Recently I’ve actually started reading again - some novels, some non-fiction and some industry-related works. I’ve also bought a Kobo Mini to be able to read on the go, and to read digital books, which are hard to read on screen.
A while back however, I bought a second hand £0.01 copy of “Crypto: Secrecy and privacy in the new code war" by Steven Levy. It took me a while to finish, but it’s a very good introduction to the discovery and history of modern cryptography.
I was aware of some of the names in cryptography but not the history and inner workings. Math isn’t my strongest point, but this book explains in very clear language without too much prerequisite math, yet explaining well the history. As a child of the late eighties, the relative newness of cryptography and it’s use surprised me - we’ve all come to know and use cryptography in the form of SSL/HTTPS but till 2000 it was hard to export encryption.
Unfortunately since it’s an older book, some of the more modern protocols and work (since around 2000) aren’t explained - I’m going to have to find a sequel or newer work to get a better understanding of the complete cryptography sphere.
In the mean time, the whole Snowden - NSA news had blown up, uncovering the extent to which the NSA performs internet surveillance. Reading this book about cryptography also paints a picture that makes it easy to match the two stories - there may be different times, different people and different departments, yet the actions seem very similar in their nature.