Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Book: "The Code Book" by Simon Singh (5/5 stars)

This is a history of code making and code breaking from its inception (Caesar shift cypher) to modern public key encryption and beyond (he has a section on quantum cryptography at the end).

The stories are amazing, more than interesting, and Singh has an exceptional talent in making complex concepts simple to understand.

Not only does Singh tell interesting stories, but exactly when you want it, there is a photo of the machine he's talking about, or the person making the amazing discovery or cracking a difficult code.

My absolute favorite stories in this book of exceptions stories are the story of Rejewski breaking enigma, and of Clifford Cocks inventing public key encryption.

I highly recommend this book to anyone even remotely interested in code making and code breaking.


andychilton said...

I agree, I loved this book too and will read it again in the future since it was a while ago when I did.

Also, the other book of his I enjoyed was Fermat's Last Theorem - it's a great story and also very well written.

Determinist said...

Hey Andy - how's things?

I own all of Simon Singh's books, but I haven't gotten around to them yet. They will be high up on my priority list as soon as I get through all the books that I've borrowed.

"Fermat's Last Theorem" was made into a documentary on the BBC that is excellent, and was actually written before "The Code Book". Also, I'm really looking forward to Singh's newest book, "The Big Bang", which is sitting on my shelf.