Colossus : The secrets of Bletchley Park's code-breaking computers

3.95 (102 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

List price: US$40.01

Currently unavailable

Add to wishlist

AbeBooks may have this title (opens in new window).

Try AbeBooks


At last - the secrets of Bletchley Park's powerful codebreaking computers. This is a history of Colossus, the world's first fully-functioning electronic digital computer. Colossus was used during the Second World War at the Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park, where it played an invaluable role cracking enemy codes. Until very recently, much about the Colossus machine was shrouded in secrecy, largely because the codes that were employed remained in use by the British security services until a short time ago. This book has only become possible due to the recent declassification in the US of wartime documents. With an introductory essay on cryptography and the history of code-breaking by Simon Singh, this book reveals the workings of Colossus and the extraordinary staff at Bletchley Park through personal accounts by those who lived and worked with the computer. Among them is the testimony of Thomas Flowers, who was the architect of Colossus and whose personal account, written shortly before he died, is published here for the first time. Other essays consider the historical importance of this remarkable machine, and its impact on the generations of computing technology that more

Product details

  • Hardback | 480 pages
  • 157.48 x 226.06 x 48.26mm | 816.46g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 16 pp half-tone plates, numerous figures
  • 019284055X
  • 9780192840554
  • 534,533

Review quote

An engaging book that will be essential reading for historians of twentieth-century technology and warfare. Nature formidably detailed Guardian compelling compilation New Scientistshow more

About B. J. Copeland

Jack Copeland is a Reader in Philosophy and Director of the Turing Project at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. A contributor to Scientific American, his books include Turing's Machines, Artificial Intelligence, and The Essential more

Table of contents

1. A Brief History of Cryptography from Caesar to Bletchley Park; 2. How It Began: Bletchley Park Goes to War; 3. The German Tunny Machine; 4. Colossus, Codebreaking, and the Digital Age; 5. Machine Against Machine; 6. D-Day at Bletchley Park; 7. Intercept!; 8. Colossus; 9. Colossus and the Rise of the Modern Computer; 10. The PC-User's Guide to Colossus; 11. Of Men and Machines; 12. The Colossus Rebuild; 13. Mr Newman's Section; 14. Max Newman-Mathematician, Codebreaker and Computer Pioneer; 15. Living with Fish: Breaking Tunny in the Newmanry and the Testery; 16. From Hut 8 to the Newmanry; 17. Codebreaking and Colossus; 18. Major Tester's Section; 19. Setter and Breaker; 20. An ATS Girl in the Testery; 21. The Testery and the Breaking of Fish; 22. Dollis Hill at War; 23. The British Tunny Machine; 24. How Colossus was Built and Operated-One of Its Engineers Reveals Its Secrets; 25. Bletchley Park's Sturgeon-The Fish That Laid No Eggs; 26. Geheimschreiber Traffic and Swedish Wartime Intelligence; A1 Timeline: The Breaking of Tunny; A2 The Teleprinter Alphabet; A3 The Tunny Addition Square; A4 My Work at Bletchley Park; A5 The Tiltman Break; A6 Turingery; A7 Dc-Method; A8 Newman's Theorem; A9 Rectangling; A10 The Motor Wheels and Limitations; A11 Motorless Tunny; A12 Origin of the Fish Cypher Machinesshow more

Rating details

102 ratings
3.95 out of 5 stars
5 26% (27)
4 48% (49)
3 21% (21)
2 4% (4)
1 1% (1)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X