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 astonishing 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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"A fascinating meander through the centuries; replete with tales of intrigue, political chicanery, military secrecy and academic rivalry."
"Any book on cryptography written for a more-or-less lay audience must inevitably face comparisons to The Code Book by Simon Singh, the king of distilling complex subjects to a few hundred pages of understandable writing. [...] Singh’s book is a pretty thorough history of codes and codebreaking through the centuries with plenty of the maths thrown in"
Paul Taylor, The Aperiodical