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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 (2316 )
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Performance
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  •  
    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.

    ratings
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    24
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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
  •  
    Pat Odem, TX, United States 01-03-12
    Pat Odem, TX, United States 01-03-12 Member Since 2011
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    1
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    "math & deciphering"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Make it into two or even three books.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Different voices for different characters.


    Have you listened to any of William Dufris’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    NO.


    Was Cryptonomicon worth the listening time?

    Yes


    Any additional comments?

    I did sleep through some of it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MPITA S.E. Wisconsin 10-25-11
    MPITA S.E. Wisconsin 10-25-11 Member Since 2014
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    "Hugely entertaining and pretty friggin' funny too"

    Only halfway through book but have to say this is one of the best audio books so far (out of about 50 or 60) that I've heard. I've listened to Snow Crash and was looking for something similar from this book. There's two stories running concurrently - one during World War 2 and another in relatively current time and I assume they will intersect. By the end of the book I may have a different view on the story but I'm having quite a bit of fun along the way. Lots of pithy humor, most of it pretty funny and delivered perfectly. There's a lot of 'nuts and bolts' stuff about encryption and theory dispersed through the first part of the book and if you're not into learning as you listen you may end up zoning-out during those parts.
    By the way, this is a really long book, good for me because I like 'em that way, bad for you if you're into short 'reads'.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gary Kelly 04-06-11
    Gary Kelly 04-06-11 Member Since 2014
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    "Better than I feared"

    Having been sometimes disappointed with previous re-reads (listens) of books I had really enjoyed in the past, I delayed getting this for some time. But this has been for me one of the most enjoyable audio books ever (and I have a few). Stephenson at his best. Well done all who were involved.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adrian Hammond, LA, United States 01-20-11
    Adrian Hammond, LA, United States 01-20-11
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    "Wonderful!!!"

    Great read. A great story with many interesting twists and turns. Great plot and story line.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William Hayward, CA, United States 01-08-11
    William Hayward, CA, United States 01-08-11 Member Since 2013
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    "Captures the Spirit of World War II Code Breakers"

    I really have enjoyed Stephenson’s Science Fiction: Snow Crash, Anathem, The Diamond Age etc.
    Cryptonomicon is not Science Fiction. It is a look at past and current technology with the same eye that Stephenson brings to future and alien technology. I have a PhD in Astrophysics, and I know the history of the world war II code breakers, Alan Turing, and in general what math and science geeks are like. I think Stephenson captures the spirit of all of these very well.
    I had to wait years for this to come out unabridged in Audible, but I am glad that I waited. The reader is great as well and I can't think of anything I would have wanted left out in an abridged version. Every word is worth hearing.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chadwick CARROLLTON, TX, United States 01-07-11
    Chadwick CARROLLTON, TX, United States 01-07-11 Member Since 2008
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    7
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    "Why is this book in the SciFi section?"

    The book is pretty good, hysterical at times, but why is this book in SciFi section? It has absolutely nothing to do with science Fiction???

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hope Niagara Park, Australia 12-17-10
    Hope Niagara Park, Australia 12-17-10 Member Since 2010
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    "a great reading of a great book."

    this is another excellent audio adaptation of Stephenson. I have read this before, in paper even, and enjoyed it. My enjoyment of the audio is infinitely greater though. The exuberance and humour of Stephenson that comes through in a good reading amazes me every time.

    Not only that, but this time around, I am getting all the little "in" jokes as the cast of characters, most of whom are descended from the characters in the Baroque Cycle, take the stage. Of course Cryptocomicon was written many years before the Baroque Cycle, so that makes this referential integrity the more impressive.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeremy Edwardsville, KS, United States 05-27-10
    Jeremy Edwardsville, KS, United States 05-27-10 Member Since 2010
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    "Wonderful trip down memory lane with a great story"

    Being a Unix admin for the past 15 years this book was a wonderful trip down memory lane intermixed into a wonderful story.

    I had got the abridged version of this book a few years ago from audible and like it but felt there was so much missing. Have the full version of the book made things make so much more sense.

    I can see why lots of people may have had problems with this book with as much explaining as done on things i think are basic. Being a Dwarf most likely means that those long technical explanation are something I can enjoy. Though it is possible that a none dwarf, elf or wizard would be able to enjoy the book even without have to understand all the technical bits. Not everyone needs to understand the equations on how to sleep with mary as long as Waterhouse understands it.

    This book is not for everyone but it can be a good glimpse into the mind or a unix computer geek.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
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