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# The Code Book: The Secret History of Codes and Code-Breaking

by
Simon Singh

Combining impeccable history and intriguing stories of espionage and intellectual breakthroughs, this riveting bestseller, by the author of the popular science classic

*Fermat's Last Theorem*, brings to life the secret world of cryptographers and code-breakers from Ancient Egypt to the age of the internet.Paperback, 402 pages

Published
2000
by Fourth Estate
(first published November 3rd 1999)

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## Community Reviews

(showing
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Sep 18, 2008
Jim
rated it
it was amazing
·
review of another edition

Recommends it for:
Geeks and people who like geeks.

Shelves:
pop-sci-geek

The Code Book is like geek porn. Explanations of the theories behind cryptography are woven together with anecdotes of times when code-making or code-breaking was integral to historical events. Singh strikes an excellent balance with this book. The clarity of his writing makes the explanations of the mathematics of cryptography very straightforward without dumbing them down, and the historical connections are always fascinating.

Personally, my favorite part was the section devoted to the role cry ...more

Personally, my favorite part was the section devoted to the role cry ...more

পৃথিবীতে বড় বড় সব যুদধগুলো হয়েছে আসলে 'কোডবরেকার' আর 'কোডমেকার' দের মধযে, যারাই পরতিপকষের পাঠানো গোপন চিঠিগুলো পড়ে ফেলতে পেরেছে তারাই কৌশলগত দিক থেকে একধাপ এগিয়ে গিয়েছে। সেই জুলিয়াস সিজারের সিজার সাইফার থেকে শুরু করে নাৎসিদের বযবহৃত এনিগমা মেশিন, আধুন ...more

বইটির সনধান পাই গুডরিডস ঘাঁটাঘাঁটি করতে করতে। Cryptography;অরথাৎ আপনার তথযকে সরবসাধারণের আড়ালে রেখে সংরকষণ ও পরাপককে সরবরাহ করার বিদযা নিয়ে এই বই।হাজার বছর আগের রাজা বাদশাদের আমল থেকে Cryptography-র চরচা শুরু,যার সরোত এখন আপনার সোশাল মিডিয়া অযাকাউনট থেকে সেলফোনের রিচারজ কারডের বযবহারে চলছে সদরপে !চারশো পৃষঠার এই বইটিতে Cryptography-র রোমাঞচকর ইতিহাস , বিকাশের রাজনীতিক পটভূমি ছাড়াও এর গাণি ...more

I had high expectations and it met them nicely. The book tells the story of ciphers and encryption through history – from what the Greek and the Romans did, through the Enigma, and finally to RSA. The style is very easy and pleasant to read, everything is pretty understandable even if you don't ...more

Mar 20, 2011
Eric_W
rated it
it was amazing
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
current-affairs,
spies

Singh, author of Fermat's Enigma, has even included a code to practice one's deciphering skills on. The successful cryptanalyst will win $15,000. In the appendix, he discusses other famous attempts at breaking codes, including the recent book, The Bible Code, by Michael Drosnin. This work caused quite a stir a couple of years ago when Drosnin, building really on the work of several Hebrew scholars, claimed to have discovered several prophecies hidden in the text of the Bible, a forecast of the a
...more

Maybe this is what growing up is about!

That being said, this is a very informative book about the past, present and future of cryptography. Singh takes us on a journey from ancient times where simpl ...more

If you at all feel uncomfortable in your knowledge of one time pad cyphers, public/private keys, or the importance of really good cryptography for average folks, please read this book! It's sadly a bit out of date, but Singh does such a brilliant job of methodically building up the complexity in cyphers though history, that you will inevitably learn a ton.

Sep 05, 2013
Krycek
rated it
it was amazing
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
non-fiction-history,
non-fiction-science

I was fascinated with codes and ciphers when I was a kid. I even had a "junior spy code kit" with a bunch of cool stuff and I could send little notes to friends with secret messages like "Mr. Nutzenjammer is a dork" and "Cindy eats her boogers" and we would all congratulate ourselves with our cleverness. That's all pretty juvenile, but the ciphers included in my little spy kit were the basics in modern encryption systems and you can read all about it in Simon Singh's

*The Code Book*, an excellent ...moreEnjoyably crafted and with the lay reader in mind, I think many could enjoy this ...more

My favorite part in the book was the explanation of Quantum Cryptograph ...more

I learned that once in ancient Greece somebody shaved the head of his messenger, wrote the message on his scalp, and then waited for the hair to regrow as a for ...more

Thanks for the recommendation, Ellen!

Singh delves into the story of Mary Queen of Scots and explains in an epic and intersting way about how Mary's life depended upon whether her encrypted messages were deciphered. It goes on to the key role of mathematicians in WWII par ...more

Singh takes care to also give more technical explanations for what's going on, and you can use the charts to try out some of them for yourself.

Just recently, there's the story of the "runic code" that was finally solved - and it turns out it was used mostly for fun (with one of the translated messages saying, simply, "Kiss me"). S ...more

The best part about this book is its accessibility. You don't need to be a mathematician to follow how codes were developed and broken. I was riveted by the development of cryptogra ...more

Jun 25, 2011
Jeffrey
rated it
really liked it
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
history-military,
technology

Skillfully written and engaging history of the 2000+ year old struggle between the people who try to make messages secret and the people who try to decipher them. Singh is brilliant at creating detailed examples phrased for the general reader to demystify the math behind most modern cryptography, as well as finding historical examples of cryptography's often crucial role in world events. The only reason this book gets four stars instead of five is that it outdated... the last 10 years have seen
...more

A well crafted and accessible book that portrays some of the highlights of history on Cryptography and the need for secure communications. From early history to the near future, the battles between codemakers and code-breakers are hidden from sight but they're the cornerstone of any revolution and essential to commerce and wars.

Now more than ever, the concept of Privacy is defined by our understanding ...more

Oct 12, 2015
Elyse
rated it
really liked it
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
non-fiction,
science

Can't say I followed everything in this book but I comprehended enough to enjoy it immensely. The secret codes used in early Western History (substitution and frequency codes) are easy to understand i.e. Mary Queen of Scots secret messages were fairly simple and it's a wonder she wasn't beheaded earlier. The Enigma machine and quantum cryptography made me dizzy. The author includes "fun exercises" in the back of his book. I skipped them. My brain is too out of shape. I mainly read this for the h
...more

Mar 10, 2015
Vishwanath Saragadam
rated it
it was amazing
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
non-fiction

The book takes the reader from something as simple as the mono alphabet substitution cipher to making him/her relatively comfortable with understanding quantum cryptography. What is interesting is that the author has not intimidated the reader with jargon and technicalities, but has kept the book true to its name, popular science. A must read for everyone, especially to understand what it means to live in the information age and why cryptography is the daily bread of our communication systems.

topics | posts | views | last activity | |
---|---|---|---|---|

Interesting book | 3 | 33 | Jan 25, 2015 06:08AM | |

an eye-opener... | 3 | 64 | Sep 06, 2011 08:25PM |

## Goodreads is hiring!

Simon Lehna Singh, MBE (born 1 January 1964) is a British author who has specialised in writing about mathematical and scientific topics in an accessible manner. He is the maiden winner of the Lilavati Award.

His written works include Fermat's Last Theorem (in the United States titled Fermat's Enigma: The Epic Quest to Solve the World's Greatest Mathematical Problem), The Code Book (about cryptogra ...more

More about Simon Singh...
His written works include Fermat's Last Theorem (in the United States titled Fermat's Enigma: The Epic Quest to Solve the World's Greatest Mathematical Problem), The Code Book (about cryptogra ...more

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“if N is large enough, it is virtually impossible to deduce p and q from N, and this is perhaps the most beautiful and elegant aspect of the RSA asymmetric cipher.”
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“if a message protected by quantum cryptography were ever to be deciphered, it would mean that quantum theory is flawed,”
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