In 1942, Lawrence Pritchard Waterhouse - mathematical genius and young Captain in the U.S. Navy - is assigned to detachment 2702. It is an outfit so secret that only a handful of people know it exists, and some of those people have names like Churchill and Roosevelt. The mission of Watrehouse and Detatchment 2702 - commanded by Marine Raider Bobby Shaftoe - is to keep the Nazis ignorant of the fact that Allied Intelligence has cracked the enemy's fabled Enigma code. It is a game, a cryptographic chess match between Waterhouse and his German counterpart, translated into action by the gung-ho Shaftoe and his forces.
Fast-forward to the present, where Waterhouse's crypto-hacker grandson, Randy, is attempting to create a "data haven" in Southeast Asia - a place where encrypted data can be stored and exchanged free of repression and scrutiny. As governments and multinationals attack the endeavor, Randy joins forces with Shaftoe's tough-as-nails grandaughter, Amy, to secretly salvage a sunken Nazi submarine that holds the key to keeping the dream of a data haven afloat.
But soon their scheme brings to light a massive conspiracy, with its roots in Detachment 2702, linked to an unbreakable Nazi code called Arethusa. And it will represent the path to unimaginable riches and a future of personal and digital liberty...or to universal totalitarianism reborn.
A breathtaking tour de force, and Neal Stephenson's most accomplished and affecting work to date, Cryptonomicon is profound and prophetic, hypnotic and hyper-driven, as it leaps forward and back between World War II and the World Wide Web, hinting all the while at a dark day-after-tomorrow. It is a work of great art, thought, and creative daring.
©1999 Neil Stephenson (P)2009 Macmillan Audio
I'm a technician that does a lot of driving for his job. I use the "windshield" time to listen to audiobooks.
First I want to say that the narrator, William Dufris, is GREAT, which is a good thing because this book is over 40 hours long. It should have been 15 hours long, but the author meanders through out the book way too much. There is a 10 minute section in which one character thinks about the perfect cold milk to Cap'n Crunch ratio. For 10 solid minutes. I'm not kidding. Fortunately the tangent story telling that does not advance the plot is well written, but after awhile it just gets exhausting. By the time your done with this giant meandering story, you're glad it's over, and the end is really worth the 40+ hours of your life. Value wise, for one credit, it's a good deal, and as I stated William Dufris does a helluva job, so over all I'm giving it 4 stars because of the narration (5 stars), and the story (3 stars).
A solid story line
I could not keep track of the characters and the plot was elusive.
The narrator was good.
I do not have a clue.
A wasted credit.
YES! I'm a geek. This book is about geeks and geek things. It is long but you don't even notice after a while.
I don't have one. The book is so long that you end up associating with and growing fond of different ones.
I liked his performance of Bobby Shafto.
There are some pretty graphic scenes dealing with war that almost made me turn it off for the day numerous times.
I originally read this back when it first came out on paperback around the 2000 time-frame. I loved it then. But seeing the 42 hour timeline on this made me a bit hesitant. I only get to listen on my daily commute and this will be an eight week endeavor. The book just starts with a kick and keeps on going. I'm 1 hour away from the end and I really wish there was more story.
A lot of clever humor and an enjoyably punchy writing style, this book had me laughing out loud on a few occasions.
Potentially a good story
Ruined by the author's obvious problems with women and academia. I get it, you were one of those unloved nerds, but really, women aren't that bad once you get to know them, and all academics aren't really really stupid.
Listened to the book again after reading it (more than once) several years ago. The story holds up amazingly well,
I listened to this after listening to the complete Baroque Cycle (much better narration). I loved how everything fit together.
Do audio books have editors? Or are they producers? Either way, this recording needed a better one. There were mispronounced words throughout the book (TAH-GAL-OG not TAG-A-LOG. Type Nineteen U-Boat, Not Type EX-EYE-EX). Why does Enoch Root's Australian accent disappear?
This may have been a better book read than it is in audio. Keeping track of what year, country and land mass was difficult. I didn't listen past Part 3, Chapter 5.
Only the Nippponeze who survived 6 months in the jungle.
I read epic sci-fi and historic fiction, good non-fiction science, classic philosophy, history and little bits of what blows through my ears
If you care nothing for the events of WWII, nothing for cryptography, and nothing for technology then you might not want to choose this work. However, if you do, I'm betting you'll find a new appreciation for these subjects. Stephenson's scholarship, character development, humor, plain talk and refined insights weave an engaging tapestry.
Unfortunately the author has chosen to criss-cross the story back and forth through space and generations like a toddler with a crayon forgetting, perhaps, that we experience life in a forward directed line before we can remember it dis-jointly. This whiplash seems unnecessary and self-indulgent. I kept wishing I had started diagramming the story at the outset.
Compounding this problem, the audio book seems to have a considerable sequence error according to other listeners. I have not verified this against a paper copy, but recommend that a paperback or ebook should accompany this version.
I am not thrilled by Dufris' narration, but it is on aesthetic, not fundamental grounds. I found myself pulled out of the story over and over to roll my eyes. Perhaps he was channeling his author, or both of them were channeling the characters, letting a certain male adolscence take over what might have been a more expressive subtlety and literary state of mind.
All this said, I still really enjoyed the story and found that I really wished it had gone on long enough see what kind of people some of the characters became.
William Dufris did such a wonderful job with all the characters, I can't pick just one.
I loved this book, but is probably not everyone's cup of tea. I didn't want this one to end and will likely listen to it again. If Enigma Machine or the NSA mean nothing to you, likely you should skip this one.
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