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In his first book since the bestselling Fermat's Enigma, Simon Singh offers the first sweeping history of encryption, tracing its evolution and revealing the dramatic effects codes have had on wars, nations, and individual lives. From Mary, Queen of Scots, trapped by her own code, to the Navajo Code Talkers who helped the Allies win World War II, to the incredible (and incredibly simple) logisitical breakthrough that made Internet commerce secure, The Code Book tells the story of codes with clear technical and mathematical explanations. Singh also portrays the remarkable personalities who wrote and broke the world's most difficult codes.
Accessible, compelling, and remarkably far-reaching, this book will forever alter your view of history and what drives it. It will also make you wonder how private that e-mail you just sent really is.
"Singh pursues the fascinating story [of codes] through the centuries, always providing plenty of detailed examples of ciphers for those who appreciate the intricacies of the medium." —Los Angeles Times
"It would be hard to imagine a clearer or more fascinating presentation. . . . Mr. Singh gives cryptography not only its historical dimension but its human one." —The New York Times
"Entertaining and satisfying. . . . Offers a fascinating glimpse into the mostly secret competition between codemakers and codebreakers." —USA Today
"An absorbing tale of codemaking and codebreaking over the centuries." —Scientific American
"Enthralling. . . . Commendably lucid. . . . [Singh's] book provides a timely and entertaining summary of the subject." —The Economist