User reviews

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

"The Code Book" is a fascinating explanation of both the history of cryptography and crytpography itself. Singh covers everything from simple monoalphabetic ciphers to quantum encryption, even including a Cipher Challenge with 10 codes to be broken by the reader (most of them far from trivial, difficult enough that the first team to complete the challenge won $15,000 from Singh). Interesting parts of the book include detailed descriptions of encryption and decryption methods used in World War II, as well as an overview of the technical and political aspects of RSA, the current (and currently unbreakable) encryption that ensures security on the internet. 

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

The Code Book is a book on the History of Cryptography and Cryptanalysis by Dr. Simon Singh.
This book starts off with the simplest of Ciphers - A mono- alphabetic Substitution cipher and it ends
with the Public key cryptography - The RSA Algorithm. Some new ciphers like AES are missing.
The explanations for all the simple ciphers are excellent and the cryptanalysis of some of the ciphers are given which are also very interesting. The best part of the book is the Cracking of Enigma, at this point you really cannot put down the book. There is an interesting chapter about Quantum computing as well. Although the details about Quantum computers are very less, the chapter itself is very good.
On a whole the book has Eight chapters, starting of with the small ciphers which can be encrypted and decrypted easily with a pen and paper, till complex algorithms whose technical details are not provided as they are not in the scope of the book. The book also has thirteen Appendices, where some ciphers are explained which are not explained in the chapters and some Cryptanalysis tips are given. There is also a Cipher challenge in the book which has Ten Cipher texts which the reader can decipher if interested.
Good Things in the Book:
* Very interesting read. Along with the ciphers the history of all the ciphers and cryptanalysis of the ciphers are given, which adds to the interest in the algorithm.
* For a beginner this is a very good book as it doesn't complicate any of the ciphers and gives a easy way to understand cryptography.
* I liked the cipher challenge very much. Although I haven't decoded all the text yet, it makes you like the book more.
Not so good things in the book:
* Some more algorithms could have been included in the main book without putting them as an appendix. It would be good to have the history of more ciphers.
* More than necessary information about Pretty Good Privacy: that chapter will definitely bore you.
* Towards the end, the technical details of the ciphers are missing. I know it would have complicated the book had the technical details been given, at least putting them in a appendix would have been better.
I liked this book very much. I think anyone who has an interest in cryptography would enjoy this book very much. Try it out.

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

i love all his books. Try reading fermat's enigma if you like this.

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

One of the best books I have read. As well as being an excellent writer, Simon Singh is an excellent teacher. He can take seemingly complex concepts and break them down into its simple components to make anyone understand them.

User Review - Flag as inappropriate
Simon Singh’s The Code Book proves, once again, that he is a superlatively skilled writer on technical and scientific subjects. Thanks to his book
, I now actually understand how Enigma worked and how it was broken: likewise, the Vigenere Cipher that has been built into this site for so long. This book manages to capture both major reasons for which cryptography is so fascinating: the technical aspects, centred around the ingenuity of the methods themselves, and the historical dramas connected, from the execution of Mary Queen of Scots to the use of ULTRA intelligence during the Second World War.
Anybody who has any interest in code-making or code-breaking should read this book, unless they already know so much about the subject as to make Singh’s clear and comprehensible explanations superfluous. Even then, it may arm them with valuable tools for explaining interesting concepts to the less well initiated.
At the end of the book is a series of ten ciphers for the reader to break. Originally, there was a 15,000 prize for the first person to crack the lot. Now, they exist for the amusement of amateur cryptologists. I doubt very much I will get through all ten, but I am giving it a try. The first ciphertext is on his website and is helpfully labeled ‘Simple Monoalphabetic Substitution Cipher.’ I expect to crack it quickly.

User Review - Flag as inappropriate


Review: The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography

User Review  - Emily - Goodreads

It's a math geek-out for us humanities people. The history of cryptography is told in a series of vignettes about the geniuses who created and solved unbreakable codes. The technical explanations are ... Read full review

Review: The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography

User Review  - Heep - Goodreads

Excellent and readable book about codemaking and breaking. The chapters on recent developments in the field and critical role of crytography in modern computing, communications and commerce are truly ... Read full review

Review: The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography

User Review  - Joni - Goodreads

Singh reviews the history of cryptography since its inception to our time. He even imagines what the future might hold. The book is interesting, easily readable - I would have enjoyed if the author ... Read full review

Review: The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography

User Review  - Jarrod Green - Goodreads

Most of the book is very good. Reminded me of Timothy Ferris' "Coming of Age in the Milky Way" (which is amazing)—both good historical narrative along with the nuts and bolts of the science. All the ... Read full review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

All reviews - 17
4 stars - 11
3 stars - 0
2 stars - 0
1 star - 0

All reviews - 17
Editorial reviews - 0

All reviews - 17