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Somehow, periods of math doldrums seem to be good for the unrelated reading - I suspect it's an outgrowth of my need to be learning and moving forward with something. Frustration expresses itself in strange ways. My best reads this last month:

American Cryptology during the Cold War, declassified by the National Security Agency (although the term declassified is used lightly here, as entire chapters are blacked out). Deeply interesting if you're into bureaucratic history; there have so far been only tangential insights into the actual development of cryptography.

The FBI-KGB War, by former FBI Special Agent Robert Lamphere, who collaborated with ASA cryptologist Meredith Gardner to crack Soviet spy rings during the early Cold War. The title is a miscast - it's much more a memoir about tracking down, criminal investigation fashion, espionage that had already occurred, although the investigations were much more complex and subtle than your typical criminal investigations of that era. There's a bit of spycraft, but not all that much, and illustrate some interesting dynamics in J. Edgar Hoover's FBI.

Silent Running: My Years on a World War II Attack Submarine, by Vice Admiral James Calvert. This just kept me up 6 hours past my intended bedtime. I've got to read his other books.

Lords of the Sea by John Hale, a history of the Athenian Navy and the effect of its institutions on the governance of Athens in Classical Greece. This was one of those histories written to be accessible to the educated layperson, and was awesome. Highly recommended - aside from a course or two at Princeton, I was never that educated on the classical world, and this changed my perspective on it strongly. I put this in the same rank as Kagan's popular history of the Peloponnesian War.

Changes, by Jim Butcher, the latest novel in the Dresden Files. If you're at all into fantasy, check out this series!


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August 2013

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