Mysterious Messages: A History of Codes and Ciphers

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9780525479604: Mysterious Messages: A History of Codes and Ciphers

History?s amazing secrets and codes?and how to crack them yourself.

This fascinating look at history?s most mysterious messages is packed with puzzles to decode and ciphers that kids can use themselves. Here are the encrypted notes of Spartan warriors, the brilliant code-crackers of Elizabeth I, secret messages of the American Revolution, spy books of the Civil War, the famous Enigma Machine, and the Navajo code talkers. As computers change the way we communicate, codes today are more intriguing than ever.

From invisible ink to the CIA, this exciting trip through history is a hands-on, interactive experience? so get cracking!

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About the Author:

Gary L. Blackwood sold his first story when he was nineteen, and has been writing and publishing stories, articles, plays, novels, and nonfiction books regularly ever since. His stage plays have won awards and been produced in university and regional theatre. Nonfiction subjects he's covered include biography, history, and paranormal phenomena. His juvenile novels, which include WILD TIMOTHY, THE DYING SUN, and THE SHAKESPEARE STEALER, are set in a wide range of times and places, from Elizabethan England to a parallel universe. Several have received special recognition and been translated into other languages. He and his wife and kids live outside Carthage, MO.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 5–8—Many books present readers with codes to crack and puzzles to solve, but this excellent narrative history of cryptography explains who developed the different systems of encryption and why—and who managed to crack the codes. Blackwood offers an accessible and often funny lesson in alternative history that features many names that readers will know (Julius Caesar, Queen Elizabeth I, and Thomas Jefferson, to name a few), as well as those who worked behind the scenes to create what they hoped were unbreakable ciphers. Wherever matters of national security were at stake, cryptography played a major role, and perhaps the most interesting lesson is that many landmark events would have turned out differently had it not been for cryptographers working on both sides to create and break the other side's secret messages. Blackwood provides challenging examples of each type of cipher for readers to try. The book's clever and appealing format, designed to look like a secret notebook of torn pages, photographs, and sketches taped to the pages, complements the subject perfectly. This is an excellent accompaniment to fiction series like Nancy Springer's "Enola Holmes" books (Philomel), which make use of many of the codes and ciphers Blackwood mentions.—Rebecca Donnelly, Loma Colorado Public Library, Rio Rancho, NM
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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