The Code Book: The Secret History of Codes and Code-breaking

The Code Book: The Secret History of Codes and Code-breaking

Paperback

By (author) Simon Singh

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  • Publisher: FOURTH ESTATE LTD
  • Format: Paperback | 416 pages
  • Dimensions: 126mm x 196mm x 28mm | 299g
  • Publication date: 1 July 2000
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1857028899
  • ISBN 13: 9781857028898
  • Illustrations note: Mit Abb.
  • Sales rank: 6,440

Product description

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 $20 million treasure.

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Author information

Simon Singh is a science journalist and TV producer. Having completed his PhD at Cambridge he worked from 1991 to 1997 at the BBC producing Tomorrow's World and co-directing the BAFTA award-winning documentary Fermat's Last Theorem for the Horizon series. In 1997, he published Fermat's Last Theorem, which was a best-seller in Britain and translated into 22 languages.

Review quote

'A fascinating meander through the centuries; replete with tales of intrigue, political chicanery, military secrecy and academic rivalry.' The Times

Editorial reviews

Secret writing has been altering the course of history for thousands of years - from ancient Chinese messages written on silk, wrapped up, covered in wax and swallowed by the courier to today's quest for the ultimate, unbreakable code. Likening codes to bacteria and codebreakers to antibiotics, the author of the acclaimed Fermat's Last Theorem examines what he describes as the 'evolution' of cryptography. This isn't a definitive history, rather Singh adopts an absorbing magpie approach, using snippets of history to illustrate his points, interspersed with examples of cryptanalysis. With information as valuable as ever, and ever easier to intercept and abuse, he makes a plea for the continuing importance of codes as a way of protecting our privacy. (Kirkus UK)