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Code Warriors: NSA's Codebreakers and the Secret Intelligence War Against the Soviet Union
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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group 2016
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A sweeping, in-depth history of NSA, whose famous "cult of silence" has left the agency shrouded in mystery for decades The National Security Agency was born out of the legendary codebreaking programs of World War II that cracked the famed Enigma machine and other German and Japanese codes, thereby turning the tide of Allied victory. In the postwar years, as the United States developed a new enemy in the Soviet Union, our intelligence community found itself targeting not soldiers on the battlefield, but suspected spies, foreign leaders, and even American citizens. Throughout the second half of the twentieth century, NSA played a vital, often fraught and controversial role in the major events of the Cold War, from the Korean War to the Cuban Missile Crisis to Vietnam and beyond. In Code Warriors, Stephen Budiansky—a longtime expert in cryptology—tells the fascinating story of how NSA came to be, from its roots in World War II through the fall of the Berlin Wall. Along the way, he guides us through the fascinating challenges faced by cryptanalysts, and how they broke some of the most complicated codes of the twentieth century. With access to new documents, Budiansky shows where the agency succeeded and failed during the Cold War, but his account also offers crucial perspective for assessing NSA today in the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations. Budiansky shows how NSA's obsession with recording every bit of data and decoding every signal is far from a new development; throughout its history the depth and breadth of the agency's reach has resulted in both remarkable successes and destructive failures. Featuring a series of appendixes that explain the technical details of Soviet codes and how they were broken, this is a rich and riveting history of the underbelly of the Cold War, and an essential and timely read for all who seek to understand the origins of the modern NSA.From the Hardcover edition.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
06/14/2016
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780385352673
ASIN:
B015VA8OBK
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APA Citation (style guide)

Stephen Budiansky. (2016). Code Warriors: NSA's Codebreakers and the Secret Intelligence War Against the Soviet Union. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Stephen Budiansky. 2016. Code Warriors: NSA's Codebreakers and the Secret Intelligence War Against the Soviet Union. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Stephen Budiansky, Code Warriors: NSA's Codebreakers and the Secret Intelligence War Against the Soviet Union. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2016.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Stephen Budiansky. Code Warriors: NSA's Codebreakers and the Secret Intelligence War Against the Soviet Union. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2016. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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      • bioText: STEPHEN BUDIANSKY was the national security correspondent and foreign editor of U.S. News & World Report, Washington editor of Nature, and editor of World War II magazine. He is the author of six books of military and intelligence history, including Blackett's War, a Washington Post Notable Book. He has served as a Congressional Fellow, he frequently lectures on intelligence and military history, and his articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, The Economist, and other publications. He is a member of the editorial board of Cryptologia, the leading academic journal of codes, codebreaking, and cryptologic history.
      • name: Stephen Budiansky
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publishDate
2016-06-14T00:00:00-04:00
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title
Code Warriors
fullDescription
A sweeping, in-depth history of NSA, whose famous "cult of silence" has left the agency shrouded in mystery for decades

The National Security Agency was born out of the legendary codebreaking programs of World War II that cracked the famed Enigma machine and other German and Japanese codes, thereby turning the tide of Allied victory. In the postwar years, as the United States developed a new enemy in the Soviet Union, our intelligence community found itself targeting not soldiers on the battlefield, but suspected spies, foreign leaders, and even American citizens. Throughout the second half of the twentieth century, NSA played a vital, often fraught and controversial role in the major events of the Cold War, from the Korean War to the Cuban Missile Crisis to Vietnam and beyond.
In Code Warriors, Stephen Budiansky—a longtime expert in cryptology—tells the fascinating story of how NSA came to be, from its roots in World War II through the fall of the Berlin Wall. Along the way, he guides us through the fascinating challenges faced by cryptanalysts, and how they broke some of the most complicated codes of the twentieth century. With access to new documents, Budiansky shows where the agency succeeded and failed during the Cold War, but his account also offers crucial perspective for assessing NSA today in the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations. Budiansky shows how NSA's obsession with recording every bit of data and decoding every signal is far from a new development; throughout its history the depth and breadth of the agency's reach has resulted in both remarkable successes and destructive failures.
Featuring a series of appendixes that explain the technical details of Soviet codes and how they were broken, this is a rich and riveting history of the underbelly of the Cold War, and an essential and timely read for all who seek to understand the origins of the modern NSA.
From the Hardcover edition.
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Nature
      • content: "This is a balanced, authoritative portrait of an institution in which brilliant innovation in mathematics, computing and technology has coexisted with gross invasions of societal privacy."
      • premium: False
      • source: Foreign Affairs
      • content: "Budiansky ably guides readers through the technical details of code breaking and the bureaucratic wrangling that so often bedevils intelligence work."
      • premium: False
      • source: Washington Post
      • content: "Admirable.... The NSA became a vast and powerful intelligence agency in the digital age. This book illuminates the early years."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        March 7, 2016
        The dysfunctions and overreach of the total surveillance state were present at its birth, according to this engrossing history of the National Security Administration. Journalist Budiansky (Blackett’s War) traces the development of American signals intelligence—the collecting and deciphering of radio messages and other electromagnetic communications—from wartime triumphs against German and Japanese codes through the Cold War standoff with the Soviets, whose high-level codes mainly resisted cryptanalysts’ efforts. Budiansky is lucid in describing the science and art of breaking complex ciphers, which helped drive advances in electronics and computing. He also analyzes the flaws in the NSA’s mission of collecting everything it can: paralyzing bureaucratic turf battles among military and intelligence agencies over access to intelligence; self-defeating secrecy obsessions; floods of data too massive to be analyzed coherently; outright malfeasance (Budiansky argues that the agency covered up intelligence disproving the government’s account of the Gulf of Tonkin Incident during the Vietnam War); and encroachments on privacy and civil liberties (for decades the NSA read all international telegrams from America, and it spied on dissidents for the Nixon Administration). Budiansky leavens the history and technology with colorful profiles of cryptographers and spies; the result is a lively account of how today’s information controversies emerged. Photos.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        April 1, 2016
        A skillful history of America's World War II code-breaking and the rise of the National Security Agency. Having written the definitive account of the great Allied triumph in the decrypting of Nazi codes in Battle of Wits (2000), military journalist Budiansky (Blackett's War: The Men Who Defeated the Nazi U-Boats and Brought Science to the Art of Warfare, 2013, etc.) continues the story here, with equal flare. He begins even before the war ended, in 1943, when American eavesdroppers decided to intercept Soviet communications. This was less dastardly than it sounds because all nations spy on allies, and, as we later learned, Soviet agents were busily at work at the highest levels of Western governments. In 1952, President Harry Truman united communication intelligence into the top-secret (at first) NSA, now our largest spy organization, whose budget remains secret and whose massive supercomputers, satellites, and worldwide listening stations suck up massive quantities of information. The traditional goal of American spying--preventing another Pearl Harbor--has never been accomplished. Surprises continue to occur, including the Vietnam Tet Offensive, the Yom Kippur War, the fall of the Soviet Union, and 9/11. On the plus side, we achieved a detailed picture of the Soviet Union's internal affairs, which revealed that its leaders had their hands full and gave low priority to world conquest. On the minus side, the NSA's unlimited budget and lack of oversight have produced a swollen, woefully inefficient organization. Its eagerness to smite our enemies at any cost has "left in [its] wake an often sordid trail of transgressions against law, morality, decency, and basic American values." In a book that is more nuanced and far more entertaining that the revelations of Edward Snowden, Budiansky does not ignore the NSA's accomplishments but reveals plenty of unsettling behavior that has so far persuaded Congress and the president, always anxious to demonstrate their patriotism, to enact mild reforms.

        COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        Starred review from April 1, 2016

        In the time since Edward Snowden leaked National Security Agency (NSA) documents in 2014, the American public has scrutinized the organization. Critics portray the NSA as a bloated bureaucracy that tramples on freedoms. Budiansky (former national security correspondent, U.S. News & World Report; Blackett's War) dives into the NSA's Cold War history to absorbingly reveal that although the NSA had successes, its foundation is partly based upon bureaucratic and questionable behaviors. Though the title suggests a portrait of the NSA's codebreakers, the arch is primarily on the agency in the 1940s through the 1960s. One cannot blame the author for this because he had to deal with access restrictions. As a result, the full story has not been written, and who knows if it can ever be. Despite these limitations, this well-written work may be likened to Matthew Aid's The Secret Sentry or Jonathan Haslam's Near and Distant Neighbors. VERDICT Recommended for Cold War spy enthusiasts and those seeking to broaden their knowledge of the NSA.--Jacob Sherman, John Peace Lib., Univ. of Texas at San Antonio

        Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        April 15, 2016
        This history of the National Security Agency, filled with the intricacies of cryptology, reads like a thriller. Budiansky, a cryptologist and former national correspondent for U.S. News & World Report, is able to fill his story with suspense because he focuses on the actual men and women who struggled to break enemy codes. The scope here extends from the NSA growing out of Allied efforts to crack Nazi and Japanese codes during WWII through the Cold War (the book's last section is titled Last Hurrahs of the Codebreakers, 1979 ). The struggles grow murkier in the Cold War, with intelligence expanding not only to suspected spies but also to U.S. citizens (Budiansky begins his work with a reflection on Edward Snowden). Cryptology is a complex subject in all its incarnationsespecially in the context of the NSAbut Budiansky makes his material remarkably accessible for general readers. His appendixes focus on advanced problems, like Russian Teleprinter Ciphers and The Index of Coincidence, which, like the rest of the book, will prove intriguing for expert and novice alike.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2016, American Library Association.)

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shortDescription
A sweeping, in-depth history of NSA, whose famous "cult of silence" has left the agency shrouded in mystery for decades

The National Security Agency was born out of the legendary codebreaking programs of World War II that cracked the famed Enigma machine and other German and Japanese codes, thereby turning the tide of Allied victory. In the postwar years, as the United States developed a new enemy in the Soviet Union, our intelligence community found itself targeting not soldiers on the battlefield, but suspected spies, foreign leaders, and even American citizens. Throughout the second half of the twentieth century, NSA played a vital, often fraught and controversial role in the major events of the Cold War, from the Korean War to the Cuban Missile Crisis to Vietnam and beyond.
In Code Warriors, Stephen Budiansky—a longtime expert in cryptology—tells the fascinating story of how NSA came to be, from its roots in World War II through the fall...
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