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A brilliant book and highly recommended, not only if you are interested in cryptography and mathematics, but also if you are interested in history and literature. This is a history of cryptography and cryptanalysis, with only a very limited amount of mathematics and technicality. In places some mental effort is still required, but it is certainly worth it.
Kahn discusses codes from roughly 1900 BC to the date of publication, which was 1967 for the original publication. Hence a discussion of most modern cryptography is not included. Otherwise it is a wide-ranging history of codes and ciphers, which is not as dry as you might expected it to be, as Kahn is not only a witty and ingenious writer, but also one with attention for the people who feature in his story.
And it is a fascinating story, in which the players are not just the expected soldiers and diplomats, but also businessmen trying to reduce telegraph costs, bootleggers trying to smuggle alcohol, and eccentrics trying to find codes in the works of Shakespeare. If you think there couldn't possibly be a connection between those worlds, think again.
 

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The Code Breakers by David Kahn. What else can I say that others haven't said. The is 'the' book for all who are interested in this fascinating subject, if it isn't in your collection, it should be. David Kahn has put together a book that I just can't put down even after a dozen years of reading it, having it close by for a quick chapter, I just never tire of learning history from it. He covers from ancient times to the present, discussing the heroes and villans that developed and used this 'black art'. The history of Codebreaking is laid out in an easy to read format that everyone can enjoy and even try out some of the methods used.  

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