My Secret Life in Hut 6: One Woman's Experiences at Bletchley Park by Mair and Gethen Russell Jones
Description: This is the memoir of a woman who worked at Bletchley Park during World War 2 just after leaving college.
Why I Picked This Book: I'm fascinated with Bletchley Park. I've watched every movie and show I could find about it but haven't seen that many books on the subject.
Pros: So much that I had never thought of was covered in this book. I knew the basics of Bletchley but how the employees were found, who they were and where they'd stayed were things that it had never occurred to me to even wonder about. In this book we get to know an intelligent, high minded, serious young Welsh woman who happened to be good at puzzles, showed leadership ability and was minoring in German at the university in Cardiff. You really are able to feel the weight of keeping such a tremendous secret has on such a young woman. Through her eyes the readers sees what it's really like to get up every morning and work a shift at Bletchley. It had never occurred to me that the employees were not only not boarded on the property but actually had boarded with townspeople who weren't allowed to know what they did and some as is the case with Mair's first landlady, resented the intrusion. I also found parts of Mair's story pre-Bletchley interesting. Seeing through the eyes of an ordinary girl as World War 2 is ramping up was very interesting and unique. After war breaks out she casually talks about enduring a 10 hour bombing of Cardiff and then getting up and going to lectures the next day. The contrast of ordinary events contrasted with horrific wartime actions is startling.
Cons: While I feel like I got to know Mair and liked and sympathized with her there was a lot of excess information in this book. While her involvement with the Christian groups both at school and at Bletchley was very important to her it took away a bit from the story. There is a mention early on the book that Mair's narrative is in italics and her son's overview is in regular text this doesn't happen in the Kindle edition. Since I had a review copy this may be fixed in the finished product. The jumping back and forth from Mair to her son can feel a little disjointed and this is exaggerated a little by the lack of italics.
Overall: If you are interested in Bletchley Park history or what it was like on the home front during World War 2 this would be of some interest. While the writing is somewhat cumbersome you do get a good sense of the place and the person. I just wish there wasn't so much extra information.
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Probably not but I don't see this author as publishing more books of this type. If there is more information on Bletchley or Mair's time there I would read it.
Would I Recommend this Book?: Only to people with a strong interest in Bletchley Park, World War 2 history or religious organizations.