170 of 176 people found the following review helpful
Neatly illustrates the impact of encryption on history,
This review is from: The Code Book: The Evolution of Secrecy from Mary, Queen of Scots to Quantum Cryptography (Hardcover)
Before Singh's "Code Book" came on the scene, the only other book I knew about is Kahn's "Codebreakers". I don't have the time to read such a large text as Kahn's book, so I was very pleased when this book became available.
Singh has done a very nice job of demonstrating how deep an impact cryptography has on history. He opens the book by recounting Mary Queen of Scots' conspiracy to have Queen Elizabeth murdered and how she attempted to use encryption to cloak her intentions. It was a very exciting way to open the book.
Singh has found the right combination of technical detail, historical detail, and character development.
Singh's explanation of how the German WWII Enigma functioned is exceptional. He made it very easy (and fun) to understand.
Singh's last chapter is also very neat on the subject of quantum cryptography. Though I have a BS in computer science, I'm no physics genius and Singh did a nice job of making (what I consider) difficult physics concepts easy to understand and of showing how they can be applied to modern cryptography.
Although I don't know a thing about "Fermat's last theorem", I've been so pleased with Singh's writing style that I'm considering reading that book also just to see what it is all about.
If you like codes/ciphers and want to read about their impact on history without reading a thousand pages then get this book. You'll be happy you did.