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Code Book the Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography

by Simon Singh

  • ISBN: 9780385495325
  • ISBN10: 0385495323

Code Book the Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography

by Simon Singh

  • List Price: $17.00
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Random House Inc
  • Publish date: 08/01/2000
  • ISBN: 9780385495325
  • ISBN10: 0385495323
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Description: Codes have decided the fates of empires, countries, and monarchies throughout recorded history. Practically since humans began writing, they have been writing in code. This quest for secrecy has often directed the course of history, yet until now no book has traced the evolution of its methods. In "The Code Book", Simon Singh offers a sweeping view of the subject of encryption, revealing its contributions to linguistics and computation as well as its more dramatic effects on the outcome of wars and individual lives.

Included in this fascinating book is the tragic story of Mary, Queen of Scots, trapped by her own code and put to death by Queen Elizabeth. Also recounted is the history of the Beale Ciphers, created in the early nineteenth century to obscure the location of a treasure in gold, buried somewhere in Virginia. The creator of the ciphers disappeared, taking the key with him, and the mystery plagues code breakers to this day. Singh also traces the monumental improvements in code making and breaking brought on by the World Wars, the outcomes of which could have been very different without the Allied code breakers. Woven throughout are clear mathematical, linguistic, and technological demonstrations, as well as illustrations of the remarkable personalities, many courageous, some villainous, and all obsessive, who wrote and broke these difficult codes.

All roads lead to the present day in which the possibility of a truly unbreakable code looms large. Singh explores this possibility, and the ramifications of our increasing need for privacy, even as it begins to chafe against the stated mission of the powerful and deeply secretive National Security Agency. Dramatic, compelling,and remarkably far reaching, this is a book that will forever alter your view of history, what drives it, and how private that E-mail you just sent really is.

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