Babson admits in his introduction that experts who would call these codes ciphers are ""technically right,"" but he hopes his book will be ""as nontechnical as it can be."" In that spirit he doesn't always explain the why's of his examples, though a special chapter, ""Tips for Code Breakers,"" offers some helpful general analysis. The introduction also describes these codes as ""lively"" and what follows does a good job of backing up the claim--though Babson doesn't try to compete with the Sarnoffs (1975) for extraneous zap, and this generally offers more challenge to the beginning cryptographer who's not quite ready for Gardner (1972). Babson's style too is lively--occasionally a bit too cute, but his historical anecdotes read well. And though, typically, he omits the more complicated Lewis Carroll code that many such books end with, he introduces some nifty new ones--such as the Swiss Cheese 'Grill, a ""corker"" invented by ""a scout in my troop,"" and an 1876 Democratic scandal he calls ""the dirty trick code."" Some goodly tricks here; they'll stand up to the competition.