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A list of key readings about ULTRA.
Please sort and annotate in a user-friendly manner. For formatting, consider using automated reference wikification.

Books on WWII cryptanalysis in general

  • Stephen Budiansky, "Battle of Wits: The Complete Story of Codebreaking in World War II", Free Press, New York, 2000 - Excellent work with a lot of technical detail
  • Hervie Haufler, "Codebreaker's Victory: How the Allied Cryptographers Won World War II", New American Library, East Rutherford, 2003 - Covers mostly the use of codebreaking product

Bletchley Park

  • Ralph Erskine, Michael Smith, (editors) "Action This Day: Bletchley Park From the Breaking of the Enigma Code to the Birth of the Modern Computer", Bantam, London, 2001 - Survey of the main different cryptanalytic activities at Bletchley, along with some material on exploitation; mostly about the European theatre work, but some material on Japanese work
  • F. H. Hinsley, Alan Stripp, (editors) "Codebreakers: The Inside Story of Bletchley Park", Oxford University, Oxford, 1993 - Participants cover all aspects of cryptanalysis at Bletchley in some detail, along with general material about Bletchley; mostly about the European theatre work, but some material on Japanese work

Specific topics

  • Bradley F. Smith, "The Ultra-Magic Deals And the Most Secret Special Relationship, 1940 - 1946", Novato, Presidio, 1993 - Covers the US-UK collaboration on code-breaking


  • Bruce Lee, "Marching Orders: The Untold Story Of World War II", Crown, New York, 1995 - Covers the Allied use of Ultra material

Books on the European theatre

Bletchley Park

  • Peter Calvocoressi, "Top Secret Ultra", Pantheon, New York, 1980 - Memoir of a participant, it covers breaking as well as exploitation
  • Thomas Parrish, "The Ultra Americans: The U.S. Role in Breaking the Nazi Codes", Stein and Day, New York, 1986 - Covers the US personnel stationed at Blethley later in the war
  • Michael Smith, "Station X: Decoding Nazi Secrets", TV Books, New York, 1999 - High-level survey of the work done at Bletchley, along with its place in the war
  • Gordon Welchman, "The Hut Six Story", McGraw-Hill, New York, Allen Lane, London, 1982 - Famous personal memoir by someone who played a major role, along with technical details
  • Irene Young, "Enigma Variations: Love, War, and Bletchley Park", Mainstream, Edinburgh, 1990 - Covers everyday life at Bletchley in passing


  • Jozef Garlinski, "Intercept: Secrets of The Enigma War", J. M. Dent, London, 1979 - Describes the initial Polish work on the Enigma, but mostly covers later developments
  • David Kahn, "Seizing the Enigma: The Race to Break the German U-Boat Codes, 1939-1943", Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1991 - Covers the work on the German naval Enigma
  • Wladyslaw Kozaczuk, Jerzy Straszak "Enigma: How the Poles Broke the Nazi Code", Hippocrene, New York, 2004 - Detailed description of the Polish personnel's contributions
  • Hugh Sebag-Montefiore, "Enigma: The Battle for the Code", Hoboken, John Wiley and Sons, 2001 - Covers the work on the German naval Enigma


  • B. Jack Copeland (editor), "Colossus: The Secrets of Bletchley Park's Codebreaking Computers", Oxford University, New York, 2005 - Detailed description of the technical aspects of the decryption, but not much detail on the actual machine
  • Paul Gannon, "Colossus: Bletchley Park's Greatest Secret", Atlantic, London, 2006 - Less technical, gives more about the surrounding events
  • Harvey G. Cragon, "From Fish to Colossus: How the German Lorenz Cipher was Broken at Bletchley Park", Cragon, Dallas, 2003 - A detailed description of the cryptanalysis of Tunny, and some details of Colossus (contains some minor errors)


  • Patrick Beesly, "Very Special Intelligence: The Story of the Admiralty's Operational Intelligence Centre 1939-1945", Hamish Hamilton, London, 1977 - Covers naval intelligence synthesis which used Ultra material
  • Ronald Lewin, "Ultra Goes to War", Hutchinson, London, 1978, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1978 - Covers the Allied use of Ultra material
  • Ewen Montagu, "Beyond Top Secret Ultra", Coward, McCann and Geoghegan, New York, 1978 - Covers counter-espionage work which used Ultra material
  • F.W. Winterbotham, "The Ultra Secret", Harper & Row, New York, 1974 - The first book in English to reveal the secret, it contains mainly information on how Ultra was used by the Allies

Books on the Pacific theatre

American work

  • W. J. Holmes, "Double-Edged Secrets: U.S. Naval Intellligence Operations in the Pacific During World War II", Naval Institute, Annapolis, 1979 - Personal memoir from someone on the edge of cryptographic intelligence work
  • Ronald Lewin, "The American Magic: Codes, Ciphers, and the Defeat of Japan", Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 1982 - Early survey of American codebreaking work
  • Frank B. Rowlett, "The Story of Magic: Memoirs of an American Cryptologic Pioneer", Aegean Park, Laguna Hills, 1998 - Personal memoir by one of the great American cryptanalysts

'British' work

  • Michael Smith, "The Emperor's Codes: The Breaking of Japan's Secret Ciphers", Arcade, New York, 2001 - A good broad survery of the work on Japanese systems by the British, Australians, etc
  • Alan Stripp, "Codebreaker in the Far East", Frank Cass, London, 1989 - A personal memoir of a British cryptanalyst

Specific topics

  • Carl Boyd, "Hitler's Japanese Confidant; General Oshima Hiroshi and Magic Intelligence, 1941-1945", University of Kansas, Lawrence, 1993 - Extensive description of the intelligence gained from Japanese personnel in Europe


  • Edward J. Drea, "Macarthur's Ultra: Codebreaking and The War Against Japan, 1942-1945", University of Kansas, Lawrence, 1992 - Covers mostly the use made of cryptographic intelligence
  • Ladislas Farago, "The Broken Seal: 'Operation Magic' and the Secret Road to Pearl Harbor", Random House, New York, 1967 - Analysis of the Pearl Harbor disaster, with much detail on the cryptographic intelligence aspect
  • Edwin Layton, "And I Was There: Breaking the Secrets - Pearl Harbor and Midway", Quill, New York, 1985 - Personal memoir of use of cryptographic information in some key early battles
  • John Prados, "Combined Fleet Decoded: The Secret History of American Intelligence and the Japanese Navy in World War II", Random House, New York, 1995 - Covers both the use made of cryptographic intelligence, as well as its production, but the latter is not given in detail
  • Edward Van Der Rhoer, "Deadly Magic: A Personal Account of Communications Intelligence in World War II in the Pacific", Charles Scribner's, New York, 1978 - Personal memoir describing the use of cryptographic intelligence by intelligence personnel
  • Roberta Wohlstetter, "Pearl Harbor: Warning and Decision", Stanford University, Stanford, 1962 - Analysis of the Pearl Harbor disaster, with much detail on the cryptographic intelligence aspect

Articles on the European theatre

  • Marian Rejewski, "How Polish Mathematicians Deciphered Enigma", IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, Vol. 3, No. 3, pp. 213-234, July 1981 - Rejewski's lengthy and detailed explanation of his work
  • Marian Rejewski, "An Application of the Theory of Permutations in Breaking the Enigma Cipher," Applicationes mathematicae, 16(4), 1980 (available online) - A more mathematical treatment of the same material
  • Gordon Welchman, "From Polish Bomba to British Bombe: the Birth of Ultra, Intelligence and National Security"; in Christopher Andrew (editor), "Codebreaking and Signals Intelligence", Frank Cass, London, 1986 - Welchman's fullest analysis of the contribution of the Poles to the breaking of Enigma

Articles on the Pacific theatre