Thursday, December 08, 2005

Book review: The Code Book and Pompeii The Last Day

Seeing it on the desk of my mate, I was tempted to buy this book almost the same instant! Coincidently I was planning to visit Crosswords the same day for they had organized a sale.

The title itself '
The Code Book: The Secret History of Codes and Code Breaking' was enough to entice me into buying it. I didn't think twice. This book beautifully explains the secret art of en-coding a message and de-coding it: termed as Cryptography.

People love secrets. Ever since the first word was written, humans have sent coded messages to each other. This obsession with secrecy has had dramatic effects on the outcome of wars, monarchies and individual lives. In
The Code Book, Simon Singh, offers a peek into the world of cryptography and codes, from ancient texts through computer encryption.

Singh's compelling history is woven through with stories of how codes and ciphers have played a vital role in warfare, politics, and royal intrigue. The major theme of
The Code Book is "the ongoing evolutionary battle between codemakers and codebreakers," never more clear than in the chapters devoted to World War II.

He beautifully traces through the history from military espionage in ancient times to modern computer ciphers. The book is written well. Technically precise and using as many daily-life examples as necessary to explain necessary concepts.

Thats not all... better's on its way...
The last chapter that talks about Quantum Computing & Cryptography is most interesting, inlcined towards technical readers.

He describes to want extent government/military can go to proctect new cryptographic methods devised by stalwarts, and alas never got the recognition in their life times.
Did you know that ENIAC was *not* the forerunner of modern computers?
Did you know that RSA Public Key method of cryptrography (most secure means of communicating as of today) was NOT the first asymmetric key encryption system?
I bet you didn't! Then grab this book and feast yourself!

The Code Book is a real treat for those wishing to understand how the human need for privacy has manifested itself through cryptography.

Also saw an interesting documentary 'Pompeii: The Last Day'
Dating AD 79, an amazing short documentary on how Mount Vesuvius erupted with horrifying force, destroying the prosperous Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.
Forever engraving Mother Nature's message, once again:
Don't Mess with me!

1 comment:

Sheetal said...

looks like should buy my copy soon :) good review :)