Friday 20 November 2015

Thank you, crowdfunders - I will do you proud!

Before Enigma: The Room 40 codebreakers of the First World WarI haven’t crowdfunded a book before. It has its embarrassing elements, asking friends and family for money for example – something I try hard not to do in normal circumstances.

But I am now down to the last 48 hours of the project to crowdfund a short ebook about the Room 40 naval codebreakers in the First World War, and the fascinating lessons they provided for Turing in the Second. It is called Before Enigma. And I've found it quite exhilarating.

There is, in fact, still time to contribute, should you be so moved. And although we may not finally reach the publisher’s target, we are now approaching enough to kickstart the project.

So here are three final reasons why this particular book needs to be written:

  • It will provide a way of understanding Turing and the Enigma codebreakers a generation later, because those who managed him cut their teeth in Room 40.
  • It will tell the fascinating story of the war at sea – rather ignored by the BBC these days – through the eyes of the peculiar bunch of brilliant amateurs collected together by the Admiralty to crack codes from 1914 onwards.
  • It will allow me to tell the tale which fascinates me most – the emergence of the twentieth century phenomenon: the huge hierarchical corporation (in this case, the fleet) and how the mavericks learned the hard way how it might be provided with the information it needed to be effective. It is a lesson we keep forgetting, even in the twenty-first century.

So if you are among those who have helped fund this project, I am really ever so grateful. There is still time to contribute if you still want to, but not much time. Either way, I will do you proud...

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Richard Gadsden said...

I do wish there was a reward level that included a paper copy of the book.

David Boyle said...

I agree, Richard. And if I do this again, that's the main thing I will change - now I understand the system a bit better.