MYSTERIOUS MESSAGES by Gary Blackwood

MYSTERIOUS MESSAGES

Age Range: 11 - 16

KIRKUS REVIEW

Writing with the same animation that infuses his other accounts of historical enigmas and events (Perplexing People, 2006, etc.), Blackwood plunges into the history of codes and ciphers, cryptograms, nomenclators and steganography. In chapters with headers like “Babington, Beer, and Baconian Biliteralism,” he traces many of the ways—from simple to brain-bendingly complicated—that messages have been concealed, from the earliest surviving example (a formula for pottery glaze coded in cuneiform and estimated to date from 1500 BCE) to today’s “public key” cryptography. Along with plenty of photos or images of important code makers and breakers, he supplies (relatively) easy-to-use sidebar examples, charts and instructions for several systems. Readers with Something To Hide will come away from this engaging companion to the even more hands-on likes of Paul Janeczko’s Top Secret: A Handbook of Codes, Ciphers and Secret Writing (2004) with not only some new tools, but a great appreciation for the central role codes and ciphers have played in wars and diplomacy through the years. (Nonfiction. 11-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-525-47960-4
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2009




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