Codebreaker Girls: A Secret Life at Bletchley Park by Jan Slimming is a non-fiction account of the life of Daisy Lawrence, who worked at Bletchley Park during World War II. Ms. Slimming is Jan’s daughter who researched her mother’s work, experiences, and how they affected the rest of her life.
- 352 pages
- Publisher : Pen and Sword Military
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 1526784114
During World War II Bletchley Park was the center of England’s codebreaking efforts which historians agree help shorten the war, as well as save lives. In this book, the author discusses the important roles women played in this effort, along with her mother.
Codebreaker Girls: A Secret Life at Bletchley Park by Jan Slimming tries to be a bit of everything, a biography of Daisy Slimming, a short history of Bletchley Park and the efforts within, as well as the war efforts as seen from the rear, among others. The narrative moves between a moving biography of Daisy, to give an overall, but not comprehensive, view of the world around it.
I think Ms. Slimming tried to take on a bit too much in too short a space. The story of her mother was both fascinating and tragic. I’m sure this book will be treasured forever in the Slimming family. Daisy took her oath to stay quite very seriously and the British military provided on relief on that front, in fact they made it worst by threatening the women with jail or a firing squad if they even breath a word of it; instead of allowing the women to vent to qualified professionals who could also be sworn to secrecy (not to mention they could just listen and probably won’t understand what they’re hearing).
But times were different, and we’re better now.
Much of the material in this book was taken from the Slimming family archives, pictures, documents, and most important, the fascinating story which would have been lost forever. The book details the difficult and long wait Daisy had to endure while her future husband was missing in action (a POW they hoped), what the ladies ate, how they slept, and the mental issues they had during, and after the war.
There is a lot of details in this book, many people, and tons of fascinating anecdotes which makes it a worthwhile addition to any World War II, history, or code breaking library. Ms. Slimming is a very good writer who obviously did a lot of research to write a fascinating book which, I’m sure, would make her mother proud.
Zohar — Man of la Book
Disclaimer: I got this book for free.
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