The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography

The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography

by Simon Singh
4.5 35

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Overview

The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography by Simon Singh

In his first book since the bestselling Fermat's Enigma, Simon Singh offers the first sweeping history of encryption, tracing its evolution and revealing the dramatic effects codes have had on wars, nations, and individual lives. From Mary, Queen of Scots, trapped by her own code, to the Navajo Code Talkers who helped the Allies win World War II, to the incredible (and incredibly simple) logisitical breakthrough that made Internet commerce secure, The Code Book tells the story of the most powerful intellectual weapon ever known: secrecy.

Throughout the text are clear technical and mathematical explanations, and portraits of the remarkable personalities who wrote and broke the world's most difficult codes. Accessible, compelling, and remarkably far-reaching, this book will forever alter your view of history and what drives it.  It will also make you wonder how private that e-mail you just sent really is.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385495325
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/29/2000
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 97,460
Product dimensions: 5.14(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.82(d)

About the Author

Simon Singh received his Ph.D. in physics from Cambridge University. A former BBC producer, he directed and co-produced an award-winning documentary film on Fermat's Last Theorem that aired on PBS's Nova series and formed the basis of his bestselling book, Fermat's Enigma. He lives in London.

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Code Book 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 35 reviews.
David9 More than 1 year ago
Quite a good job at making crypto accessible, with fascinating anecdotes on everything from lost civilizations to fainting frenchmen. And, as with Fermat's Last Theorem, Singh has a knack of bringing out the depth and color of the people and crises in espionage and modern tech. The book mostly follows wars, and is not shy to report the more gruesome fates befalling those who trusted their spy code tricks. The geniuses and the subterfuge they wreak are actually fun to follow and Singh gently explains how their magic actually worked. Criticisms: Some of the claims about perfect security in the last chapter seemed premature. The flow between some chapters is disjointed, but it's entertaining and covers a very broad subject in satisfying depth. My day job is modifying security software and it was very cool to read the story behind DH key exchange. DH was completely mind-blowing when I first understood it. Singh put me in the room as the college kids were discovering it. And that was thrilling to me. Almost every chapter in this book weaves a good story, connecting you to the protagonists and spectating over their epic battles of mind against mind. Singh has put a lot of time and research into this book and it shows admirably. I liked it.
Go4Jugular More than 1 year ago
This is an interesting book that takes the reader in chronologic order, from the very first simple substitution codes through to theoretical coding methods yet to be developed. Real-life stories of the use of codes throughout history are interspersed amongst the progression of code making and code breaking techniques. It is fascinating to hear how first the code makers, then the code breakers, alternate supremacy as their respective techniques advance. It is a veritable parade of truly clever and talented practitioners of the science. I gave this less than a perfect score only because the mathematics get increasingly challenging as technology advances, and it takes a fairly dedicated reader to push through to the end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not too technical. Singh does a great job of telling the story of secret messages, providing just the right amount of detail.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had always wondered how they did these things and the book was supremely informative. I am not a mathematician or a linguist but the methodology was explained so thoroughly and clearly that it was like reading a crime novel. Also, I had always been baffled about Linear B and had wondered if there was a Linear A (which there is). I would recommend the book to those that like to resolve crossword puzzles and that type of problems.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is pretty good and told me about a lot of fun encyrption codes.
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joachimJM More than 1 year ago
If you are interested in cryptography definitely check it out even though you are not you'll find it quite interesting, it's well written and perfectly understandable, this book will give you a good insight on the subject from code makers to code breakers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting read, full of good info about code making and breaking history. Written in an entertaining way, it was hard to put down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Who would have thought a book about cryptography and cryptanalysis could be so interesting. Singh brings a fantastic historical perspective into the battle between code makers and code breakers. The unsung heroes of wars, the deciphering of ancient languages, and the breakthroughs in science and mathematics that make secure communications and electronic commerce possible are made approachable through Singh's great work in this book. A great historical look into the use of ciphers and how they were cracked. For the geek at heart... this one is for you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Highly Recommended - Great Author
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Jeruff89 More than 1 year ago
Fascinating historical and mathematical progression in relation to "codes" and "codebreaking". I enjoyed how he tied in ancient languages. Overall, highly recommended.
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Amethyst_Lynx More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent overview of Cryptogrophy through the ages. It goes over the underlining princibles of cyphers by time period, then explains how the cyphers can be broken. Most of the informations seems to be between entry level and mid-level.
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