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 want to visit all the places in this book before I kick the bucket.If you like Submarines, Encryption, Jar-Heads, Dysfunctional Families, Encryption, Hacking, Jar-Heads who meat Ronald Reagan while high on Morphine, The Japaneses Art of Digging Holes...
There isn't any other book like this..honestly!
William is a Genius. The Voice of Bobby had me Saluting in my Car .. rolling down the window and shouting .. Sir! Yes Sir! to a small Asian Lady.. she was a not too impressed
I finally understood what the world is all about! Until this book, I was just a small amoeba swimming in the ocean, now I am a Super Nova!
25 Minute Commute to work ..this book took me 3 years to listen too! I have added all the places in this book to my Bucket list.
A good book, with a few hours removed.
He seems a bit self indulgent. Perhaps he is trying to express to the reader that he is an educated man?
I enjoyed the reader.
Good characters, good story overall.
Stick to the story, develop the characters. This book had so much potential, and so much distraction from it's flow.
I could not finish this book. With that said I feel it was well written. Neal Stephenson is very well versed on cryptology. Most of the story is related to this science. If the reader is not highly interested in cryptology, which I am not, then this book becomes more tedious than entertaining.
This should be an ultra classic for anyone who loves epic novels and literature about the role of technology and learning in history and culture. The linking of World War II and nearly present day (1990's) events in a plausible, but fictionalized, account of how cryptology has influenced history is engaging and interesting.
This is a very complex plot that is "timed well" in terms of the transitions from one character or time to another. The characters are believable, round, and are people who the reader can sympathize with and the plot seems relevant to world events that most curious people can connect with. When the plot turns away from a character who the reader is engaged in and back to another whose story the reader has been dying to continue, the reader is kept very much on the edge of their seat until the finale.
I'm not sure... I devour books too quickly to keep track of the narrators, but he did a great job. This was probably the best narration I have encountered in an audio book! The voices are memorable.
Sometimes lives are connected by threads as complex as secret code... and genius and humanity are found in strange places...
Stephenson is definitely a literary genius who transcends genera and should have a place among the great authors of many lifetimes.
I missed a few key points here and there throughout the book while daydreaming. The book does require more than your passive attention to enjoy.
The WW2 part of the book was fun and I enjoyed the characters. The present day characters were far less realistic and shallow. The main story / plot could use some condensing and organization (sorting out).
There was more than one time when I thought to myself "hurry up and be over". It seemed to carry on in places. Maybe the abridged version would be better.
Performance was great. Audible producers seem to have a big stable of some very good talent.
I like it even more than Snow Crash. The narrator does a fair job, but he reads Bobby Shaftoe as an imbecile and keeps mispronouncing 'eruditorum' as 'eruditorium' for some reason. Besides that, he does a pretty good job.
I really enjoy the way the author describes every event and thought from the perspective of the character. A tremendous amount of detail is paid to adding logical details about math, computer science, and technology in general from the early 30's up to the late 90's. It's a joy to read at times but becomes exhaustive at others.
Nope, it's more of a casual journey through the book rather than a captive tale that I was dying to listen to at every available moment.
Love to listen in the car and while exercising.
This is expertly written by a very talented author, and he's funny, making similes and metaphors that frequently made me smile and sometimes even laugh out loud. William Dufris is an outstanding narrator and his performance keeps this very enjoyable, but also very long (40 plus hours) from slogging into tedium. He has the timing of a stand up comedian.
I don't even know where to start. Crypto and geek from WW2 to present. Great characters, excellent performance.
I enjoyed William's performance - would be pleased to hear him again. Less enthusiastic about Stephenson...
the backstoy regarding WWII
The swedish conflict scene and "love" story.
No. It spent way too much time on unnecessary details.
I enjoyed William Difris' ability to perform multiple characters deftly. Even the rather goofy voice of Sargent Shaftco grew on me over time. He's a quality performer.
I felt like Neal Stephenson could have spent less time on such agonizing detail specific to code breaking, software firewalls, etc. Much of this detail didn't advance the story at all. He had a capable hand writing some of the action scenes and interpersonal dialogue. I truly wish he had spent more time on these parts of the books. From my own personal perspective, I dislike abridged versions of any book; but in this case - a much heavier hand by his editor would have helped the story along and allowed the listener to enjoy his capable creative abilities.
Finally, the finish of the story seemed a bit convenient - more like the author wanted to finish the book than provide a more complete view of what happened the various characters.
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