Geniuses at War: Bletchley Park, Colossus, and the Dawn of the Digital Age

Knopf. Jun. 2021. 256p. ISBN 9780525521549. $24.95. HIST
Price (The Pixar Touch) puts his expertise in history and technology to excellent use in his latest book. Following the exploits of the motley collection of geniuses installed at Bletchley Park during the Second World War, he weaves a superb narrative, at once compelling and relatable, about the technological innovations used to break the Nazis’ many military and police codes and ciphers. In this book, the code breakers come to life as people grappling with personal conflicts and politics while working together (and sometimes against each other) in the relatively egalitarian environment at Bletchley. Many of the group’s innovations receive notice in Price’s work, but he focuses mainly on the events and people involved in the invention of Colossus—the first programmable, electronic, digital computer, which was designed to break the German army’s Lorenz cipher. Readers will encounter familiar names, such as Winston Churchill, along with less prominent figures, like the British mathematician Max Newman.
VERDICT Incredibly well-written and well-researched, this fast-paced book reads like a novel. Highly recommended to readers with an interest in World War II and 20th-century history, as well as anyone looking for an exciting story of code breaking and intrigue.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing