What one man can invent, another can circumvent -- a truism which, explicitly acknowledged here (with warnings that it's becoming harder), forms the motif of this history of protective and surveillance devices. In the running account of vaults from the Great Pyramid (penetrated only after four hundred years) to today's time-clocked, steel-sheathed and almost totally secure bank strongholds, of locks from the first Egyptian mechanism through the warded lock of the Middle Ages to Yale's pin-tumbler lock and Sargent's time lock, the breakers are hard on the heels of the makers; only the highly sophisticated electronic surveillance systems have so far stymied them. If you're that clever, Mr. Kraske remarks, why not turn it to good account -- but along with the detailed description of how the protectives devices work, he's provided equally detailed notes on how they can be tampered with, and the misapplication of this information would rob many older locks and safes and burglar alarms of whatever protective value they have. (The amateur perpetrator of ""the boldest bank vault job in recent years... went to the local library, read up on blasting techniques, and bought $25 worth of nitroglycerin"" when he came up against a resistant concrete floor.) Full of fascinating if precarious data -- buy at your own risk.