Listed as one of the essential 50 books of all time in The Guardian
Inspired the Academy Award-nominated film, The Imitation Game
It’s only a slight exaggeration to say that the British mathematician Alan Turing (1912-1954) saved the Allies from the Nazis, invented the computer and artificial intelligence, and anticipated gay liberation by decades--all before his suicide at age forty-one. This classic biography of the founder of computer science, reissued on the centenary of his birth with a substantial new preface by the author, is the definitive account of an extraordinary mind and life.
A gripping story of mathematics, computers, cryptography, and homosexual persecution, Andrew Hodges's acclaimed book captures both the inner and outer drama of Turing's life.Hodges tells how Turing's revolutionary idea of 1936--the concept of a universal machine--laid the foundation for the modern computer and how Turing brought the idea to practical realization in 1945 with his electronic design. The book also tells how this work was directly related to Turing's leading role in breaking the German Enigma ciphers during World War II, a scientific triumph that was critical to Allied victory in the Atlantic. At the same time, this is the tragic story of a man who, despite his wartime service, was eventually arrested, stripped of his security clearance, and forced to undergo a humiliating treatment program--all for trying to live honestly in a society that defined homosexuality as a crime.
©2012 Andrew Hodges (P)2012 Audible Ltd
This book was a labor of love for the author, Andrew Hodges, Consequently we learn more about Alan Turing than we may wish to know. Hikes, breakfasts and conversations that do not contribute to his work are described in detail. On the other hand there is ample space for his work and detailed explanations which are helpful.
Alan Turing was a genius who had 3 major epiphanies. In 1936, he described the modern computer as a Universal machine and envisioned input, storage and out put devices. The major reason for this paper was to solve an unsolvable mathematics problem. During the second World war he as anchorage of the team at Blechly park who deciphered the Enigma code. Use computers known as bombes.
And in 1953 he wrote a ground breaking paper on the mathematics of Morphogenesis.
In each of these papers he was many years ahead of his contemporaries.
On a personal level he was an openly homosexual curmudgeon, who did not suffer fools gladly. Most of us would not like or understand him.
Finally, considerable attention was directed to his trial for homosexuality. The author takes considerable pains to point out that he was treated gently. The trial received almost no publicity, he was given a years probation and was free to work and he had to take one year of hormonal therapy, some of which he missed. He would have been dealt with much more harshly in the US.
Finally, There is the message that theoretical geniuses are coddled and supported much more in the UK than in the US, the reason that they produce such great theoretical physicists and mathematicians.
If you've seen the movie starring Benedict Cumberbatch then you might be forgiven should believe that the contents of this book have been thoroughly covered by the excellent portrayals by the actors and derring do of the plot...
Don't be fooled, the movie only covers an absolutely tiny percentage of this wonderfully thorough and complete biography of Alan Turing.
The book is extremely long and at times might be challenging to those looking for a story of spies, codes and wartime intrigue since it covers in meticulous and glorious detail Alan's career as one of the greatest mathematical geniuses that ever lived and his superb work designing some of the earliest computers and programs.
Essential reading/listening for computer geeks, maths whizzes and this who wish to understand the difficulties of Alan's homosexuality which likely contributed to his suicide which robbed us of such a great man at the prime of his powers.
Excellent narration on the audiobook entirely doing justice to Andrew Hodge's epic writing and homage to Alan Turing and the early days of code breaking and computing.
Alan's life is an incredibly interesting story in many different facets, in his genius and foresight, his place in British society, and how his story affected the thinking of the day.
His link between the US and UK during WWII has much more than would be expected. He was the only connection for intelligence and he did it in a very unorthodox way that was successful.
He uses several different voices for a few characters and delivers the story in a meaningful way.
No, there are slow parts when he gets into very technical mathematical theories and problems.
Any of the Enigma books
Brit accent, but well done
Much background of the science of code breaking thru the war. He does a good job of describing the world and scientific situation at points during Turing's life. Very wordy but good words.
The story is great but the author gets too into the technical specifications of the machines. It is very much like Herman Melville, you have to weed through the hours of dribble to get to the good story.
Membre since March 2008.
I wanted the biography of Alan Turing, now this book has his biography but well over HALF the book is just technical math stuff about the various projects he worked on throughout his life.
If you are a math enthusiast and are interested in hearing a good 7 hours of it, this book is for you.
Alan Turing was the most significant scientific mind of the 20th century, so were his accomplishments. I want to know as much as possible about this great mind. To say that this is too long and too detailed is idiotic. The narration is top notch and worthy of the subject. It is a tragedy for the human race that this great mind was crushed by ignorance and arrogance. If given his full life his accomplishments and the benefits to scientific knowledge would have matched or exceeded Einstein.
If there was an abridged version, I would recommend it more. As a general rule, I like long books. In fact it is one of my search criterion. But this is the rare book that would have been better if it were about half as long.
A good read, one that presents the man, as well as the society in which he lived. The entire story is embedded in the mathematical models & theories, that Turing was dealing with at that moment in his life.
The Narrator did a good job although there were a couple of hiccups.
Listen while I work, ride, drive & run.
Disturbing, haunting, tantalizing. Excellently read. Worthy of multiple reads. Film imitation game a tasty sample only. Consume both if you dare.
"I tried very hard to listen to this but only made it half way"
I really struggled with extracting any significant story from this book - don't know how they made a film from it (a lot must be made up). Perhaps if you want to build another machine then the book might be useful. I must say I valued the 500MB of iPhone space more than the content of this book - so I deleted it!
"A detailed account of the life of Alan Turing"
Well, I set it to X2 to speed this very long book up, you don't miss anything at double speed, I don't know if I would have finished it at normal speed due to the emmence detail in math which just makes my head go numb but if you're into math I'm sure you'll love it.
Maybe, he's tone is very matter of fact, suited the content well but told will little emphasis on important parts will no build up.
Well I didn't but someone did! To be honest I don't like the title, it relates more to his life than his work and I would rather a title based on his work.
If you've watched the film, this will fill the gaps with glorious detail.
"Possibly the most boring book I've listened to"
Loved the film and story and thought the book might be interesting when it was full of formulae that only someone doing a maths degree would understand. Although I'm not that thick I soon realised that I'm not that clever either
"Brilliant dysfunctional man broken by 1950s Britain"
No shock at almost 31 hours this book is brutally long. The first several hours covering Alan's childhood are pretty tedious but once you get through that it gets interesting.
Found myself utterly frustrated that as a nation we couldn't find a way to make the most of a brilliant mind.
"More than a little tiresome"
Turing Book by Andrew Hodges. Great read if you survive the first ten hours. The title of the film is explained about this point.
The information for readers failed to mention that the book incorporates an unabridged account of Andrew Hodges' Oxford courses which although excellent of their sort are not a patch on Jim Al-Khalili's programmes on the BBC. One gem is the explanation of the tittle of the film of the book "The Imitation Game" which greatly enhanced my memories of the film. The accounts of the intelligence services in the UK during the first forty odd years of the 20th century are a revelation and worthy of greater exposure. The events surrounding the sinking of the aircraft-carrier Glorious were not far short of criminal. The lack of knowledge in the lead up to the Dunkirk equally embarrassing. The very much better position of France, Poland and Norway staggering. One of the most interesting features of the story is the role happenstance and pure luck that fortunately contributed to the British success. Although the account of Turing's life after the war is interesting Hodges' expositions on Turing's papers and philosophy more than a little tiresome.
"Postumous recognition of a troubled genius"
This is a monumental biography of one of the great minds of the 20th century who, sadly, didn't get the recognition he deserved until well after his death. Despite some very complex descriptions of mathematical theorems, I was captivated by the mixture of Turing's personal life with his contributions to code-breaking and computing. Interwoven into the story one is reminded of how very different social norms were in the 1950s and how tragically Turing was cruelly treated by the system for being a homosexual.
The narrator deserves a medal for his excellent rendition of over 30 hours of recording and mastering the mathematical notations.
"Very long winded but worth the effort"
Very wordy and detailed covering more than I expect in a biography. A lot of assumption and interpretation. I enjoyed it but it was hard work at times.
Very good. quite technical in some areas but did not lose site of the man.
"A compelling and sophisticated biography"
Andrew Hodges' epic biography tells Alan Turing's story on a number of different levels. This is not just a chronology of facts and events in Alan Turing's life, but also an examination of some of the mathematical theories and the political background to the events that shaped and ultimately contributed to Turing's demise. It is a remarkable achievement. Stripped of sentimentality and coming across as scrupulously non-judgemental, it is a masterpiece of research and a recording that I will come back to.
It is difficult for any audio book narrator to cover the variety of accents that are thrown up by the narrative. In previous audio books, I've had the joy of listening to Crispin Redman reading Patrick Leigh-Fermor's travelogues, and the despair of listening to the extended voicemail message that is SPQR voiced by Phyllida Law. Gordon Griffin sounds slightly odd as a young exciteable Alan Turing, but his Malcolm Muggeridge is utterly brilliant, and you ended up wishing there were more Muggeridge quotes in the book. However overall it's a gripping narrative tale which Gordon Griffin enhances.
It gives you a far greater understanding of the cracking of the Enigma code and makes you realise that any previous documentary you have seen has only been skimming the surface.
"A struggle all the way through."
this book was such hard work. could have been half as long which may have made it bearable! wouldn't recommend
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