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The Codebreakers: The Comprehensive History of Secret Communication from Ancient Times to the Internet Hardcover – 7 Oct 1997

4.3 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 1200 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; 2Rev Ed edition (7 Oct. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684831309
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684831305
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 6.6 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 383,265 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

The Washington Post Kahn has produced a tour de force...The volume is an anthology of a hundred detective stories, one more ingenious than the last, and all real, central to the fate of armies and kingdoms....Magnificent.

The Christian Science Monitor A literary blockbuster...for many evening of gripping reading, no better choice can be made than this book.

Time Perhaps the best and most complete account of cryptography yet published.

The New York Times Book Review A notable achievement...Mr. Kahn has presented the specialist and the general public with a lavishly comprehensive introduction to a subject of basic significance for both.

Prepublication National Security Agency Evaluation, now declassified The book in its entirelty constitutes the most publicly revealing picture that has ever been presented of U.S. Sigint activities and the agencies engaged in this field.

From the Back Cover

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.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The 1967 edition of this book is and always will be a classic. What a disappointment to find that this new edition offers such a poor updating of new information which has come to light over the last the 30 years. If the revelations of the 1970s about the Enigma decrypts and the Bletchley Colossus machines did not warrant at least a major chapter, what does? (They get only brief treatment in the new 15 page addendum.) Numerous other omissions come to mind. This book deserved better for its new edition.
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Format: Hardcover
David Kahn's newest book updates his previous work, which sits on every Cryptographer's, Cryptanalyst's, and government Special Intelligence officer's bookshelf in the entire world. If you REALLY want to how ciphers, codes, and systems are broken, Kahn is the author who tells you. Any person knowledgable in the field of Cryptology or Intelligence will tell you that Kahn' book has never been equalled. It is known as "The Bible of Cryptology" within the field.
From early Sparta and Rome to the present day, the strengths and weaknesses of systems and devices are presented in clear, concise terms -- occassionally with a bit of levity, where appropriate. Novices in the field will find much useful -- and highly interesting -- information. Professionals always find reminders of the fallability of "unbreakable" systems.
Kahn's writing style is clear, concise, and analytical. It is never boring.
I was employed by a maker of Cryptographic equipment, and was authorized to discuss key generator and cipher system issues with the heads of national governments. A copy of "Codebreakers" was our most requested -- and welcomed gift. That speaks more eloquently than any words I might craft.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is not fiction. It is fact and covers secret codes through the ages. It is fascinating to read and covers the full history of codes.

I am concerned about internet security and read all the methods of secret codes and code breaking to ensure that I retain secure transactions.

There are a lot of pages to read (over 1,000) so it will take a while to digest it all.

Excellent value for money.
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Format: Hardcover
It is big, sometimes it is boring, and it has a lot of details sometimes you don't want to know. Just skip those pages...
But, it narrates in a great language ALL the history of cryptography through the centuries.
Everybody involved in cryptography, information security etc, must read it.
Great stories of closed doors, princes, kings and recognizable names of the history.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A good overview of the history of cryptography, but it could be more detailed while being an easy reading for anyone without knowledge of the field.
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