Sheehan's Reviews > The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography

The Code Book by Simon Singh
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's review
Jul 12, 11

really liked it
Read from June 27 to July 12, 2011

In a word, "fascinating..."

I was given this book as a gift from my aunt, to whom it was recommended from a mutual friend as an accessible and interesting history of ciphers and code breakers, it was both!

Singh does a great job distilling a long history of the ongoing struggle between those who wish to keep communications secret and the minds that figure out how to unveil the secret communiques. The book is interesting to a layman such as myself, precisely because it moves through the history by focusing on secrecy and code breaking technological advances through indicative vignettes, ranging from Mary Queen of Scots to the Zimmerman letter of WWI and beyond. While I was not personally invested in the epilogue, Singh does provide a workbook of sorts to allow readers to attempt to decrypt (solve) example ciphers to apply lessons provided in the text; which is a cool idea, especially if I had the time/inclination.

It has been a great aside from my normal self-selected texts, and certainly piqued my interest in some of the more secret service oriented maneuvers of WWII and the years that followed in Europe, so all in all a real winner!
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Reading Progress

07/01/2011 page 78
18.0% "Shockingly interesting investigation of a subject I would have never thought to read was a gift."

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