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The Codebreakers


About the author and the book

Dr. Kahn’s love affair with codes and cryptography began as a boy. He joined the American Cryptogram Association and later the New York Cipher Society. After college, while working as a journalist, Kahn was contracted to write a book on cryptology in 1961. He began writing it part-time, at one point quitting his job to work on it full time. The book was to include information on the NSA and the agency attempted to stop its publication, and considered various options, including publishing a negative review of Kahn's work in the press to discredit him. A committee of the United States Intelligence Board concluded that the book was "a possibly valuable support to foreign COMSEC authorities" and recommended "further low-key actions as possible, but short of legal action, to discourage Mr. Kahn or his prospective publishers". Kahn's publisher handed over the manuscript to the government for review without Kahn's permission and Kahn eventually agreed to remove some material from the manuscript, particularly concerning the relationship between the NSA and its British counterpart. The Codebreakers was finally published in 1967 and was immediately a Book of the Month Club alternate selection and a History Book Club main selection. It was a nominee for the 1968 Pulitzer non-fiction prize. It has been in print ever since with translations in many languages.

This is an abridged 473-page edition of the 1000 page original book that Kahn made himself at the request of many readers.

The magnificent, unrivaled history of codes and ciphers -- how they're made, how they're broken, and the many and fascinating roles they've played since the dawn of civilization in war, business, diplomacy, and espionage



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Tags: Codebreakers, prediction, remains, unsurpassed, lived