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Alan Turing: The Enigma | [Andrew Hodges]

Alan Turing: The Enigma

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (577 )
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3.8 (515 )
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4.1 (510 )
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Performance
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  •  
    kyle love 04-11-15
    kyle love 04-11-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Incredible Story"
    What did you love best about Alan Turing: The Enigma?

    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.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Alan Turing: The Enigma?

    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.


    What does Gordon Griffin bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He uses several different voices for a few characters and delivers the story in a meaningful way.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, there are slow parts when he gets into very technical mathematical theories and problems.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John McGinley 04-06-15

    JMcGoo

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Overly comprehensive bio including the science"
    What made the experience of listening to Alan Turing: The Enigma the most enjoyable?

    Scientific detail


    What other book might you compare Alan Turing: The Enigma to and why?

    Any of the Enigma books


    What about Gordon Griffin’s performance did you like?

    Brit accent, but well done


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Valencia, CA, United States 09-28-14
    Michael Valencia, CA, United States 09-28-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Really well done"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    11 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sam Bend, OR, United States 03-22-15
    Sam Bend, OR, United States 03-22-15 Member Since 2011

    General Sam

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    "I Wish it Was Abridged"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Martin 03-06-15
    Martin 03-06-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Enjoyed the Book"

    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.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeremy tokyo 03-03-15
    Jeremy tokyo 03-03-15 Member Since 2011

    There was one chapter on cryptography and I found it fascinating...

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    "Too much math - too little Turing"
    What did you love best about Alan Turing: The Enigma?

    It's a very slow moving book, and I felt comfortable being able to pop in and out as I wished.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The most? - The WWII intelligence work.
    The least? - The chapters and chapters of math and logic theory...


    How could the performance have been better?

    Could have been more in keeping with the author's compassion...


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    So much more than you can even imagine!


    Any additional comments?

    I love this book, but I would probably have edited it down by half...

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    armyminusr 02-27-15
    armyminusr 02-27-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Too technical"

    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.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    BryinSiam 02-26-15
    BryinSiam 02-26-15

    Listen while I work, ride, drive & run.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Subtly trenchant"

    Disturbing, haunting, tantalizing. Excellently read. Worthy of multiple reads. Film imitation game a tasty sample only. Consume both if you dare.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    T. F. Boulden 02-15-15

    tboulden

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    "On numerous occasions words are misspoken"

    The overall performance is actually very good, but if you read the book along with the audio, you'll see that on numerous occasions a word is misread aloud changing the overall meaning of a sentence or making the sentence completely unintelligible.

    8 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SrCit 02-18-15
    SrCit 02-18-15
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    "Tragic story, well told"

    Summarizes the loss of a superb intellect to senseless homophobia. In his tragically shortened life, Turing, together with John Von Neumann laid out the architecture still used in all computers today. Where might we be today if this man had lived out a full lifespan?

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
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  • Rob W
    5/22/15
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    Story
    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gary
    Sydney, Australia
    5/16/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The only audio book I have not been able to finish"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Such an incredible story, but the writers have turned this into a monotonous historical marathon of facts. Way too much irrelevant detail. I only made it half way through.
    Good for any one who wants to know the history of mathematics in the 1940s


    Any additional comments?

    Can I have my money back please?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • S. Mynott
    5/14/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very well written but too long"

    Very well written but too long. Despite the author's self indulgent rambling frequently losing focus on his subject this is an excellent book. A ruthless editor could have made it a great book. The reader did a fine job although his American accent needs some work!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Kaygee
    5/10/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "To much for a leisure listener!!"
    What was most disappointing about Andrew Hodges’s story?

    I saw the movie which was brilliant and was left wanting more. I'm afraid this book didn't give it. There were just too many lists of mathematics and not much story. My husband told me he just skipped huge chunks. I didn't do that because I wanted the story to flow. But I'm afraid I just gave up. I'm still interested in his story so maybe a less Mathematical one would be more to my liking!!


    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Gledders
    Chelmsford, UK
    5/9/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great performance. Major flaw in the story."

    The bits I understood were very well written. But the huge chunks of mathematics left me totally floundering. I'm not a scientist nor am I much good at maths. I very nearly gave up on this book during the maths parts.
    The book is excellently narrated by a gent with a very commanding yet soothing voice. His American accent leaves a lot to be desired though :-)
    All in all, if you don't mind zoning out from the tech stuff, or you understand it, then it's a good listen.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    Swansea United Kingdom
    5/2/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A unique story"

    This is a unique story. A man who changed the course of WW2 and who invented computer science. A man treated disgracefully by 1940s 1950s Britain.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Billy Macauley
    4/28/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Two parts dry dissertation one part human struggle"
    What did you like best about Alan Turing: The Enigma? What did you like least?

    Technical detail inhibited the flow of the real story The struggle of genius in a manners dominated society was compelling painting the picture of how privilege coccooned Turing whilst controlling his engagement with an evolving world.


    Would you recommend Alan Turing: The Enigma to your friends? Why or why not?

    I would recommend the early narrative as a window into the intellectual dominance of Private Schools and consequent political power.Latter details on evolution of mathematical thought was too dry and protracted for my taste.This was a problem of my own making.


    What three words best describe Gordon Griffin’s voice?

    Business like, clipped ,concerned.


    If this book were a film would you go see it?

    Yes.


    Any additional comments?

    Glad I chose the book as a convincing commentary of manners and society. Less enthralled by Dusty theoretical constructions.

    Ultimately charts the victory of intolerance over ascetic devotion.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. S. Wallace-jones
    United Kingdom
    4/12/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "If you enjoyed the film"

    As so often the book explores what Alan Turing's life meant so much more deeply than the film made in 2014. It also provides great insight into how British life changed during the first half of the twentieth century and allows us to see how society has developed in the last 60 years.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ben
    3/25/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good"

    Bit tough to follow in the middle but gives a very through account of Alan Turing's life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr Unagi
    London, England
    3/15/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very interesting"

    It was a great listen, I just felt it was 10 hours too long. There were quite a few moments where I felt this part of the story doesn't need to be told.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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