The Crypto Books page operated by Nils Kopal and Tobias Schrödel is the leading information source for books about historical cryptology. Currently, it has 541 entries.
Catalogues listing cryptology books have a long tradition. Before the internet age, two comprehensive crypto bibliographies were published:
- Joseph S. Galland: Bibliography of the Literature of Cryptology (1945). Entries in this book are sorted alphabetically by author.
- David Shulman: An Annotated Bibliography of Cryptography (1976). Entries are sorted by year.
An online bibliography
Based on these two books, Tobias Schrödel, otherwise known as a comedy hacker and TV expert, created an online crypto bibliography, which was for years the place to go for everybody interested in cryptology literature.
About two years ago, Tobias joined forces with Nils Kopal, another crypto book enthusiast. Nils, a reader of this blog, is among other things the chief developer of the CrypTool 2 software as well as the operator of the CrypTool 2 YouTube channel.
Together, Tobias and Nils launched the Crypto Books website. Without any doubts, Crypto Books is the world’s leading crypto bibliography with currently 541 works being listed.
It is important to note that Tobias and Nils only include books about historical cryptology, while modern (computer-based) encryption is out of scope. This means that books such as Schneier’s Applied Cryptography, von zur Gathen’s Crypto School, or my Kryptografie -Verfahren, Protokolle, Infrastrukturen are not listed.
My books on Crypto Books
However, my books about crypto and steganography history are listed on Crypto Books, and I am proud of this. The following screenshot shows these titles (the covers are from the original editions, not from the latest ones):
I hope and trust that in the near future my next book, Codebreaking: A Practical Guide, will be listed, too.
Though off-topic, here are a few blurbs we received from notable people:
A compendium of historical cryptography. Approachable, accessible, this book brings back the joy I felt when I first read about these things as a kid.
Phil Zimmermann, creator of PGP encryption, inductee to the Internet Hall of Fame
“Codebreaking: A Practical Guide” is quite the best book on codebreaking I have read: clear, engaging and fun. A must for would-be recruits to GCHQ and the NSA!
Sir Dermot Turing, author of Prof, the biography of his uncle, Alan Turing
One of the most helpful guides outside the NSA to cracking ciphers. But even if you don’t become a codebreaker, this book is full of fascinating crypto lore.
Steven Levy, New York Times bestselling author of “Crypto, Hackers, and Facebook: The Inside Story”
Here are a few more of my favorite works listed on Crypto Books:
- David Kahn: The Codebreakers (1996). This is the classic among the crypto history books. It is the work I quote the most often in my publications.
- Herbert Yardley: The American Black Chamber (1931). With this scandal book, Yardley became the most famous whistleblower in crypto history. As he was also a great author, this work is a fascinating read.
- Helen Fouché Gaines: Cryptanalysis (1939). This is currently the reference book about codebreaking. Elonka Dunin and I wrote the aforementioned Codebreaking: A Practical Guide in part to create a successor.
I hereby invite my readers to explore the Crypto Books page themselves. It lists hundreds of good and not-so-good books, and I am sure that Tobias and Nils will add additionial titles in the near future.
Further reading: Anamorphics: a funny kind of secret writing