Handbook of
Applied Cryptography


Volume 24 Number 8 (April 1997)

Handbook of Applied Cryptography
Alfred J. Menezes, Paul C. van Oorschot, and Scott A. Vanstone
CRC Press, 1997. 780p bibl index afp ISBN 0-8493-8523-7, $79.95.

Over the last two decades, the discipline of cryptography has witnessed explosive growth both in its diversity of techniques and its range of concerns. Mathematical methods replaced the ad hoc, and the construction of (and attacks against) novel protocols such as zero-knowledge proofs, digital signatures, and secret sharing schemes now occupies the cryptographer as much as the age-old activities of making and breaking secret codes. This volume, addressed equally to the industrial practitioner, academic researcher, and student, does nothing less that provide a detailed and comprehensive overview of all these activities. Aiming the book at a wide audience and keeping it to a manageable size (if 780 pages can be called manageable) required two compromises of the authors: omitting language-specific source code (while providing detailed informal algorithm specifications), and omitting most rigorous argumentation (while providing adequate references). Thus the book forms a nice pair with more theoretical treatments, like Douglas R. Stinson's Cryptography: Theory and Practice (1995), to pick a recent example. Designed for reference and browsing, the authors still intend that a front-to-back read have "some merit." One hopes for their sake that the authors found a labor of love in compiling this enormous wealth of useful and fascinating information. Highly recommended for all academic library collections, undergraduate through faculty.

D.V. Feldman
University of New Hampshire

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