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 intriguing than everFrom invisible ink to the CIA, this exciting trip through history is a hands on, interactive experience so get cracking


10 thoughts on “Mysterious Messages: A History of Codes and Ciphers

  1. Amanda Harris Amanda Harris says:

    Mysterious Messages A History of Codes and Ciphers is basically a timeline of different secret coded messages and ciphers, how they ve been used, and why they have been and still continue to be so important In a nutshell, Blackwood starts by giving us The first known example of cryptography which is inscribed on a clay tablet dating from roughly 1500 BCE and ends the journey by giving us The Kryptos Cryptogram which is A stone, wood, and metal sculpture that currently sits in front of Mysterious Messages A History of Codes and Ciphers is basically a timeline of different secret coded messages and ciphers, how they ve been used, and why they have been and still continue to be so important In a nutshell, Blackwood starts by giving us The first known example of cryptography which is inscribed on a clay tablet dating from roughly 1500 BCE and ends the journey by giving us The Kryptos Cryptogram which is A stone, wood, and metal sculpture that currently sits in front of CIA headquarters Btw1 of the 4 ciphers is still a mystery Blackwood gives us a peek into how codes and ciphers have been used for secret communications among ancient Greeks and Romans during the Dark Ages during religious upheavals During wars such as the Revolutionary War, The Crimean War, Civil War, WWI, WWII, and so on Secret messages have been used in literature by authors such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in Sherlock Holmes, Jules Verne in Journey to the Center of the Earth, etc Blackwood also touches on devices such as the telegraph which were used to send messagesrapidly Devices like SIGABA, and,recently, the Colossus Computer were used to decode messageseasily Overall, this book has a wealth of information on secret codes, messages, and so on.I gave this book 3 stars, not because it wasn t interesting, but because it was hard for me to follow how to use the coding systems and the descriptions weren t always clear in my mind it could be because i m not very mathematically inclined I did like the charts and pictures and fun little printable graphs for kids to make their own decoders The most interesting thing, in my mind, about this book is that there are so many examples of how secret codes and messages have been used and how they ve been used to alter events in history I d hand this book to kids 4th grade and up who love books on this topic or like movies such as The Goonies, National Treasure, etc I think there is an audience for this book, I just think this book flew under the radar I m hoping that our booktalks to 4th, 5th, and 6th graders at our local schools will jump start an interest Read a likes Secret Codes by Helen Jill Fletcher, because it gives the reader codes they can reproduce.Top Secret A Handbook of Codes, Ciphers, and Secret Writing by Paul B Janeczko, because it gives the reader instructions on making codes, has spy stories, and some history


  2. Donna Zigmont Donna Zigmont says:

    I really enjoyed this book I borrowed it from the library to help me learn codes and ciphers better I m playing a murder mystery game that involve both This book was real interesting It was a great help as well.


  3. Amanda Amanda says:

    Apparently, I just only need to read children s non fiction to find the pacing for myself Ha ha Seriously, though, I found this book completely fascinating and paced such as to keep me going No matter how interesting a topic, non fiction always takes me a long time to get through, it seems Much less of that attitude from me with this book The topic is well researched, the sidebar examples are clearly explained and usable which, of course, my kids loved , and the author even manage Apparently, I just only need to read children s non fiction to find the pacing for myself Ha ha Seriously, though, I found this book completely fascinating and paced such as to keep me going No matter how interesting a topic, non fiction always takes me a long time to get through, it seems Much less of that attitude from me with this book The topic is well researched, the sidebar examples are clearly explained and usable which, of course, my kids loved , and the author even manages to give us a bit of humor throughout Definitely a lot of information, so I d recommend it for older gradeschool aged kids and up 10 maybe 8 if they re bright and very interested in the topic


  4. Sara Sara says:

    Kids will likely beentertained by the earlier parts in the book where you are able to try your own hand at code breaking Overall, a fun and informative text that would weave into historical studies very easily.


  5. Lab Lab says:

    Awesome and informative book


  6. Kennedy Kennedy says:

    It was a really interesting book if anyone is wondering.


  7. Sean Sean says:

    Awesome book Lots of interesting details I liked reading about all the smart historical early message crypt work The book has crypted messages throughout the book in the style of the topic under discussion for the reader to try out Quite cool This was a library book, but I think I need a reference copy of this one for my home library I like puzzles, so this book made me want to work in this field.


  8. Heidi Heidi says:

    Sending secret messages is a interesting topic for most kids This book provides a great introduction to the topic and provides plenty of opportunities to practice one s deciphering skills Blackwood starts with Ancient Greece and the first hidden messages He then goes through a variety of strategies used over the last several thousand years, including the Navajo code talkers A well written, fascinating study of an always popular topic For those who have the time, I recommend deciphering the Sending secret messages is a interesting topic for most kids This book provides a great introduction to the topic and provides plenty of opportunities to practice one s deciphering skills Blackwood starts with Ancient Greece and the first hidden messages He then goes through a variety of strategies used over the last several thousand years, including the Navajo code talkers A well written, fascinating study of an always popular topic For those who have the time, I recommend deciphering the codes from each chapter.These two books provide an interesting way for teachers to show students that history is anything but boring It would be fun to see how fast the students could decode some of the messages


  9. Elizabeth Elizabeth says:

    I thought this book was very good because of how it was layers out and how there were some pictures so that the people who don t understand it that much can have some idea of what is happening At first it was a bit confusing on where and why they used the technique of secret messaging and why they used it at these specific places I also loved how descriptive the book was about what is happening it was a lot of fun reading it like for me I like the stories about the Civil war and queen Elizabeth I thought this book was very good because of how it was layers out and how there were some pictures so that the people who don t understand it that much can have some idea of what is happening At first it was a bit confusing on where and why they used the technique of secret messaging and why they used it at these specific places I also loved how descriptive the book was about what is happening it was a lot of fun reading it like for me I like the stories about the Civil war and queen Elizabeth the 1 In all I thought the author did a magnificent job on writing this great book and I thought it really deserved an applause


  10. Shirley Shirley says:

    The eye catching cover and pages of Mysterious Messages make it appear very old though it was just published in 2009 The intended audience is 5th 8th grades, but two staff members have read it from cover to cover and another used it as a reference with his 8th grade students when teaching about the Zimmerman Codes in their textbook It covers the history of ciphers and codes from 3000 B.C to present day There are photos of many historical figures and examples of ciphers that students may u The eye catching cover and pages of Mysterious Messages make it appear very old though it was just published in 2009 The intended audience is 5th 8th grades, but two staff members have read it from cover to cover and another used it as a reference with his 8th grade students when teaching about the Zimmerman Codes in their textbook It covers the history of ciphers and codes from 3000 B.C to present day There are photos of many historical figures and examples of ciphers that students may use to do their own encripting This appears to be a book that will be popular amongst our students