Simon Singh: The Code Book : The Secret History of Codes & Code-breaking

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Encryption is an old invention, probably almost as old as writing itself. There have always been secrets to hide from others. Methods of encryption have evolved, as unbreakable codes have been broken and new codes have come to replace them.

Singh goes through the history of encryption from ancients times to the quantum computers of future. The book is a nice mixture of easy-to-understand explanation, historical background and methodology of codebreaking. There are several interesting stories and legends in the book, for example the Beale codes, Navajo whisperers and the breaking of the German Enigma code. There's also a bit of archeology, in the form of figuring out the hieroglyphs and the Cretan Linear B writing. Decyphering those obscure forms of writing was quite a cryptographical feat!

I found this book absolutely charming and recommend it to anybody interested in the topic. Actually, go ahead and read even if you don't care about the topic - you'll soon find yourself very interested in cryptography, it's such a fascinating topic and such a well-written book. [ The Code Book: The Secret History of Codes and Code-breaking at ]The Code Book at LibraryThing ]

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