Seizing the Enigma: The Race to Break the German U-Boats Codes, 1939-1943

ISBN: 978-1-4551-5499-9
Review Date:

Intelligence had been an integral part of war since the start of human civilization. During the European War, with its survival dependent on supplies coming from abroad, the British military devoted resources to cracking the series of ever-more-complex German military codes using the Enigma machines. David Kahn's Seizing the Enigma detailed not only the fundamentals of cryptology and cryptanalysis, but also the history of British forces' capture of keys and ciphering machines. The intervening narrations of naval engagements reminded me the importance of intercepting and reading enemy messages, while anecdotes about the key code breaking personnel ensured that the collective accomplishments of Allied code breaking would not remain anonymous. I particularly enjoyed two side points, though not off-topic points, made by the author. The first was his venture into the successful German breaking of Allied code in the first half of the war, something generally ignored by other authors. The other was his concluding paragraph that put the code breaking effort into perspective of the entire war, in that the success hastened the end of the European War thus saved a great number of lives, but even if the Allies failed in this effort, the ultimate outcome of the war might be the same.

I had reviewed this title in its audio book format. Bernard Mayes did a wonderful job with the reading, albeit his pace was a tad bit slow for my personal preference. I enjoyed his performance very much.

I found Seizing the Enigma to be a wonderful book on the intellectual battle on German cryptography, and I would certainly recommend this title.

Back to Main | Back to Book Reviews Index

Did you enjoy this article? Please consider supporting us on Patreon. Even $1 per month will go a long way! Thank you.

Share this article with your friends:


Stay updated with WW2DB:

 RSS Feeds

Posting Your Comments on this Topic

Your Name
Your Email
 Your email will not be published
Comment Type
Your Comments
Security Code


Note: We hope that visitor conversations at WW2DB will be constructive and thought-provoking. Please refrain from using strong language. HTML tags are not allowed. Your IP address will be tracked even if you remain anonymous. WW2DB site administrators reserve the right to moderate, censor, and/or remove any comment. All comment submissions will become the property of WW2DB.

Search WW2DB & Partner Sites
More on Seizing the Enigma: The Race to Break the German U-Boats Codes, 1939-1943
Related People:
» Tranow, Wilhelm
» Turing, Alan

Famous WW2 Quote
"With Germany arming at breakneck speed, England lost in a pacifist dream, France corrupt and torn by dissension, America remote and indifferent... do you not tremble for your children?"

Winston Churchill, 1935