Dr Carol Marsh

Cracking Codes by Diana Kimpton ISBN: 0-439-96288-9
This is a children’s book, which provides a very good introduction to cryptography and coding. It was fun to read and contains several puzzles to practice code breaking

Codes, Ciphers & Secret Writing by Martin Gardner ISBN: 0-486-24761-9

This is a well written book which is very easy to read. It provides a good introduction to simple transposition and substitution ciphers, machines used to produce ciphers and methods of sending ciphers. It even provides information on how to make your own cipher machines. The book contains riddles to be solved, unfortunately there are no answers to the riddles. There is an excellent further reading section.


The Code Book – The Secret History of Codes and Code-Breaking by Simon Singh  ISBN: 1-85702-889-9
This book was recommended to me by several people and after reading it, I would also recommend it. It is a brilliant introduction to cryptography.  What I like most about this book, is that Simon introduces the people who cracked the codes. He gives you their background, how they cracked the codes and how they died. The worrying thing is that most of them died young. This is a must read.
A copy of the  book is available free of charge from Simon Singh's website.

The Cracking Codebook by Simon Singh ISBN: 0-00-717604-X
This is based on “The Code Book” and it basically takes sections of “The Code Book” and expands the stories.  
Again well worth reading
Cryptography - The Science of Secret Writing by Laurence Dwight Smith ISBN: 0-486-20247-X
This book was written in 1943 by an American so most of the information is with regards to the US Army during WW2, when cryptography as we know it was in its infancy. The book concentrates on ciphers and in fact the only mention of codes is in Chapter 5 which provides a summary of codes versus ciphers. The book explains transposition and substitution ciphers and provides worked examples as well as many deciphering examples with solutions. This book is important because it provides a word frequency table and several other books reference it for that reason.
Overall it provides a very clear introduction to cryptography


Cryptography, A Very Short Introduction by Fred Piper and Sean Murphy ISBN: 0-19-280315-8
I have mixed feelings about this book. Some chapters are very good and explained well, including the chapter on modern algorithms. However, in other chapters there is a lot of repetition with brief explanations. I have read other reviews on this book and they all think it provides a good introduction to cryptography with no background in cryptography required, but it’s not a book I would recommend to someone starting out in cryptography.


Station X – The Codebreakers of Bletchley Park by Michael Smith ISBN: 0-7522-7148-2
This book is written in the style of a documentary with comments from people who worked at Bletchley Park. It provides a valuable account of the work performed at Bletchley Park and the people involved. This is a must read.



The Broken Seal by Ladislas Farago ISBN: 114466
This book provides a detailed account of the events leading up to Pearl Harbour. Ladislas tells the story from the point of view of the Americans and the Japanese and answers the question could the attack on Pearl Harbour have been avoided. It is a difficult book to read as there is so much detail, but it provides a unique and complete picture of the attack on Pearl Harbour.

The Victorian Internet by Tom Standage ISBN: 0-425-17169-8
This is an excellent book about the development, life and demise of the telegraph. Tom provides parallels between the telegraph and the modern day internet and a fascinating insight into how the telegraph changed the world forever.


Enigma by Robert Harris ISBN: 0-090999299-0
book has also been made into a film starring Dougray Scott and Kate Winslet.
I initially seen the film and was disappointed. I was expecting it to be about the breaking of Enigma but the film was too romantic and concentrated on the love affair of one of the code breakers.
I found the book at a jumble sale for £1 so I thought I would take the risk and read it. The book is much better. Robert clearly states that this is a fictitious book based on the real events that happened at Bletchley Park. If you keep this in mind and read it for relaxation rather than for information on cryptography, then it is a most enjoyable read.


Fermat's Last Theorem by Simon Singh ISBN: 1-84115-791-0
After reading Simon Singh's cryptography books I wanted to read his other books. I started with this one. The book is about the history of mathematics and in particular Fermat’s Last Theorem, the mathematicians who have tried to prove the Theorem and about Andrew Wiles who eventually did prove the Theorem in 1994.
Simon has taken a very difficult subject and explained it in a way that everyone can understand. Again he has a unique method of bringing the characters alive and explaining the history of numbers and mathematics.