A Conversation for Modern Cryptography - Methods and Uses

Book recommendation

Post 1


Probably been said before, but "Between silk and cyanide" - by Leo Marks - is an brilliant read, giving insight not only into the cryptographic methods and problems in SOE during WW2, but also a good feel for the working practices and political machinations of that organisation. I read it cover to cover in no time.
Great stuff.

Book recommendation

Post 2

clzoomer- a bit woobly

The Codebreakers : The Comprehensive History of Secret Communication from Ancient Times to the Internet by David Kahn

Originally just *The Codebreakers* when I read it many decades ago. It had a huge effect on me then, especially the parts about Enigma and Pearl Harbour. A hefty tome but well worth the read, fascinating throughout.

Book recommendation

Post 3

rev. paperboy (god is an iron)

Currently reading Neal Stephenson's "Cryptonomicon" excellent novel about the enigma and indigo machines, codebreaking in WW2, current computer encryption, treasure hunting, ancient global conspiracies etc etc. A bit heavy on the mathematical side of the cyptology stuff at times but very entertaining and informative.

Book recommendation

Post 4

Smij - Formerly Jimster

Leo Marks! For years I had no idea that he was anyone special aside from being the son of the co-proprietor of the bookshop Marks & Co at 84 Charing Cross Road. When the New York author Helene Hanff [A710056] became an international success after the release of her book, '84 Charing Cross Road', about her correspondence with the shop, she became good friends with Leo and his wife. In her follow-up book, 'The Duchess of Bloomsberry Street', she describes staying with the Marks family and how Leo was a lousy driver who miraculously never had an accident. His wife was a talented portrait painter. When Helene appeared on the Wogan show in the early 1980s, Leo and his wife were in the audience and there was the briefest of shots of them waving back when Helene namechecked them.

Some years ago, I was telling someone that I was rereading Helene's books for the umpteenth time and he told me all about Leo's career as a cryptographer. Then I also learned that Leo had been a screenwriter, responsible for a film called Peeping Tom [A407729], which had been mauled by the critics and effectively ended the career of its director, Michael Powell.

Cut to 2001 and I'm researching a book about film-maker Martin Scorsese. It seems Scorsese used some of his money to clean up a print of Peeping Tom and arranged for a limited rerelease that led to the film being critically re-evaluated as a masterpiece of British Cinema. Scorsese's editor Thelma Schoonmaker married Michael Powell and Scorsese became friends with him and Leo Marks. Scorsese even cast Marks as the voice of Satan in the film The Last Temptation of Christ. (Like Hanff, Scorsese is a New Yorker. Just thought I'd throw that in there.)

Just for an excuse to speak to a man who has been friends with two of my cultural faves, I decided I would try to trace Leo Marks and get an interview for my book, only to discover he'd died the previous month. Gutted!

Last year, I was researching cryptography as part of my work on a book on the BBC series Spooks. Guess whose name kept popping up in all the books I read. Guess whose own book I couldn't find for love nor money. smiley - smiley

Well, I've got a copy now, and I still haven't read it, so this is the motivation I needed. Cheers!

Book recommendation

Post 5


Thanks for the background, Jimster - interesting stuff on an interesting bloke.
Read it now! - you won't regret it.

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