The ultimate guide to cryptography, updated from an author team of the world's top cryptography experts.
First of all, if you don't have the 1st edition, this is an excellent buy. It's a "middle ground" book and probably the one you should start with if you are interested in practical cryptography.
The three authors bring many decades of unique experience on the topic to the book. Their goal is to get the reader to think like a cryptographer, and the book does a great job of that. It is rich in real-world examples, and each chapter ends with a number of exercises to take the theoretical ideas and put them into practice.
The text is a deep synthesis of tradititional cryptography combined with additional and modern techniques: I found particularly intersting the definitions which in this field are often somehow heuristic and in many books lack of formalism. It was the time to begin a more formal treatise!