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The codebreakers; the story of secret…

The codebreakers; the story of secret writing (original 1967; edition 1967)

by David (1930-) Kahn

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9921214,253 (4.19)13
The magnificent, unrivaled history of codes and ciphers--how they're made, how they're broken, and the many and fascinating roles they've played since the dawn of civilization in war, business, diplomacy, and espionage--updated with a new chapter on computer cryptography and the Ultra secret. Man has created codes to keep secrets and has broken codes to learn those secrets since the time of the Pharaohs. For 4,000 years, fierce battles have been waged between codemakers and codebreakers, and the story of these battles is civilization's secret history, the hidden account of how wars were won and lost, diplomatic intrigues foiled, business secrets stolen, governments ruined, computers hacked. From the XYZ Affair to the Dreyfus Affair, from the Gallic War to the Persian Gulf, from Druidic runes and the kaballah to outer space, from the Zimmermann telegram to Enigma to the Manhattan Project, codebreaking has shaped the course of human events to an extent beyond any easy reckoning. Once a government monopoly, cryptology today touches everybody. It secures the Internet, keeps e-mail private, maintains the integrity of cash machine transactions, and scrambles TV signals on unpaid-for channels. David Kahn's The Codebreakers takes the measure of what codes and codebreaking have meant in human history in a single comprehensive account, astonishing in its scope and enthralling in its execution. Hailed upon first publication as a book likely to become the definitive work of its kind, The Codebreakers has more than lived up to that prediction: it remains unsurpassed. With a brilliant new chapter that makes use of previously classified documents to bring the book thoroughly up to date, and to explore the myriad ways computer codes and their hackers are changing all of our lives, The Codebreakers is the skeleton key to a thousand thrilling true stories of intrigue, mystery, and adventure. It is a masterpiece of the historian's art.… (more)
Title:The codebreakers; the story of secret writing
Authors:David (1930-) Kahn
Info:New York, Macmillan (1967), Hardcover
Collections:Your library

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The Codebreakers: The Comprehensive History of Secret Communication from Ancient Times to the Internet by David Kahn (1967)


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A very comprehensive history of hidden writing, codes, ciphers and other such things. It goes pretty well into depth with how it describes ancient codes and ciphers, how new ones were made and how they were then broken.

It doesn't cover internet security or anything, since this edition of this book was published in 1967. So it is still in the midst of the Cold War. Interestingly, most code breaking was done by linguists and language experts, but that eventually turned into mathematicians.

It doesn't talk about Alan Turing, since at the time of this book being published, it was classified, or at least I think it was.

Anyway, a wonderful tome on how people tried to keep their messages secret. ( )
  Floyd3345 | Jun 15, 2019 |
Magisterial history of codes and ciphers. Comprehensive, detailed, and based on research of a depth seldom seen outside of dissertations. Citations from the technical and historical literature in a number of languages, from extremely obscure periodicals, newspapers and journals, and much original archival work impress the reader with the seriousness of this venture. Kahn has a gift for treating complicated technical matters with astonishing clarity without giving the feeling of writing down to a non-professional audience. He is especially strong on military and espionage matters, and in these chapters use a style somewhat indebted to the rhetoric of the thriller, and only occasionally does his prose become clichéd or purple. Although this is ostensively a second edition, he leaves much of the original material unchanged, so that attitudes very rooted in the 1960s will seem strange when couple with the 1996 copyright of this version. The one very weak chapter is on the NSA, which is largely speculative and strongly reflects the level of information available in the 60s. All in all, a magnificent and entertaining achievement. ( )
  sjnorquist | Apr 17, 2014 |
Probably the definitive history on codes, codebreaking, and it's increasingly important role in shaping military history. It's comprehensive scope ranges from the ancient world to the public-key era, with special attention paid to the postal system of Vienna, the triumphs and failures of signal intelligence during the World Wars, and recently-declassified information about the early Cold War. ( )
  CBrachyrhynchos | Feb 4, 2014 |
A great in-depth work on codes and cryptography. ( )
  MsMixte | Nov 26, 2012 |
The Codebreakers: The Comprehensive History of Secret Communication from Ancient Times to the Internet

Historian of intelligence Enigma to the cryptosystems that make e-commerce offering the best fitting magnificent, unrivaled history of codes and ciphers you can reader through the history of cryptography to the present day played since the earliest period of civilization in war, business, diplomacy, and espionage transactions have put a spotlight on the intersection the Internet erasing national borders,now have lots more time to,completely controls set by Internet engineers,generally control your internet sense of concern with and curiosity a new chapter on computer cryptography,gripped the minds of so many intelligent men and broken codes to learn those secrets since the time of the Pharaohs with journalist and writer codes to learn diplomatic intrigues foiled,business secrets stolen, governments,to outer space to the magnificent, unrivaled history of codes and the story of these battles is civilization's secret history ( )
  tonynetone | Aug 14, 2011 |
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At 1:28 on the morning of December 7, 1941, the big ear of the Navy's radio station on Bainbridge Island near Seattle trembled to vibrations in the ether.
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