REVIEW: “Codes, Ciphers and Secret Writing”, Martin Gardner

BKCOCISW.RVW   20101229

“Codes, Ciphers and Secret Writing”, Martin Gardner, 1972,
0-486-24761-9, U$4.95/C$7.50
%A   Martin Gardner
%C   31 East 2nd St., Mineola, NY  11501
%D   1972
%G   0-486-24761-9
%I   Dover Publications
%O   U$4.95/C$7.50
%O   Audience n- Tech 1 Writing 2 (see revfaq.htm for explanation)
%P   96 p.
%T   “Codes, Ciphers and Secret Writing”

This brief pamphlet outlines some of the simple permutation and substitution ciphers that have been used over time.  The emphasis is on the clever little tricks that go into making ciphers slightly harder to crack.  None of the algorithms are terribly sophisticated, and exercises are given at the end of each chapter.  Instructions are given for decrypting some of the ciphers, even if you don’t know the key.

Two additional chapters address related topics.  The first deals with various forms of secret writing, such as invisible inks, or steganographic messages.  The last chapter briefly examines the problem of creating messages that unknown people, with unknown languages, may be able to solve (such as sending messages to the stars).

None of the material is strenuous, but this may be a nice start before moving on to a work such as Gaines “Cryptanalysis” (cf. BKCRPTAN.RVW).

copyright, Robert M. Slade   2010     BKCOCISW.RVW   20101229

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