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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Facinating
This book is really a great primer in cryptography. Not only is it a history, but it walks you through the codes as they are invented and then walks you through their desctruction as they are cryptanalyzed into being useless. What fun!

This book is half science, half history and half great story. It is 1.5 books! :D

If only more topics in CS had such...
Published on Aug. 11 2010 by Marc

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A technical book wrapped in stories
If you want to understand how cryptography works, why it was developed and how it is broken this is one of the best books you can find on that subject. It includes cipher texts at the end to see how much you've learned...a fun way to learn about actually cracking ciphers. Written from a mathematical point of view, with plenty of stories and lore mixed in this book is...
Published on Sept. 21 2002 by Andrew Mueller


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Facinating, Aug. 11 2010
By 
Marc (Montreal, QC) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography (Paperback)
This book is really a great primer in cryptography. Not only is it a history, but it walks you through the codes as they are invented and then walks you through their desctruction as they are cryptanalyzed into being useless. What fun!

This book is half science, half history and half great story. It is 1.5 books! :D

If only more topics in CS had such great books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly readable, Sept. 30 2009
This review is from: The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography (Paperback)
This book is a highly readable history of cryptography covering such diverse topics as Mary, Queen of Scots, the Rosetta Stone, and government secrecy. Singh is a marvellous writer, and makes even the trickier aspects of the subject (such as quantum cryptography) understandable.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good overview, March 18 2014
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This book gives a good history lesson in Codes, and how they were developed. It is written in such a way that its easy to follow and to understand. I would recommend it for anyone with a interest in codes and cryptology.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most interesting reads, Feb. 5 2014
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This review is from: The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography (Paperback)
Amazing book. Good amount of details and very entertaining. I had purchased it as a gift for Xmas and borrowed it to read it myself. Amazing book. A def. buy if you are into that kind of books.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book!, Dec 3 2013
This review is from: The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography (Paperback)
This was a great read as it simply laid out the history of code making and breaking. If you have any interest in the subject, this is a great place to start.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Learn how encryption works both historically and currently, June 13 2013
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This review is from: The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography (Paperback)
Ever wondered how information is kept secret through encryption? Start simple, wrap a cloth around a pole and write on the cloth! That was one of the early examples of encryption provided in the book. It takes you from there through increasingly sophisticated processes for encrypting information including what is used on computers.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A technical book wrapped in stories, Sept. 21 2002
This review is from: The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography (Paperback)
If you want to understand how cryptography works, why it was developed and how it is broken this is one of the best books you can find on that subject. It includes cipher texts at the end to see how much you've learned...a fun way to learn about actually cracking ciphers. Written from a mathematical point of view, with plenty of stories and lore mixed in this book is fun for people with both no calculus experience and people with advanced degrees in applied math. I truly enjoyed this book and the analytical thinking it brought me.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Review Of “The Code Book” By Simon Singh, Dec 28 2005
This review is from: The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography (Paperback)
I tried reading this book five years ago when I bought it, giving up within the first 50 pages where the author started explaining how to decrypt a ciphertext. It bored me then. I’m glad I stuck through that minor hump this time around; this is an engrossing, fascinating book about cryptography’s role in history.
Singh begins the history with Mary Queen of Scots and how she used a cipher to encrypt letters to her cohorts to plan the assasination of the Queen of England. Besides learning a lot of history, Singh describes the ciphers used in an easy to follow manner, using lots of useful examples.
For those with a computer science background, the book gets really interesting about two-thirds of the way in, when computers come into play for breaking codes developed during World War II. The history of DES, RSA and PGP are compelling, especially when you already know about those standards but didn’t know the history of them; and the author describes how all are implemented in layman terms; it is easy to follow if you know little mathematics, although it will make the programmer in you want to start coding the algorithms he describes.
The author has published a less technical version of the book: The Code Book for Young People: How to Make It, Break It, Hack It, Crack It.
I picked up this book because I read the author’s previous book, Fermat’s Enigma, which is a lot more technical than The Code Book, but it’s an interesting tale nevertheless; non-technical readers can skip the meaningless stuff. That book is about how Fermat’s Last Theorem was solved after almost 400 years.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece!, July 17 2004
By 
Raja Mannar "rajmannar" (Richmond, VA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography (Paperback)
This book is truly an achievement! SimonSingh takes up a seemingly esoteric, difficult, mysterious, exhaustive subject of Cryptography (or in simple terms Coding and decoding) and backed up by exhaustive research , he has written an engrossing book; The 400page read is a fascinating journey for the reader. The journey spans a broad range and time period. The hallmark of this book apart from the wealth of information it has, is the facile style of writing of SimonSingh which doesn't smother the lay reader with verbiage or technicalities; The structure of chapters is period wise, starting with the basic codes used during the middle ages, with the advancement of monoalphabetic ciphers and then polyalphabetic ciphers (including the vignere ciphers); then the automation of ciphers which happened during WWII with the famous Enigma machine; Then comes the intresting phase of cat and mouse game between the cryptographers and cryptoanalysts, which has always happened, but took a intense phase during the WWII, primarily between the camp at BletchleyPark,London (which housed a motley crowd ranging from Mathematicians to Linguists, all in a hectic pursuit to break the German code) and the Germans. The simple explanation behind the logic of Enigma is a demonstration of SimonS's ability to express the technical in the simplest of terms.
I found the description and concept of DES , the breakthrough of asymmetric ciphers , the concept of public key and Private keys, digital signatures especially illuminating.
The background leading to the development of PGP by Zimmerman and its features is an highlight and very topical. Next time I buy anything from the Web, i will appreciate the technology of security which happens in the backend;
The politics of encryption between the camps for free speech vs Government control is fascinating and becomes all the more urgent in the light of 9/11 and Govt attempts to curtail and control.
Even if you have a passing intrest in science, you will find this book worthwhile to spend time on . Don't get intimidated by the term Cryptography. This is a not-to-be-missed books. There is history, politics(Zimmerman telegram; Navajova talkers;Hans-Schmidt; )I was mesmerised enough to read it twice in a month's span.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating subject!, July 9 2004
By 
Michael Freeman (Blanchard, OK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography (Paperback)
This author did a fantastic job of taking what could be a very dry subject and making it quite interesting. As the subtitle indicates, he traces the history of cryptography and cryptanalysis from the late 1500's to the modern time.
Singh gives examples throughout, and does a great job of explaining them as well. You don't have to be a math major to follow what he's talking about.
The end of the book contains a "Cryptography Challenge" in which he offers $15,000 to the first person to correctly crack ten encrypted messages. Don't set your heart on the prize; it's already been won. Most of the messages can be decrypted by the average (but tenacious) reader; several of the latter require significant computer skills, however.
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