Published by Fourth Estate on 2000
Genres: Computers, Cryptography, History, Mathematics, Security
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The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography From the best-selling author of Fermat's Last Theorem, The Code Book is a history of man's urge to uncover the secrets of codes, from Egyptian puzzles to modern day computer encryptions. As in Fermat's Last Theorem, Simon Singh brings life to an anstonishing story of puzzles, codes, languages and riddles that reveals man's continual pursuit to disguise and uncover, and to work out the secret languages of others. Codes have influenced events throughout history, both in the stories of those who make them and those who break them. The betrayal of Mary Queen of Scots and the cracking of the enigma code that helped the Allies in World War II are major episodes in a continuing history of cryptography. In addition to stories of intrigue and warfare, Simon Singh also investigates other codes, the unravelling of genes and the rediscovery of ancient languages and most tantalisingly, the Beale ciphers, an unbroken code that could hold the key to a USD 20 million treasure.
The Code Book traces the history of cryptography from its recorded inception in Roman times up through to the current applications as of it’s publication date circa 2000. All of the chapters held my interest and were riveting other than the, necessary, latter chapter on the the effects of encryption on US politics but it was Simon’s chapters on deciphering the Enigma code and ancient languages such as Egyptian Hieroglyphs and Linear B that I found most interesting.
Simon didn’t just discuss how different methods of encryption or encoding worked, but also used historical events to demonstrate their use and importance, adding an extra dimension to the book and making it thoroughly entertaining as well as informative.