Welcome to my bookshelf! From time to time – usually when someone asks me for a specific recommendation – I sit down and inventory the current selections on my real-world bookshelf. If you know of a book that I should read (and perhaps note here) please let me know. It’s not as though I need an excuse to read, but one is always appreciated. :-)

Reading for the fun of it

  • The Devil’s Cup: A History of the World According to Coffee Paperback, Stewart Lee Allen, 2003
  • Bluefeather Fellini in the Sarced Realm, Max Evans, 1994
  • Dr Neruda’s Cure for Evil, Rafael Neruda, 1998
  • Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson, 2000
  • Cryptonomicon, Neal Stephenson, 2000

Cryptography, Privacy, Security

  • Applied Cryptography: Protocols, Algorithms, and Source Code in C, Bruce Schneier, John Wiley & Sons, 1994.

Whoo, hoo! This is it; the book that got the necessary paperwork to be exported from the USA. Much of what you want to know when you just have to code a cryptographic system. There’s an on-line errata that you’ll need as well. You may not have to type as much source from the book as you thought, quite a bit of it is on-line, straight from the author.

  • Computer Privacy Handbook, The, Andé Bacard, Peachpit Press, 1995.

Solid basic coverage of all the cryptography issues facing the personal computer user today.

  • E-mail Security: How to Keep Your Electronic Messages Private, Bruce Schneier, John Wiley and Sons, 1995.

A practical book by the author of the source code tome.

  • Kahn on Codes: Secrets of the New Cryptology, David Kahn, MacMillan, 1983.

A good book about modern cryptography. Much better than dusting off some old tome from pre-computer days.

  • Man Called Intrepid, A, William Stevenson, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1976.

Really good historical context to the modern fuss and bother. Especially good if you have a fireplace.

  • Managing Privacy: Information Technology and Corporate America, H. Jeff Smith. University of North Carolina Press, 1995.

I haven’t read this, but it sure has an impressive title. Recommended by Netsurfer Focus on Cryptography.

  • Official PGP Guide, The, Philip R. Zimmermann, MIT Press, 1995.

Written by PGP’s author his own self, PRZ.

  • PGP: Pretty Good Privacy, Simson Garfinkel, O’Reilly and Associates, 1995.

This is perhaps the best introductory work regarding PGP, a brief working history of cryptography, and the current political issues surrounding privacy and the citizen.

  • Seizing the Enigma, David Kahn, Houghton-Mifflin, 1991.

Solid historical account of World War Two machinations with the Enigma cipher system.

  • SPYWORLD: Inside the Canadian and American Intelligence Establishments, Mike Frost as told to Michel Gratton, Doubleday Canada Ltd., 1995, ISBN 0-385-25494-6.

Rather that write my own review, I’ll allow Dave Del Torto’s comments to stand by themselves:

Date: Thu, 16 Nov 1995 18:10:04 -0800
From: Dave Del Torto 
Subject:  [BOOK] "SPYWORLD" (was: Re: CSE gets flak on TV)
To: cypherpunks@toad.com, michael@GeekTimes.com

To the few on the list who have not already had the pleasure, I’d put “SPYWORLD” in the “Puzzle Palace” category of must-reads. Before recently leaving our own Wunderland for a course in advanced bird-watching off in the Canary Islands, Michael ‘Mickey’ Sattler was kind enough to loan me his hardcover of this pithy little 1994 history/expose on the Canadian spook community by one of their first key propeller-heads, “Mike Frost.” After being unceremoniously dumped by the Canucks a few years back, he decided to “share” about it all to work out his frustrations. Though I assume it was ‘tidied up’ by various government censors in pre-publication, and according to the inside page was printed and “bound in the U.S.A.” ;), I must say it was nevertheless an arousing read, albeit a bit nit-sloppy with the ghost writing/editing here and there.

It paints a colorful picture of the TLA gang-bang that resulted in the conception of the Canadian black budget intercept operations. The potent schtuppingvermachen of the American and British, each waiting patiently for sloppy seconds is, to say the least, pruriently fascinating. “Frost” manages to (un)cover, in pleasurably lurid detail, some of the tools used, and policies openly violated, during such intercepts as “Stephanie” in Moscow. There are even some descriptions of the scenes behind the green doors of the NSA and CIA. Frankly, all it really lacks is a nude picture of the American Ambassador in Ottowa pulling his pants up _before_ drawing the shades for the last time. If you do read it, use protection. ;)


PS: Don’t worry, Mike, none of the pages stick together. :)

  • Who Owns Information? From Privacy to Public Access, Anne W. Branscomb, Basic Books, 1994.

A more socially-oriented discussion of policy and privacy.

Deafness, American Sign Language

  • American Deaf Culture, [edited by] Sherman Wilcox. Linstok Press, 1989. ISBN 0-932130-08-9.

A collection of “classic articles” about the Deaf community and ASL, it’s a must-read for newbies.

  • American Sign Language Concise Dictionary, [edited by] Martin L. A. Sternberg. Harper & Row, 1990. ISBN 0-06-080996-5.

The canonical in-your-backpack accessory.

  • American Sign Language: Linguistic and Applied Dimensions (2nd edition), Ronnie Wilbur. Little, Brown, and Company, 1987. ISBN 0-316-94013-5.
  • A Deaf Adult Speaks Out, Leo M. Jacobs. Gallaudet University Press, Washington D.C., 1974.

A personal account (and good introduction to) the impact on Deaf persons of hearing society.

  • The Deaf Experience: An Anthology of Literature By and About the Deaf, [edited by] Trenton W. Batson & Eugene Bergman. Merriam-Eddy, 1976. ISBN 0-914562-03-7.

Stories by and about Deaf people, grouped into three categories: Deaf authors, the nineteenth century, the twentieth century.

  • Deaf in America: Voices From a Culture, Carol Padden & Tom Humphries. Harvard University Press, 1988. ISBN 0-674-19423-3.

A collection of personal reflection on the experience of being Deaf in hearing society.

  • Deaf Women: A Parade Through the Decades, Mabs Holcomb & Sharon Wood. DawnSignPress, 1989. ISBN 0-915035-28-6.

A compilation of photographs, accounts, anecdotes, and tales about Deaf women from the mid-eighteenth century to the present.

  • Deafness, David Wright. Stein & Day, 1969. ISBN 0-8128-1805-9.

An autobiography, this personal perspective is one of the most poetic paeans to the experience of being without hearing in a hearing world.

  • Deafness and Mental Health, [edited by] L. K. Stein, E. D. Mindel, and T. Jabaley. Grune & Stratton (Harcourt, Brace, Javanovich), 1981. ISBN 0-8089-1347-6.

Includes expanded and updated papers from the First National Symposium on Mental Health Needs of Deaf Adults and Children, held in Chicago in June 1975.

  • Hearing is Believing, Marie Hays Heiner. The World Publishing Company, 1949.

A book more about the “deafened” than the Deaf, this propaganda piece was written for and distributed by the Zenith Radio Corporation’s Hearing Aid Division. This 1949 “infomercial” is the story of a late-deafened woman’s introduction to, and use of, a hearing aid. Sacchrine beyond belief, this tale harkens back to an optimistic time before J.F.K., Watergate, and AIDS, when technology was going to save us all.

  • The Integration and Disintegration of the Deaf in Society, [edited by] George Montgomery. Scottish Workshop Publications, 1981.

A collection of articles with the occasional poem.

  • Legal Rights of Hearing-Impaired People, National Center for Law and the Deaf. Gallaudet University Press, Washington D.C., 1982. ISBN 0-913580-78-3.

An introductory text.

  • Meaning-based Translation, M. L. Larson. University Press of America, 1984. ISBN 0-8191-4301-4.

A textbook that posits that a translator must first know the meaning of the source text before translation into a receptor language; has a goal of meaning-based, rather than form-based, translation.

  • Mental Health Assessment of Deaf Clients: A Practical Manual, [edited by] H. Elliott, L. Glass, & J. W. Evans. Taylor & Francis Limited, London, 1987. ISBN 0-85055-652-X.

An in-the-field practical manual that touches on the daily working aspects of, and problems encountered in, initial contacts, taking a drug history, mental status examination, psychological assessment, learning disability assessment, and assessment from the perspective of the hearing therapist, Deaf therapist, and sign-language interpreter.

  • The Other Side of Silence, Arden Neisser. Gallaudet University Press, 1983. ISBN 0-930323-64-5.

A chronicle of the Deaf community across the USA and an exploration of the “growing use” of ASL. Somewhat dated, but interesting.

  • A Place of Their Own: Creating the Deaf Community in America, J. V. Van Cleve & B. A. Crouch. Gallaudet University Press, 1989. ISBN 0-930323-49-1.

An outgrowth of a Gallaudet class, this history text that traces the movement of Deaf people in America through the nineteenth century.

  • Psychotherapy with Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Persons: A Systemic Model, M. A. Harvey. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale, New Jersey, 1989. ISBN 0-8058-0204-5.

A text that touches upon the many aspects and problems associated with the long-term psychotherapy of Deaf and hard-of-hearing people.

  • Religious Signing, Elaine Costello. Bantam, 1986. ISBN 0-553-34244-4.

A dictionary of over 500 religious signs.

  • A Rose for Tomorrow: Biography of Frederick C. Schreiber, Jerome D. Schein. National Association of the Deaf, 1981. ISBN 0-913072-46-X.

The personal tale of an Executive Secretary of the National Association of the Deaf

  • The Signs of Language, Edward Klima & Ursula Bellugi. Harvard University Press, 1979. ISBN 0-674-80796-0

One of the original works about ASL, it’s the foundation of many of the others that follow. Dr. Bellugi has been, and continues to be, a force in the linguistic analysis of ASL.

  • Speaking the Language of Sign: The Art and Science of Signing, Jerome D. Schein. Doubleday, 1984. ISBN 0-385-17344-X.

A good introductory text to American Sign Language, including much context and few signs.

  • The Week the World Heard Gallaudet, Jack R. Gannon. Gallaudet University Press, 1989. ISBN 0-930323-50-5.

A spectacular book about the week that the student body of Gallaudet University took the campus in protest, demanding the installation of a Deaf president. Includes many photographs and quotes from media and luminaries of the day.

Judaic Studies

  • The Origins of Totalitarianism, Volume 1, Totalitarianism, Arendt, Hanna. Harvest/HBJ, 1968.
  • The Origins of Totalitarianism, Volume 2, Imperialism, Arendt, Hanna. Harvest/HBJ, 1968.
  • The Origins of Totalitarianism, Volume 3, Antisemitism, Arendt, Hanna. Harvest/HBJ, 1968.
  • The Man in the High Castle, Dick, Philip K.. Berkley Books, 1962.
  • The Holocaust: The Destruction of European Jewry, 1933-1945, Levin, Nora. Schocken Books, 1945.
  • Prisoner of 68 Months…Buchenwald & Auschwitz, Sattler, Stanislaw. Gefen Pub. Co., 1980.
  • Feldafing, Schochet, Simon. November House (Vancouver, Canada), 1983.

My godfather!

  • Retter in der Nacht: Wie eine jüdische Familie überlebte {Rescuers in the Night: How a Jewish Family Survived}, Spiegel, Marga. Röderberg im Pahl-Rugenstein Verlag, Köln (Cologne), 1987. ISBN 3-87682-830-9.

The story of my mother and her parents. Update: now made into a movie.


This is the canonical (and encyclopedic) source of information on this subject. Predates almost everything. Updated from time to time.

  • Adam Engst, The Internet Starter Kit for {Macintosh,Windows}_ (includes disk), 1995.

It’s hard to describe this book without sounding like a paid advertisment. Contains absolutely everything you need to connect your Mac or Windows machine to the Internet plus clearly-written explanations of what’s out there. Invaluable.

  • Mark Gibbs & Richard Smith, Navigating the Internet_, SAMS Pub., 1993, ISBN 0-672-30362-0.

This book takes over where Adam’s ends. It teaches you how to find things on the net, a skill more important than almost every other for staying afloat in this information deluge.

General reference

  • The Elements of Style, Strunk & White. Macmillan, 1979. ISBN 0-02-418200-1.

The essence of clear writing boiled down to the very basics in one frightfully slim volume.


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