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Codebreaker: The History of Codes and Ciphers
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Codebreaker: The History of Codes and Ciphers

2.0 1
by Stephen Pincock
 

From the time of the ancient pharaohs to the modern world of Internet banking, civilization has relied on codes and ciphers to keep its secrets. The 4,000-year history of cryptography has been a kind of arms race: Each time a more complex encryption has been developed, it has been attacked and, more often than not, decoded; and each time, in response,

Overview

From the time of the ancient pharaohs to the modern world of Internet banking, civilization has relied on codes and ciphers to keep its secrets. The 4,000-year history of cryptography has been a kind of arms race: Each time a more complex encryption has been developed, it has been attacked and, more often than not, decoded; and each time, in response, codemakers have produced tougher and tougher codes. Codebreaker surveys the entire history of codes through an eloquent narrative and an evocative range of illustrations, paying special attention to famous codes that have never been broken, such as the Beale Ciphers, the Voynich manuscript, the Easter Island code, and many more. Many great names in history appear throughout, from Caesar and Mary Queen of Scots, to Samuel Morse and Alan Turing. The narrative is based in part on interviews with cryptology experts, Navaho windtalkers, decryption experts, and law enforcement experts, and ends with a vision of the coded future via quantum cryptography.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Jamie S. Hansen
Human beings love secrets. Everyone enjoys being privy to facts, knowledge, gossip, and trade secrets not known to others. A popular television commercial depicts a crafty dog that has discovered a "secret family recipe" for baked beans. Dan Brown's novel, The Da Vinci Code, remained a bestseller for weeks and spawned a successful film and various shameless imitations. The Navaho Windwalkers and their World War II codes have been immortalized in novels, documentaries, and a feature film. "Unbreakable" codes and secret encrypted messages have long been staple themes of popular novels and films. Pincock's fascinating book reveals to the reader that codes and ciphers have been used by pharaohs, queens, generals, politicians, and lovers for at least 4,000 years. Mary, Queen of Scots, and Julius Caesar relied on the security provided by encrypted messages, in much the same way computer encryption is depended on to keep ATM transactions and cell-phone conversations private. The profusely illustrated volume includes profiles of famous cryptographers and decryption experts, descriptions of unbreakable codes such as the Dorabella Cipher and the Voynich manuscript, and as a special treat for the reader, an appendix containing seven codes to solve, using information from various chapters. Beautifully written, entertaining but never shallow, and replete with fascinating insights into the arcane world of cryptography, Codebreaker is that rare work-a nonfiction title that is as appealing as a fast-paced thriller. It should be an essential purchase for libraries serving young adults.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802715470
Publisher:
Walker & Company
Publication date:
10/03/2006
Pages:
160
Product dimensions:
6.60(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Stephen Pincock is a news editor for The Scientist magazine, and a science columnist for the Financial Times magazine. A trained biochemist and science journalist, Pincock has long had a fascination for deciphering codes and for the history of espionage. He has written widely about the history and development of cryptology, technology, and science.

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Codebreaker: The History of Codes and Ciphers 2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Mistress_Nyte More than 1 year ago
This book is not terrible, but I guess I know enough about codes and the like to need something more in depth about this subject. It's not staying on my shelf.