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The Emperor's Codes: The Breaking of Japan's…

The Emperor's Codes: The Breaking of Japan's Secret Ciphers (2000)

by Michael Smith

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236375,721 (3.66)1
In this gripping, previously untold story from World War II, Michael Smith examines how a group of eccentric codebreakers cracked Japan's secret codes and turned the tide of the war in the Pacific. Drawing upon recently declassified British files, privileged access to Australian secret official histories, and interviews with many of the men involved, The Emperor's Codes takes the reader step-by-step through the codebreaking process, explaining exactly how the codebreakers went about their daunting task-made even more difficult by the vast linguistic differences between Japanese and English. It details the grueling work and almost unfathomable dedication demonstrated by these relatively unsung heroes, without whose extraordinary exploits the outcome of World War II might have been very different.… (more)

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The Americans, English, Australians, and the Canadian codebreakers helped turn the tide in WWII in the Pacific against the Japanese. ( )
  terrygraap | Feb 23, 2015 |
A good overview of the struggle to gain information behind the Japanese Empire approaching and during World War II. The book is filled with personal accounts which make it very personal. Thinking the Pacific War was mostly an American endeavor I learned more about the front in southeast Asia than I had ever been taught. The book does seem to follow a repetitive pattern which can be tedious; move, gather intelligence, crack a code (or almost), codes change, move or start all over. O, and bicker with the Americans.

The repetitive nature of the story is probably has more to do with the nature of the material; code cracking is a boring and repetitive task with lots of work for, what is often, very little. And cryptography uses abstract mathematical concepts most are quite without the background to understand. So those who know cryptography will probably be disappointed in the lack of detail, what detail does exists frustrates the rest. For the difficulty of the material I probably dock a star.

All in all I enjoyed the overview of the Pacific theater of the war and learning more about all the effort which was put into intelligence to bring it to a close. ( )
  tillywern | Feb 16, 2013 |
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I believe most experienced cryptanalysts would agree with me that cryptanalysis is much closer to art than to science, and this is what makes the personal factor so important.

- John Tiltman, chief cryptographer at Bletchley Park, 1940 - 1945
For Ben, Kirsty, Louise, Leila and Levin
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The extraordinary achievements of the British codebreakers based at Bletchley Park in cracking Nazi Germany's 'unbreakable' Enigma cipher are now widely known.
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