WWII book suggestions
June 12, 2006 9:53 AM   Subscribe

Long car trip coming up, I'm asking for book suggestions from others who enjoyed Leo Marks' "Between Silk and Cyanide : A Codemaker's War, 1941-1945".

I really enjoyed the mix of light code breaking and the humanity behind this personal account. If you enjoyed this, what else would you suggest that would be an entertaining read? I'm not looking for a heavy cyphering text, more along the lines of the human story that this book described.
posted by JigSawMan to Media & Arts (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Oh, and thanks in advance for your suggestions!
posted by JigSawMan at 9:55 AM on June 12, 2006

Well, I haven't read that book, but it sure sounds like you'd enjoy Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson. It deals extensively with cryptography in both a modern-day and a WWII context, and was quite entertaining (and long, ~1100 pages in paperback.)
posted by ludwig_van at 10:02 AM on June 12, 2006

A second for Cryptonomicon.
posted by sourwookie at 10:09 AM on June 12, 2006

If you haven't read "The Code Book" by Simon Singh yet, definitely do so. Lots of little human stories, mixed in with some interesting cyphering.
posted by Jeanne at 10:14 AM on June 12, 2006

"The Codebreakers", by David Kahn.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 10:29 AM on June 12, 2006

I'd recommend "The Professor and the Madman" by Simon Winchester.
posted by mattbucher at 10:38 AM on June 12, 2006

The Codebreakers is a serious history, in fact the standard reference on cryptography up until WWII.
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:43 AM on June 12, 2006

Another vote for Cryptonomicon.
posted by grex at 11:07 AM on June 12, 2006

Seconding "The Code Book". Also his othe book on Fermat's Last Theorem
posted by pantsrobot at 11:44 AM on June 12, 2006

Yet another for Cryptonomicon.
posted by deceptiv at 12:03 PM on June 12, 2006

Cryptonomicon will make the trip fly by. It's even better if you're a computer dork too. I still geek out about certain parts of that book.
posted by cosmicbandito at 12:36 PM on June 12, 2006

Great suggestions! I'm definitely taking Cryptonomicon along on my trip. All the books sound interesting for future reading. Thanks everyone.
posted by JigSawMan at 12:55 PM on June 12, 2006

A book that was very similar in tone about a smart young jewish man growing up in England would be "Uncle Tungsten"by Oliver Sacks.

Although not superficially similar they both share a common sense of humor and family that made them enjoyable to me.
posted by Megafly at 4:46 PM on June 12, 2006

James Gleick... esp. Chaos.
posted by Leon at 6:01 PM on June 12, 2006

I vote for Cryptonomicon. If you're into history as well, I recommend Tony Judt's Postwar: A History of Europe 1945--Present. It is the most detailed and informative book on European history (and its future direction) I've ever read.
posted by vkxmai at 8:39 PM on June 12, 2006

I would go to Amazon, type in the name of that book, and see what else it recommends. (This is based on what other people have bought.)
posted by lunchbox at 10:21 PM on June 12, 2006

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