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Cryptonomicon Audiobook

Cryptonomicon

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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

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  •  
    Michael Russell 05-21-16 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A COLOSSAL WASTE OF TIME"

    Except for a few chapters, the story is just page after page of the author's written indulgence. Too many words with too little impact. Like the author, the narrator worked very hard, but his voices were usually over the top and often irritating. Ok, they earned my $14.95 . . . But I would like my 42hrs back!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Billy SEATTLE, WA United States 05-03-16
    Billy SEATTLE, WA United States 05-03-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Interesting, but it ultimately goes nowhere."

    While I enjoyed many aspects of this book, including the characters and different time periods used, it was overall a letdown as the story just peters out and doesn't really leave me satisfied.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Classics Rock Washington, D.C. 03-31-16
    Classics Rock Washington, D.C. 03-31-16 Member Since 2011
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    "A big investment"

    I read the book on the recommendation of an IT friend thinking that it would be more about cyber. They did talk quite a bit about cyber and although I found those portions to be interesting, they were a little disjointed and really seemed more to be an excuse to talk about sex and masturbation. A popular topic, to be sure, but not really important to the story. After I'd finished, my first thought was about the 40+ hours I'd spent listening to it and how many other books I could've listened to during that time.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Book fan 02-14-16
    Book fan 02-14-16

    book fan

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    "Good book - chapters STILL in wrong order."

    While the book is quite good, Audible has still not fixed the out of order chapters people have noted before. Selling defective books is really not acceptable.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim 01-04-16
    Tim 01-04-16 Member Since 2013
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    "Loved the book, but not the reader's Japanese"
    Did William Dufris do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    I think he was doing a fine job until he got to the Japanese. Here he totally butchered all of the names. It is one thing if they were filtered through the American characters ability, or lack thereof, to pronounce Japanese, but when during Goto Dengo’s storyline Ninomiya became Ninomaya I turned off the book. I’m not looking for perfection, but that was just horrible. I eventually went back to listening because I really wanted to know the rest of the story, becuase I really, really loved this book, and didn’t have the printed book at hand.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ken22 06-24-15
    ken22 06-24-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Fun,educational and relevant"

    Full of dynamic characters and historical fact. Excellent humor and pragmatism. Bobby Shafto is my hero. The reading is done masterfully.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. Zeimen 06-23-15
    M. Zeimen 06-23-15
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    "Even his minutia is interesting!"
    Which scene was your favorite?

    Shaftoe's debrief by a certain Army Lieutenant.


    Any additional comments?

    This is the first Neal Stephenson book I've read or listened to and I found it absolutely enthralling. The author's sense of humor is such that I often found the minutia (this is a long book and there is a lot of minutia) of the story captivating and hilarious. His character development is among the best I've read/listened to.

    As a life-long member of the geeky introvert club I found his characterization of that archetype to be particularly enlightening, funny and just spot on.

    I've since picked up Snow Crash and couldn't finish it. I guess the post cyber punk thing isn't for me, but I will certainly be picking up all his other historical fiction works.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter Collegeville, PA, United States 03-04-13
    Peter Collegeville, PA, United States 03-04-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Nerd Lit Nicely Blended with Historical Fiction"

    The story unfolds in parallel threads, existing in the past and the recent-present, that reveal the plot in a fun way. Stephenson takes you all over the world and across time while letting you get to know some fun personalities. All of this happens at a brisk pace that will keep the listener engaged.

    If you enjoy the idea of cyphers, the pre-history of computers and learning about some contemporary technology this book will entertain you. But don't assume that it's all about the tech. It's full of activity, from diving, combat, digging, hacking and excellent conversation.

    William Dufris is a gifted narrator (I rarely encounter anything less with Audible these days) who expertly reads while inhabiting a large variety of characters of different sex and nationality. He's a one-man acting troupe, but you won't be cognizant of his efforts. You'll just enjoy the narrative.

    The bottom line is that I looked for opportunities to listen to this whenever I could and I was sad when it was all over.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Framingham, MA, United States 08-19-12
    Amazon Customer Framingham, MA, United States 08-19-12 Member Since 2005
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    "I got really into it, but not until late"

    I've read a lot of Neal Stephenson, so I knew to expect brilliant writing that didn't necessarily go anywhere for a while. I'll say this, for once he didn't write a terrible ending. Maybe it's not brilliant, but it wasn't one of his books that falls apart at the end.

    I really liked the book, but I really went on faith through hours, and hours, of narration. I commented a number of times to my husband, a computer scientist, that I'm not really enough of a geek for this book. Also, that I knew he'd love it, because he is.

    I was engaged in the story, but not in that ignore my family and responsibilities way, until the middle of the second to last download. At that point, the characters finally took on life for me, and I really cared about what was happening.

    I would be cautious in my recommendation to read this. For Stephenson fans or for those very interested in the history of computers and cryptology, I'd say it's a definite read. For others, I'm not sure they would want to get through the long descriptions.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim United States 06-29-12
    Tim United States 06-29-12 Member Since 2011

    Do you read the book before you dislike my reviews?

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Just So Good"

    Cryptonomicon is just so good. I was expecting a cyberpunk story, but I wasn't expecting to learn the crazy math, history of computers and war. It feels like reading about the Vietnam War and the Nazi with the infrastructure of code breaking on a data island, but set in the past.

    There are some laugh out loud moments. For example, the theory of masturbation was totally funny. Cryptonomicon almost felt like it was written as a comedy, thriller action, that only geeks will like. The story is not so hard to follow because you can quickly get into the plot.

    The best way to describe Cryptonomicon is, imagine a techno geek in the Second World War, but with modern day inventions to win the digital war.

    To sum up this review, if Neal Stephenson needed a director for the movie, Quentin Tarantino would be a good match because the book almost reads like a mockery of an adaptation of history on WWII. Poking fun at the Nazi madness.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
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  • daniel
    Guildford, United Kingdom
    8/6/15
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    "Loved it!"

    A marathon listen....this is a Very long tale.from the start it grabbed me and never let go,great characters woven between WW2 and the near present day.as others have said it tends to ramble at times,but in my opinion this adds to its appeal.Some parts are very math based but don't let that put you off,I'm a numerical dunce and still loved it.The narration is superb,witty,dry and brilliantly done.if you're looking for something out of the ordinary that will entertain you for all its nearly 43 hour length give this a go...you won't regret it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    UK
    7/20/15
    Overall
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    "One for the crypto-geeks?"

    I don't know. There's so much technical content that it seems to be aimed at programmers and cryptography enthusiasts. I, being a true geek, was already familiar with this stuff - so it is a bit tedious to have these things explained at length. On the other hand, I can't imagine it being interesting to someone who is new to it all - especially when so little of it contributes to the plot.

    There are a few annoying mis-pronunciations by the reader, but the performance is mostly OK.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dr. James OCallaghan
    Ireland
    6/7/15
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    "Loved it"

    Odd story. Seems disparate to begin with but folds together perfectly at the end. Ending was a little rushed but otherwise perfect.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ben Horton
    11/30/14
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    Story
    "Depth and detail with an enthralling story"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would recommend this book to most of my friends, for some it may be to techie.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The way the the author manages to span multiple timelines and geographic locations, then weave it all together into a coherant story.


    What does William Dufris bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    I read the book soon after it was released. The narration matches my own characterisation of the protagonist which makes the audio book a very pleasant listen.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes - but it is a long one so probably not possible


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Benjamin
    STOKE ON TRENT, United Kingdom
    10/25/14
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    Performance
    Story
    "nerdy and dull"

    I am a nerd - I like IT and I like Crypto but I am so bored with this book. It just rambles on and on and on. I stop listening to it for a couple of weeks then try again and it seems to be just the same on and on.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Robert Jenkins
    8/8/14
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    Performance
    Story
    "very very good"
    What did you like most about Cryptonomicon?

    Terrific! Reminds me of the world according to garp in the rambling story that focuses on the personal interaction and the small stuff whilst the big stuff is going on the background. I'm late to this author but will be catching up quickly.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Simon
    Singapore, Singapore
    8/6/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Probably the best way to tackle this behemoth!"

    Having read Stephenson's Quicksilver over a couple of months and having tried to get going on Anathem (currently put to one side, but that's partly because it's a hard copy brick) I thought this would be a good medium for Stephenson's brilliant but voluminous style. Boy was I right! I typically listen to audiobooks for about 2 hours a day (commuting) but sometimes a little more when I travel for work. This must have taken me over a month, but I really enjoyed it and was quite sad when it was all over.

    In a way it doesn't feel like one immensely long opus, because there are actually 2-3 different narrative strands being brought together here, each of which has its own eddies and diversions. Stephenson loves to fit in some (sometimes gratuitous) mathematical and scientific digressions, which I personally enjoy, but I imagine could be a bit tiresome if you're really just looking for character and plot.

    Fundamentally, this is a tale of the interaction of mathematics with the material world and of the impact that this apparently theoretical discipline can and does have on the world in which we live. There's quite a bit of philosophy and history thrown in too. Stephenson always writes with the assumption that his readers are as curious about everything as he himself is and seems to be at his best when exploring the hows and whys. His characters are vehicles for this and work perfectly well, if they're a little flat at times, this rarely feels like it really matters.

    William Dufris's reading really brings the whole thing to life and simply being able to sit back and absorb the story, rather than wading through a punishing 1000-odd pages of novel is a much more manageable way to enjoy this book. For me, anyway.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • stuart
    LONDON, United Kingdom
    7/12/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Philosophical, geeky, gripping"
    Would you listen to Cryptonomicon again? Why?

    I'm considering re-listening to Cryptonomicon right away. It's a completely immersive experience and it's one of the only audiobooks where I could just sit an listen without needing to do something else at the same time.


    What did you like best about this story?

    each storyline is gripping and they connect together in satisfying ways. There is a grand, philosophical arc to the story expressed in its own way in each narrative of the book, but there is also great small scale detail which adds lightness and accessibility.


    What does William Dufris bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    William Dufris is an excellent narrator. He manages to give each main character his own distinctive voice (though Bobby Shaftoe probably sounds a little dumb). I especially liked the theatrical, surreal quality he brings to Douglas McArthur.


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    If the world is on the line, make sure the geeks are on your side.


    Any additional comments?

    I've listened to a lot of audiobooks and this one may be my favourite.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Celia
    Johannesburg, South Africa
    7/2/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Tied my mind in knots trying to keep track"

    I am not a stranger to Neal Stephenson and enjoy the off-the-wall way he looks at technology. His ability to turn events that appear normal into Sci-fi or mystery is uncanny. But this book ... whew ... I could not keep up with the characters and the story line. I realised early on that we were switching between the 1940's and 1990's, but this realisation did not clarify any of the events for me. I enjoyed his explanations of technology. I like the twists he puts into his explanations. But in between these explanations, I could not work out "who was who".

    I also found that his male protagonists are quite mysogonistic. As the events unfolded, I found myself questioning why the women introduced into the story were one-dimensional, predictable, and seemingly only there for sex. It became more and more irritating, until after about 35 hours of listening, I abandoned the book.

    I hate abandoning books, particularly Neal Stephenson, because I know somewhere in the last 7 hours 53 minutes there would have been a mind-numbing, incredibly unusual take on technology or science. I can't tell you what it is, because his sexist approach to women, and the confusing story, made we want to take a rest. Which I did.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Paul
    United Kingdom
    2/5/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Stunning"
    What did you like most about Cryptonomicon?

    The narrator, William Dufris. This book was amazing in itself, but Kramer really did a number on this. I can easily imagine myself not having enjoyed the book as much were it not for being able to hear his performance.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Waterhouse, the socially inept little nerd, loved him right from the start, and it wasn't long before I grew to enjoy every single section featuring sergeant Shaftoe as well.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    The fog horn mounted on 'there but for the grace of god'


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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