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Alan Turing: The Enigma: The Book That…

Alan Turing: The Enigma: The Book That Inspired the Film The Imitation… (edition 2014)

by Andrew Hodges (Author), Andrew Hodges (Preface), Douglas Hofstadter (Foreword)

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1,787266,558 (3.94)61
It is only a slight exaggeration to say that the British mathematician Alan Turing (1912-1954) saved the Allies from the Nazis, invented the computer and artificial intelligence, and anticipated gay liberation by decades--all before his suicide at age forty-one. This classic biography of the founder of computer science, reissued on the centenary of his birth with a substantial new preface by the author, is the definitive account of an extraordinary mind and life. A gripping story of mathematics, computers, cryptography, and homosexual persecution, Andrew Hodges's acclaimed book captures both the inner and outer drama of Turing's life. Hodges tells how Turing's revolutionary idea of 1936--the concept of a universal machine--laid the foundation for the modern computer and how Turing brought the idea to practical realization in 1945 with his electronic design. The book also tells how this work was directly related to Turing's leading role in breaking the German Enigma ciphers during World War II, a scientific triumph that was critical to Allied victory in the Atlantic. At the same time, this is the tragic story of a man who, despite his wartime service, was eventually arrested, stripped of his security clearance, and forced to undergo a humiliating treatment program--all for trying to live honestly in a society that defined homosexuality as a crime.… (more)
Title:Alan Turing: The Enigma: The Book That Inspired the Film The Imitation Game - Updated Edition
Authors:Andrew Hodges (Author)
Other authors:Andrew Hodges (Preface), Douglas Hofstadter (Foreword)
Info:Princeton University Press (2014), Edition: Revised ed., 762 pages
Collections:Your library

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Alan Turing, the Enigma by Andrew Hodges

  1. 31
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    souloftherose: Historical fictional/thriller set in Bletchley Park during WWII
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» See also 61 mentions

English (23)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (25)
Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
The question if you will like this book basically comes down to one decision: Do you actually want to know the technical and scientific details of what Turing did? If yes, this is the book for you. It contains a lot of details on why the concept of Turing Machines was invented, which problem they solved, how the cryptoanalysis of the Enigma worked, et cetera. If you get bored already thinking about this, stay away from this book.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book. In places it gave a bit too many details, but those were usually long descriptions of his private life and philosophical excursions of the author. As for the nitty-gritty technical details, the book gave a LOT of details (which I wanted). It's still a tad shy of explaining the whole cryptoanalysis process that led to breaking the Enigma, but it gave enough details to get an understanding of how the concept worked.

If this sounds like a book for you, go ahead and buy it. You will probably not find a better book for this purpose. Just be prepared to read a lot of personal History of Turing (which is to be expected for a biography) before you get to the technical stuff. ( )
  malexmave | Oct 3, 2019 |
If I were not deeply interested in the history of computer science in general, and Alan Turing in particular, I think I'd find this book rather dull.

I did want to know more about his relationships with his fellow students, co-workers and friends, but frankly the movie was more revealing on those points.

I enjoyed the book, but be warned, a lot of the interesting bits are in the math and in knowing what the profound implications of his early research were to become. As the Father of modern Computer Science we all owe a debt to this man. ( )
  nora_in_vancouver | Dec 31, 2018 |
When I saw the movie, The Imitation Game, I became fascinated by Alan Turing. Being such a bookworm, my first thought was that I should read the book, expecting more depth and detail about Mr. Turing's life. I was very disappointed. This book goes into a lot of depth -- about mathematical problems and equations -- but all the interesting aspects of Mr. Turing's life were in the movie. The book is very long and , at times, boring. Alan Turing, however, remains a fascinating person and when the book dealt with his actual life, it was very interesting. ( )
1 vote LynnB | Feb 4, 2017 |
I give up. I don't like this book. It's too long. They author needed to be a little more discriminate in what he included instead of throwing noodles at the wall and hoping they'd stick. ( )
  beckyrenner | Dec 29, 2016 |
This is a very detailed biography of Alan Turing. I was given the paperback as a present but struggled to read enough of it at a time to follow the thread. Listening to audiobooks while standing around at the park or out running is my way around that, so when it came up on sale I bought it. There is quite a lot of mathematical theory in the book, which I found fascinating. And it really comes across how revolutionary Turing's thinking was, both in his work and in his private life. However, I would say it is just too long (37 hours in audio) with more background information than is required. While it was interesting to read details of the global political situation of the 1940s and 50s, much of that information was superfluous to the aims of the book, likewise the history of homosexuality as expressed in literature. A good book, but it would be improved by some harsh editing. ( )
  eclecticdodo | Aug 29, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
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Andrew Hodgesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Silverman, RobertCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To thee old cause! [from Walt Whitman]
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A son of the British Empire, Alan Turing's social origins lay just on the borderline between the landed gentry and the commercial classes.
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ONE: The logical -- Esprit de Corps: to 13 February 1930 -- The spirit of truth: to 14 April 1936 -- New men: to 3 September 1939 -- The relay race: to 10 November 1942 -- Bridge passage: to 1 April 1943 -- TWO: The physical -- Running up: to 2 September 1945 -- Mercury delayed: to 2 October 1948 -- The Greenwood tree: to 7 February 1952 -- On the beach: to 7 June 1954 -- Postscript.
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