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Cryptonomicon | [Neal Stephenson]

Cryptonomicon

Neal Stephenson hacks into the secret histories of nations and the private obsessions of men, decrypting with dazzling virtuosity the forces that shaped this century.
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Publisher's Summary

Neal Stephenson hacks into the secret histories of nations and the private obsessions of men, decrypting with dazzling virtuosity the forces that shaped this century.

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

What the Critics Say

  • Locus Award, Best Novel, 2000

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (2917 )
5 star
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4.3 (2196 )
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Story
4.4 (2169 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
 (41)
Performance
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  •  
    george United States 05-27-14
    george United States 05-27-14 Member Since 2011

    I'm a technician that does a lot of driving for his job. I use the "windshield" time to listen to audiobooks.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    74
    ratings
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    61
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    Story
    "Could've used an editor"

    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).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jolae 05-11-14
    Jolae 05-11-14 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
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    477
    14
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    0
    1
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    Story
    "I could not finish it"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    A solid story line


    What was most disappointing about Neal Stephenson’s story?

    I could not keep track of the characters and the plot was elusive.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    The narrator was good.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Cryptonomicon?

    I do not have a clue.


    Any additional comments?

    A wasted credit.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joseph Good McKinney, TX United States 05-09-14
    Joseph Good McKinney, TX United States 05-09-14 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Hesitant at first but re-fell in love with this"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    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.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I don't have one. The book is so long that you end up associating with and growing fond of different ones.


    Which character – as performed by William Dufris – was your favorite?

    I liked his performance of Bobby Shafto.


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

    There are some pretty graphic scenes dealing with war that almost made me turn it off for the day numerous times.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Inge 04-15-14
    Inge 04-15-14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    12
    3
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    Story
    "poor narration"

    I might have enjoyed this book more with a better narrator, although it does get bogged down in the middle. I may not finish listening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Tharpe Roswell, GA 03-21-14
    James Tharpe Roswell, GA 03-21-14 Member Since 2012

    James

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Clever and Fun"

    A lot of clever humor and an enjoyably punchy writing style, this book had me laughing out loud on a few occasions.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sean Curry 03-15-14
    Sean Curry 03-15-14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    36
    8
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Sorry, I Really Tried to Like It"
    Would you try another book from Neal Stephenson and/or William Dufris?

    No


    Would you ever listen to anything by Neal Stephenson again?

    No


    Did William Dufris do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    Yes


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Potentially a good story


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kindle Customer 02-27-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    6
    3
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    "Disappointing Narration"
    What did you like best about Cryptonomicon? What did you like least?

    Listened to the book again after reading it (more than once) several years ago. The story holds up amazingly well,


    What did you like best about this story?

    I listened to this after listening to the complete Baroque Cycle (much better narration). I loved how everything fit together.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    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?


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan provo, ut, United States 02-18-14
    Susan provo, ut, United States 02-18-14 Member Since 2009
    ratings
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    103
    3
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    Story
    "DISJOINTED"
    What disappointed you about Cryptonomicon?

    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.


    Has Cryptonomicon turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Not necessarily


    Would you be willing to try another one of William Dufris’s performances?

    Of course.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Only the Nippponeze who survived 6 months in the jungle.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Heidi Maple Valley, WA, United States 01-15-14
    Heidi Maple Valley, WA, United States 01-15-14 Member Since 2013

    I read epic sci-fi and historic fiction, good non-fiction science, classic philosophy, history and little bits of what blows through my ears

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fun, informative, captivating, disjoint."

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stolen Fire Arroyo Grande, CA United States 01-14-14
    Stolen Fire Arroyo Grande, CA United States 01-14-14 Member Since 2013

    stolenfire

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Didn't want it to end"
    Where does Cryptonomicon rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Top 10%


    Which character – as performed by William Dufris – was your favorite?

    William Dufris did such a wonderful job with all the characters, I can't pick just one.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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