About the Book
A mathematical tour of some of the greatest unsolved ciphers of all time
In 1953, a man was found dead from cyanide poisoning near the Philadelphia airport with a picture of a Nazi aircraft in his wallet and an enciphered message taped to his abdomen. In 1912, a book dealer named Wilfrid Voynich came into possession of an illuminated cipher manuscript once belonging to Emperor Rudolf II, who was obsessed with alchemy and the occult. Wartime codebreakers tried—and failed—to unlock the book’s secrets, and it remains an enigma to this day. In this lively and entertaining book, Craig Bauer examines these and other vexing ciphers yet to be cracked. Some may reveal the identity of a spy or serial killer, provide the location of buried treasure, or expose a secret society—while others may be elaborate hoaxes. He lays out the evidence surrounding each cipher, describes the efforts to decipher it, and invites readers to try their hand at puzzles that have stymied so many others.
Craig P. Bauer is professor of mathematics at York College of Pennsylvania. He is editor in chief of the journal Cryptologia, has served as a scholar in residence at the NSA’s Center for Cryptologic History, and is the author of Secret History: The Story of Cryptology.
“A thoroughly engaging read.”—Brian Clegg, Popular Science
“I am blown away by this book. I have never read a non-fiction book before that is so thrillingly entertaining.”—Adhemar Bultheel, European Mathematical Society
“The Da Vinci Code has nothing on this exhaustive collection of cryptographs and codes—because these are real.”—Discover Magazine
“Bauer proves an able and entertaining guide to the world of real-life ciphers, codes, and encryption. . . . Unsolved! is suited to all who enjoy the thrill of the chase.”—Peter Dabbene, Foreword Reviews
“An in-depth guide to history’s greatest unsolved conundrums.”—BBC Focus
“Unsolved! spans a huge arc of time and space, from Julius Caesar’s simple substitution cipher to composer Edward Elgar’s 1897 Dorabella Cipher.”—Andrew Robinson, Nature