Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Seizing the Enigma The Race to Break The German U-Boat Codes 1939-1943

By David Kahn
Revised Edition 9781591148074 Paperback 416 pages 2012 Naval Institute Press

Seizing the Enigma tells the thrilling story of the Royal Navy’s battle to crack the Germans’ supposedly unbreakable U-boat Enigma code, which would allow the vital Allied convoys in the North Atlantic to be routed away from Dönitz’s wolfpacks. This battle was fought both on shore and at sea: by an assortment of scientists, chess champions and linguists, including Alan Turing, the father of the modern computer, who struggled to crack Enigma at Bletchley Park, and in the Atlantic by sailors and intelligence officers, such as Ian Fleming, the future creator of James Bond, who undertook dangerous and often fatal missions to seize the essential encryption keys and Enigma machine components from Kriegsmarine surface ships and U-boats. Kahn expertly brings this unparalleled intelligence operation to life in this revised paperback edition of his classic book.
Having a friend that worked at Bletchley Park and a father who took part in the Battle of the Atlantic, this book was read with great interest. Written by David Kahn, former Scholar-in-Resident for the US National Security Agency and considered one of the foremost experts on cryptology.
A detailed account on all parties involved in the coding and code breaking, which will likely be around in perpetuity, is covered from each nation’s perspective. A good selection of photographs is included which is always good to help the reader get a sense of the persons they are reading about.
This fascinating book is highly recommended to for those with an interest in naval or cryptography history.