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Codebreaker: The History of Codes and Ciphers Hardcover – October 3, 2006

4.1 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Stephen Pincock is a news editor for The Scientist magazine, and a science columnist for the Financial Times magazine. A trained biochemist and science journalist, Pincock has long had a fascination for deciphering codes and for the history of espionage. He has written widely about the history and development of cryptology, technology, and science.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Walker Books; First Hardcover Edition edition (October 3, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802715478
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802715470
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #457,080 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful piece of work, well written, documented, illustrated and is aimed at the general reader. The author includes code analysis sections for each code that is discussed, where each code is explained in detail so that the reader is able to try the code themselves. The author also further challenges the reader with an appendix full of codes for the reader to crack with their newly acquired skills.
There are sections throughout the book where the reader is introduced to the important people relating to specific codes, as well as many sections about codes that are still unbroken.
The author chronicles all the important codes and their impact upon history from way back in ancient Egypt as well as Caesar's code, all the way through to the future of codes; quantum cryptography, and everything in between.

This is a superb book in every manner, and a thoroughly enjoyable read.
Five stars.
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By Jake on November 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book is a good overview of codebreaking for non-technical people. It discusses many different types of ciphers throughout history in a very easy to understand way. I enjoyed it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I reflect all the positive things said about this book, so I'll only focus on the negative aspects, to which there's only one, and it has nothing to do with the book. As mentioned earlier, there are challenge exercises in the appendix. The appendix says that if you get stumped, you can go to the publisher's website to get the solutions. I made it through the first 3 with no problems, but when it came to the fourth, I have no clue how to solve it. So I go to the website and look up the solution in some vane attempt to see how the solution is derrived without actually seeing the solution so I can still come up with it myself, but unlike the three before it, where the site goes into detail about how they're solved, the site only gives the solution for the fourth and offers no walkthrough of the puzzle whatsoever. Thanks, guys!
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Format: Hardcover
This book has a very interesting subject (cryptography and cryptanalysis)and does a fair job of describing its historical development. However, it is more flash than substance. The pages are slick but the text is dry and terse, especially in the early chapters. I kept hoping for more substance not in the sense of a textbook but of a biography. Very disappointed. Would recommend only to those who have minimal knowledge of codes and cyphers.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had a lot of fun reading this book. If you like history and seeing how clever men found ways to get secret messages past enemy eyes, you'll enjoy reading this. One of the first things people think when they read bout cryptography is that its going to be a math book but its not. It explains how the codes work in an easy to read fashion.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Our secret agent acquired this rectangular item that appears to be constructed out of multi-layered cellulose material with black blobs commonly known as Ink.
We analyzed the patterns and discovered this item contains detailed information on how to create codes and cyphers. Foolish Earth people!
Now that we have your secrets, none of your secured transmissions will be safe from us once our interstellar invasion fleet arrives in about 30 of your Earth years.
You will be conquered and turned into yummy space food delicacies.
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Format: Hardcover
This was a good read - interesting history, nice layout, and overall easy to follow.
The challenge problems are fun.

However, I have noticed at least one mistake in the book:
p.134 "...P is 11 and Q is 17. We first multiply P and Q together, making 181."

11 times 17 = 187, not 181
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Denver library shouldn't have let this book get out. In today's fast pace society, I realize people don't sit down and read its history. We are really only a generation away from ignorance at any time, this book is a startling reminder of those in the past who used their creative skills in code making and code breaking.
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