I recently read Crypto, a book about cryptography, by Steven Levy’s of Hackers fame. If you’ve not read Hackers, it’s another one of those must-read books, especially if you’re into the whole computer movement. Hackers is a pacy, thriller-like book about the hackers, way back when they were the good folks.
But, enough about Hackers, this is about Crypto, which is about cryptography. If Stephen Levy was a fiction writer, he’d probably be a best-selling author churning out thrillers. Except that his non-fiction can be thriller-like, which is no amazing feat, if you consider a topic like crypto, which is highly technical, complex, and because of the mathematics, can be a bit on the dry side.
Not Crypto though–in Levy’s hands, the history of computer cryptography is handled masterfully. RSA, PGP, Diffie-Hellman algorithm, public keys–Levy covers all this and more and yet manages not to overwhelm you.
While I wouldn’t go so far as to compare it to Hackers, Crypto is still a book worth reading. I’m in awe of writers like Levy–it’s really hard to do what he does.