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

This is a history book which at the same time teaches you how to break ciphers by explaining their mechanics and how they were used and when. The explanations are something anyone can follow and repeat. Not only that makes this book one of my favorite reads for a long time, but the book history parts are so well-written that I got swept away. I could see how Victorians wrote ciphers on their local newspaper columns to exchange lover’s messages or how tiresomely mathematicians and others with special abilities worked to crack the enigma. All of those historical events came alive in this book, even the tragic fate of Mary, Queen of Scots.

Now you might wonder for who The Code Book is for. History buffs? Cryptography enthusiasts? Those, yes, sure. But also anyone who wants to know a thing or two about the world and anyone who wishes to write and bring their imaginary worlds alive. It inspired me; I learned how to crack basic ciphers up to a point, I now understand their mechanics, even the difficult ones, and have an idea of how computer encrypting works. The fantastic thing which happened was that I instantly used what I learned in my writing. And I didn’t go in reading the book, thinking I could use this in my third book. It just happened because I understood how vital sealed messages are. How important information is, especially when others don’t know what you know and can’t find out. Repeatedly, the books I have read, and the world around me have shown that information is power. It is more important than money even when is what we often enough are after, making human existence kind of farce.

Anyway, I recommend this book to anyone. I had fun reading it. It is well written, informative, and inspirational.

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