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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

4.2 (2413 )
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  •  
    Mark Mirboo North, Australia 07-22-12
    Mark Mirboo North, Australia 07-22-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    ratings
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    "Great in parts but difficult to get through"
    Would you try another book from Neal Stephenson and/or William Dufris?

    Possibly if the reviews were good.


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

    No.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    There were many interesting and fun parts of the story. Anytime Bobby Shafto appeared the story was great.


    Could you see Cryptonomicon being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    This would not make a good movie unless it was subject to some serious editing.


    Any additional comments?

    The story was about two times too long and suffered from the authors interest the details of codes. It could have been good.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sam Bend, OR, United States 06-01-12
    Sam Bend, OR, United States 06-01-12 Member Since 2011

    General Sam

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    "An Audio Page Turner"
    Any additional comments?

    This is one of the best books ever. I listened to the 44 plus hours in about a week. Thought about the book for a few days, and then listened to it again. The book follows no formula, is multi-toned, and is nothing like anything else I’ve ever encountered. I can’t imagine anyone but William Dufris as the narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    bionichands washington, d.c. area 05-23-12
    bionichands washington, d.c. area 05-23-12 Member Since 2009

    procrastinator

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great book that holds up well"

    I first read this book ten years ago, and it made a big impression. I was glad upon revisiting the audio version that the story still holds up so well. The complex narrative is really something of a masterpiece.

    I thought this was especially good in audio format. I remember reading the book that there were long passages of formulas and hard to pronounce names like Ghnxh. Dufris does a great job with all of that. His narration is excellent, especially his voice for Bobby Shaftoe. I forgot what a funny character he was in the book. Even funnier narrated by Dufris.

    I was reminded listening to this book that it really doesn't need to be filed away in the sci-fi section. There's really nothing sci-fi about it other than some of the characters being computer geeks and cryptographers. Its a touch of historical fiction, techno-thriller and a dash of Catch-22.

    Anyway, unfortunate that this one costs you two credits, but well worth it for this dense, complex tale that you can definitely listen to more than once.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DragonHatchery@yahoo.com Eastern Tennessee 05-03-12
    DragonHatchery@yahoo.com Eastern Tennessee 05-03-12
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    3
    3
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    "Worth the time (if you have a lot of it)"

    This is a LONG audiobook. And I enjoyed every minute. The story weaves together one generation of WWII cryptologists (and a bad-ass Marine with a heart of gold) with a modern time group of computer nerds intent on storing data in the Phillipeans (and finding a river of gold). You have to hear it to believe it.

    The narration is quite good. There are some mindrattling mispronounciations, but the reader makes a real effort to vary his voice for each character, and does a creditable job -- even with the women. I live in Tennessee, and don't recall hearing anyone with quite the accent of Bobby Shafto, but enjoyed every minute of his dialogue.

    One reviewer noted some omissions in the narrative. I wrote Audible before I bought it and they assured me the omissions had been repaired. I didn't have the printed book to confirm this, but I noticed nothing being left out.

    This book is worth your time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ted Lancaster, PA, United States 05-03-12
    Ted Lancaster, PA, United States 05-03-12 Member Since 2010

    Don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Trip's cool though. Use Audible to make gym-training sane... And rip my imagination.

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    "Neil Stephenson Knows A Lot About A Lot !!!"

    This is very long, perhaps too long. But like Stephenson's editor - I can't imagine what could have been cut. Stephenson is maybe a genius. He doesn't write so much as weave.. and the tapestry is complex. Yet... thanks in part to William Dufris read, I was always comfortable moving over the abrupt pattern and texture changes. Interestingly Stephenson not only manages a vast historically accessible cast and setting(s) but he has a voice that's effectively droll. This is my second Stephenson book... Reamde was first. I recommend them in that order not so much that they are in any way related re. plot or characters, but Reamde is an introduction to Stephenson's astonishing grasp of so much in a shorter/smaller work. I recommend it and him and Dufris and ... Cryptonomicon.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary 05-02-12
    Mary 05-02-12
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    "A fun read"

    This story is a tale of fantasy, both past and present--what you'd like to imagine life will be, but it never is. Fun to read (listen). Unexpected twists. When he ties it all up at the end, you just have to smile.

    The math/crypto explanations get a little tedious - nothing to explain unless you missed high school math - but the characters are unusual, interesting, and a bit wacky.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debra B 04-23-12
    Debra B 04-23-12 Member Since 2014
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    "It was all about the 'tude"
    Any additional comments?

    The narrator did a great job making the most of the abundant irony/sarcasm/humor that abounds in this book. I've never read anything by Neal Stephenson before because I am not totally into all the tech stuff, but after this book, I will again. Just first let me rest for a few months - this book moves at a maniac pace.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kauaijim Lihue, HI, United States 03-18-12
    Kauaijim Lihue, HI, United States 03-18-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Totally entertaining"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Cryptonomicon to be better than the print version?

    I read it a few years ago and have recently listened to the Audible edition . Enjoyed the Audible experience more. Not better, just different.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Cryptonomicon?

    Waterhouse with Turing at IAS.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Bobby's many adventures are all great.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Bobby reunites with Goto on baseball field.


    Any additional comments?

    Neil Stephenson is one of the most creative writers of the last fifty years.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Graton, CA, United States 02-08-12
    Jeff Graton, CA, United States 02-08-12 Member Since 2013

    Sixty years young. Surfer, Kayaker, Abalone diver, Backpacker. Rabid reader/listener. I love Sci-Fi and Fantasy.

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    "My favorite book of all time"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Cryptonomicon to be better than the print version?

    Yes, the characters become so much more alive in the audio format. I love the print edition, but the audiobook is richer .


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Can't choose just one:Bobby Shafto, flawed determination, horny junkie. Both Waterhouse men( Lawrence,Randy) nerds as men of action. America Shafto, the woman of my dreams! Enoch Root, comic immortality, morality. Goto Dengo, just all around great character.
    The U-boat Kapitane is killer too.


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

    Bobby Shafto


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

    Both many times.


    Any additional comments?

    Some tough sections to get through early in the book where the math gets a bit deep but worth the effort. a masterpiece

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Grand Rapids, MN, United States 01-10-12
    Paul Grand Rapids, MN, United States 01-10-12 Member Since 2014
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    "Good read not to long"

    Good characters fast moving fun you get to know the players you want to and not the lesser ones. Paul T.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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