi U-boats did pay off.

Date Posted: 2/16/2011 12:42 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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Brad Meltzer  writes on secret codes and conspiracies.  His latest is  entitled The Inner Circle.  It's about some archivists who discover a dictionary secreted in a Colonial-era desk chair.  The dictionary  appears to have belonged to George Washington.  In  Meltzer's  book, "355" is the code name for a woman who helped George Washington with his spy ring in the Revolutionary War. 

Date Posted: 2/16/2011 2:05 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2006
Posts: 610
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Another book is Seizing the Enigma by David Kahn.  This is the story of capturing the Enigma machine and breaking the German U-Boat codes.  Quite riveting.  The author also wrote Hitler's Spies and The Codebreakers.

Date Posted: 3/18/2011 8:17 PM ET
Member Since: 2/7/2008
Posts: 309
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Robert Harris' Enigma inspired me to read an actual history about Bletchley Park - Hugh Sebag-Montefiore's Enigma: the Battle for the Code. Would highly recommend both.


Date Posted: 3/18/2011 9:12 PM ET
Member Since: 5/17/2009
Posts: 64
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I have "ULTRA Goes to War"...anyone read?

Subject: the code war
Date Posted: 4/1/2011 10:52 PM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
Posts: 3,525
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This is a favorite subject of mine.  In addition to the ones mentioned above, I have also read:

Battle of Wits: The Complete Story of Codebreaking in World War II by Stephen Budiansky

The Secret in Building 26: The Untold Story of America's Ultra War Against the U-Boat Enigma Codes by Jim Debrosse and Colin Burke

You also do not want to miss reading "And I Was There": Pearl Harbor and Midway--Breaking the Secrets by Rear Admiral Edwin T. Layton. This book exposes how the Japanese codes were broken in Hawaii by people who also understood the Japanese, and how politics within the U.S. Navy led officers in Washington to work against the people in Hawaii and seize control of this part of the intelligence war. One of the methods used was eventually denying the brass in Hawaii access to the Magic intercepts and we know what that led to.

However, my all time favorite book on the "Secret War' that was waged in World War II is A Bodyguard of Lies by Anthony Cave Brown, which covers almost all the "Secret War" dealing with the invasion of Europe and answers so many questions about what happened and why.

I enjoyed A Life in Secrets, mentioned in a previous post. At first it seemed dull, but then I began to realize how this woman felt responsible for so many of the female secret agents who were lost in Europe and had to track their fates after the war.  No feelings of pride in victory here, just the tragic cost of victory.

Last Edited on: 3/13/12 10:08 PM ET - Total times edited: 5