The Bletchley Girls
War, secrecy, love and loss: the women of Bletchley Park tell their story
By Tessa Dunlop
Historian and broadcaster Tessa Dunlop tells the story of the women of Bletchley Park, through exclusive and unprecedented access to the women themselves.
'Lively...in giving us the daily details of their lives in the women's own voices Dunlop does them and us a fine service' New Statesman
'Dunlop is engaging in her personal approach. Her obvious feminine empathy with the venerable ladies she spoke to gives her book an immediacy and intimacy.' Daily Mail
'An in-depth picture of life in Britain's wartime intelligence centre...The result is fascinating, and is made all the more touching by the developing friendships between Dunlop and her interviewees.' Financial Times
The Bletchley Girls weaves together the lives of fifteen women who were all selected to work in Britain's most secret organisation - Bletchley Park. It is their story, told in their voices; Tessa met and talked to 15 veterans, often visiting them several times. Firm friendships were made as their epic journey unfolded on paper.
The scale of female involvement in Britain during the Second World War wasn't matched in any other country. From 8 million working women just over 7000 were hand-picked to work at Bletchley Park and its outstations. There had always been girls at the Park but soon they outnumbered the men three to one.
A refugee from Belgium, a Scottish debutante, a Jewish 14-year-old, and a factory worker from Northamptonshire - the Bletchley Girls confound stereotypes. But they all have one common bond, the war and their highly confidential part in it. In the middle of the night, hunched over meaningless pieces of paper, tending mind-blowing machines, sitting listening for hours on end, theirs was invariably confusing, monotonous and meticulous work, about which they could not breathe a word.
By meeting and talking to these fascinating female secret-keepers who are still alive today, Tessa Dunlop captures their extraordinary journeys into an adult world of war, secrecy, love and loss. Through the voices of the women themselves, this is a portrait of life at Bletchley Park beyond the celebrated code-breakers, it's the story of the girls behind Britain's ability to consistently out-smart the enemy, and an insight into the women they have become.
Award winning broadcaster and historian, Tessa Dunlop has presented several series and one-off documentaries for BBC TV including 'Thames Shipwrecks', 'Coast' and 'Inside Out'. She has authored and presented several documentaries for Radio 4 and the BBC World Service and has written for almost all the major national newspapers. She received the Gertrude Easton History prize whilst at Oxford University, got a 1st in her MA: Imperialism and Culture and has been awarded a PhD scholarship at Sheffield Hallam University.
- Other details
- Publication date:
08 Jan 2015
- Page count:
Hodder & Stoughton
Dunlop is engaging in her personal approach. Her obvious feminine empathy with the venerable ladies she spoke to gives her book an immediacy and intimacy. — Daily Mail
Lively...in giving us the daily details of their lives in the women's own voices Dunlop does them and us a fine service. — Erica Wagne, New Statesman
An in-depth picture of life in Britain's wartime intelligence centre...The result is fascinating, and is made all the more touching by the developing friendships between Dunlop and her interviewees. — Financial Times
Dunlop has interviewed some of those Bletchley women still alive and draws on one or two unpublished diaries. These have yielded some good stuff, especially on the particular intensity of wartime sexual relationships. — The Observer
Dunlop offers us glimpses of the women's lives and expectations, their education, aspirations and personal anecdotes, how they coped with the aftermath of war and what became of them. The combined accounts make for a fascinating social document of women's lives. — Sunday Express
The 15 extraordinary women interviewed for this book came from backgrounds as diverse as debutantes and factory workers. It's an engrossing read that captures their wildly different experiences. — Choice Magazine
Tessa Dunlop's The Bletchley Girls tells the story of 15 female veterans of 'Station X', all of whom Dunlop has interviewed at length. — The Guardian
Tessa Dunlop, author of The Bletchley Girls, documents the lives of 15 remarkable women who worked at The Park and are still alive to tell their stories. — Sunday Telegraph
By spending time with these fascinating women, Tessa Dunlop captures their extraordinary stories of life at Bletchley Park. — Daily Telegraph
Brings the unsung heroines of Bletchley into the limelight and gives them a share of the credit that so often goes to their male counterparts. — The Scotsman
Candid about the hardships and heartaches of wartime work and its knock-on effects. — The Times
A specially selected team is hard at work attempting - and succeeding - to crack secret German and Japanese codes. Many of their number were women, even schoolgirls - and it is their remarkable first hand stories that form the basis of this fascinating book. — History Revealed Magazine
Oscar-tipped movie The Imitation Game brought master code breaker Alan Turing's story to the big screen, and tales of the women he worked with during the Second World War can be found in Tessa Dunlop's new book. — Irish News
Work conducted by women at Bletchley Park during the Second World War is often overlooked, making this a unique history of the period. — The Bookseller
Not simply a biography of one shared experience, but a generation...unquestionably compelling. — Blackpool Gazette
Her book, The Bletchley Girls, sees her adding to the understanding of the sheer scale of the work undertaken at Bletchley Park. — Cambridge News