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Secret Days (Paperback)

Codebreaking in Bletchley Park

Military > Frontline Books > Frontline: WWII WWII

By Lord Asa Briggs
Frontline Books
Pages: 202
ISBN: 9781848326620
Published: 6th July 2015



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The Bletchley Park memoir of Lord ASA Briggs will be one of the most important documents to be published in 2010. Lord Briggs has long been regarded as one of Britain's most important historians. He has never, however, written about his time at Bletchley Park.

The publication, which will coincide with Lord Briggs 90th birthday, is a meticulously researched account of life in Hut Six, written by a codebreaker who worked there for five years alongside Alan Turing and Gordon Welchman. In addition to discussing the progress of the Allies'code-breaking efforts and their impact on the war, Lord Briggs considers what the Germans knew about Bletchley and how they reacted to revelatory memoirs about the Enigma machine which were not published until the 1970s. Briggs himself did not tell his wife about his wartime career until the 1970s and his parents died without ever knowing their son's contribution to the wartime effort.

The book will be launched at Bletchley in May 2011, in the presence of other Hut 6 veterans and part of the proceeds will be donated to the fund to restore Hut 6 to its former glory.

With the ending of the Cold War, an increasing number of accounts of work at Bletchley Park and its out-stations has been published.
The author has produced a graphic human presentation of life at Bletchley Park and is one of the last surviving codebreakers of Hut 6. Most highly recommended.

Read the full review here.


As mentioned in

Yorkshire Post

Asa Briggs was a code-breaker working at Hut Six at Bletchley Park. While he is an author of great renown, until now he has not written about his time at Bletchley Park, indeed he did not tell his wife what he did during the war until the 1970s, and his parents died without ever knowing about the nature of his wartime service.

Thus, this is a historically important book, and enthusiasts of Bletchley Park will find much useful information here.

Destructive Music

#1 Books Chart Top 10

Western Morning News

Asa has not only had a long life, but also a remarkably rich and useful one, for which many people will be profoundly grateful. In these three volumes we can get some picture of what his life meant for him, his family and his many friends, and with it a comprehensive story of the times in which we live.

The Spokesman

Its appeal is largely to those enthusiasts who collect and absorb all things related to BP.

Mathematics Today

This lively account is a valuable addition to our understanding of its contribution to the Allied victory.

Times Higher Education

An engrossing memoir of his own part in Hitler's downfall.

Military History Monthly

Lord Asa Briggs was made a Life Peer in 1976 as a most highly respected British Historian. Altogether (the book) can be described as a histiography of the place and as such will undoubtedly become of great value to future researchers. This is a book which not only provides a good read but should become a future source of reference... Strongly recommended.


Frontline Books have published the Second World War memoirs of the renowned historian, Asa Briggs...the memoir gives an interesting picture of the social life in Bletchley...he also provides a useful histiography of Bletchley and a short history of the Bletchley Trust.

Military Historical Society

The memoir gives an interesting picture of the social life of Bletchley.

The Bulletin

The memoir gives an interesting picture of the social life of Bletchley.

The Bulletin

Lord ASA Briggs served at Bletchley Park as part of the team who were breaking down the Axis codes and ciphers. Brigg's new work is the first account of life at the park during the war. The book describes the daily routine and also describes the overall administration. As such it will undoubtedly become of great value to future researchers. The book not only provides a good read but should also become a future source of reference. Strongly recommended.


Hidden Gem!

The Oldie Review

Briggs is an engaging and amiable guide though the mysteries of wartime cryptography... a fascinating account of an outstanding young man and his time at a quite remarkable institution.

Roger Moorhouse in BBC History magazine

Without doubt, this is the most important book examining the work undertaken at Bletchley Park to be publish in recent times.

Britain at War magazine

There are marvellous illustrations in this book, marvellous anecdotes, such as the one about Hrothgar Habbakkuk, (which I am not going to tell you; read the book).... How fortunate we are that Lord Asa Briggs has so superlative a memory (and also that he kept a diary, which was absolutely forbidden!)'

Gwen Watkins, author of Cracking the Luftwaffe Codes

Asa Briggs — distinguished historian, former chancellor of the Open University and vice-chancellor of Sussex — was there [at Bletchley Park] and is very much alive, as this gossipy and informative account shows.

The Spectator
Lord Asa Briggs

About Lord Asa Briggs

Lord Asa Briggs sadly passed away in March 2016.
He is still regarded as one of the most highly respected British historians. During his life, he dedicated his time to history and improving education for others, helping to establish the Open University and Sussex University. During World War II he worked at the code-breaking station at Bletchley Park.

He is the author of Victorian People, Victorian Cities and Victorian Things. He has also written a five volume history of broadcasting in the United Kingdom. He was made a life peer in 1976.

Perfect Partner

Special Relationships People and Places (Hardback)

In this highly readable but completely unconventional book Asa Briggs, writer, lecturer and professor, wellknown on both sides of the Atlantic, goes back in time to his own hometown, Keighley in the old West Riding of Yorkshire, now incorporated in Bradford. He describes how he got his unusual name, a question often put to him, and considers whether having been born in an industrial town surrounded by moors has shaped his writing and his ideas of history. He has been a pioneer in many fields of history, particularly the history of the Victorians and the history of broadcasting, and in this book…

By Lord Asa Briggs

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