David Stafford

Eggheads Go East

The Emperor’s Codes: Bletchley Park’s Role in Breaking Japan’s Secret Ciphers

By

Dialogue 352pp £9.99 order from our bookshop

The codebreakers of Bletchley Park have become the stuff of legend, a stirring tale of the triumph of British brains over Nazi brawn likely to warm the heart of even the most indifferent patriot. For there, positioned halfway between the ivory towers of Oxford and Cambridge, and a mere hour’s train ride from London, a hotch-potch assemblage of pencil-wielding eccentrics and absent-minded academics outwitted the might of the Third Reich, broke its codes, and shortened the Second World War by as much as two years. If the Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton, Britain’s victory in 1945 was sealed in the prefabricated huts hastily erected in the grounds of a Victorian mansion. So delightfully amateurish was it all, so goes the chuckle, that the head of MI6 even had to dip into his own pockets to pay for the building.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Why did the 'bold and determined' Empress Matilda never manage to become Queen regnant? Peter Marshall reviews a n… ,
    • From the Archive: Martyn Bedford on Ian McEwan's 'Atonement' ,
    • In 'Silenced Voices' reports the ongoing story of the human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been… ,
    • The mystery of Jack the Ripper's identity has long been agonised over. But what do we know about his victims?… ,
    • A piece of Literary Review history from way back in 1983: John Haffenden talks to the great Iris Murdoch. ,
    • Britain’s only travelling lit fest, the Garden Museum Literary Festival is heading to Houghton Hall, Norfolk, for a… ,
    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,