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Cryptanalysis: A Study of Ciphers and Their Solution Paperback – April 1, 1989


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Cryptanalysis: A Study of Ciphers and Their Solution + The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography + Cryptography: The Science of Secret Writing
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (April 1, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486200973
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486200972
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #73,205 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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See all 22 customer reviews
Very easy on required math knowledge (unlike many of more recent books!)
Patrick L. Reeder
I bought this book after becoming interested in cryptanalysis from reading The Code Book By Simon Singh.
Game Geek
Book is tough to read and if you are not really interested you will put it back after the 5th page.
Ioannis P. Kalogiannis

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Game Geek on April 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
I bought this book after becoming interested in cryptanalysis from reading The Code Book By Simon Singh. Wow! This book is chock full of information considering its age. Not only does it give great analyses of classical ciphers, it has loads of useful information about various languages in the appendix. This data is indispensable when trying to crack a cipher. Loads of solved exercises complete a very enjoyable book that will suck many hours of your time if you're interested in cryptography at all.
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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Robert C. Landrum on October 29, 2003
Format: Paperback
As a former codebreaker with the ASA/NSA during the VN war, I often found it helpful to have a copy of Helen's book handy, and spent many enjoyable hours solving the sample ciphers provided. This valuable book not only describes many historically significant encipherment methods, but also goes into detail about how to break them. Afficianados of manual ciphers might also wish to contact others with similar interests and can do so through the American Cryptogram Association at [...]
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Patrick L. Reeder on November 15, 1997
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Simply the best manual for learning basic cryptanalysis of classical ciphers. Very easy on required math knowledge (unlike many of more recent books!) If you really want to learn a working knowledge of ciphers and cryptanalysis this is the book!
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49 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Victor A. Vyssotsky on December 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
When Helen Gaines wrote this book in 1939 (and, by the way, she titled it "Elementary Cryptanalysis", not just "Cryptanalysis", it was by far the best unclassified introduction to cryptology written in English (perhaps even in any language). It is still an admirable book for anyone who wants to start learning cryptology without help; the large number of carefully worked examples and exercises make it excellent for "do it yourself." And for those who intend to make a serious study of modern cryptology, this book is still a useful assist, in the same sense that a vivid and comprehensive memory of high school algebra helps a lot when one tries to learn calculus and differential equations.
However, crytology in 2001 is as different from cryptology in 1939 as a Virginia-class submarine is from a pre-WW II sub. So, if it were me, I would start learning from Alan Konheim's book, using Gaines' book as a supplementary text for clarification and examples. Konheim's book requires one to know or learn a certain amount of math that Gaines doesn't require, but since about 1960 it has become very hard to grasp (let alone use) modern crytographic methods without at least as much math as Konheim uses, so one might just as well bite the bullet and learn it.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Cliff Alexander on August 4, 2003
Format: Paperback
I bought this book over 40 years ago... It is, by far, the best book for pen-and-pencil cryptogram solving that I have found. It gives sufficient information to allow attacking any pen-and-pencil cryptogram. If it is followed by Bauer's "Decrypted Secrets," one would have a very thorough introduction to methods of solutions (Bauer is quite mathematical, but also recommended to the mathematically inclined). An excellent introduction with a great deal of useful information that is probably the best available source for pre-computer techniques.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 13, 2004
Format: Paperback
This appears to be a reprint of the little book by the same title that utterly consumed me, probably for hundreds of hours, in the 1970's. It was old then, and looks even older now. And yet, pushing letters around on a page is timeless. It's laughably low-tech and yet, utterly modern, all at the same time. Some of the tricks and techniques described are so profound and clever, they are reminiscent of calculus in how they demonstrate the power of the well-applied human mind. This book can be an absorbing hobby all by itself. Plus when I found a coded note written by some girls in my junior high school, I was able to read it...
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By H. Paul Greenough on July 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
A great way to get started in classical cryptology. If you want to go further and learn something about cryptology today, I'd suggest Applied Cryptology by Bruce Schneier, rather than the Konheim book, which is really heavy duty mathematics.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By David K. vun Kannon on December 10, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A good book that reviews methods for pen-and-paper solution of simple substitution and transposition ciphers. Dating from before World War II, the main interest here is historical. Nevertheless, it is quite well written and enjoyable, with many examples to solve (most solutions included, but there are a few unsolved ciphertexts).
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