Alan Turing: The Enigma

Alan Turing The Enigma Alan Turing was a British mathematician who made history His breaking of the German U boat Enigma cipher in World War II ensured Allied American control of the Atlantic But Turing s vision wen

  • Title: Alan Turing: The Enigma
  • Author: Andrew Hodges Douglas R. Hofstadter
  • ISBN: 9780802775801
  • Page: 304
  • Format: Paperback
  • Alan Turing 1912 54 was a British mathematician who made history His breaking of the German U boat Enigma cipher in World War II ensured Allied American control of the Atlantic But Turing s vision went far beyond the desperate wartime struggle Already in the 1930s he had defined the concept of the universal machine, which underpins the computer revolution In 1945 heAlan Turing 1912 54 was a British mathematician who made history His breaking of the German U boat Enigma cipher in World War II ensured Allied American control of the Atlantic But Turing s vision went far beyond the desperate wartime struggle Already in the 1930s he had defined the concept of the universal machine, which underpins the computer revolution In 1945 he was a pioneer of electronic computer design But Turing s true goal was the scientific understanding of the mind, brought out in the drama and wit of the famous Turing test for machine intelligence and in his prophecy for the twenty first century.Drawn in to the cockpit of world events and the forefront of technological innovation, Alan Turing was also an innocent and unpretentious gay man trying to live in a society that criminalized him In 1952 he revealed his homosexuality and was forced to participate in a humiliating treatment program, and was ever after regarded as a security risk His suicide in 1954 remains one of the many enigmas in an astonishing life story.

    103 Comment

    • Mara says:

      Alan Turing 23 June, 1912 - 7 June, 1954Proximate Cause & Goodness of FitI'm not too proud to admit that the impetus for my picking up this biography was a trailer for the upcoming film on Alan Turing and his involvement with cracking the Enigma code during WWII (The Imitation Game). However, if you are interested exclusively (or even primarily) in the cryptanalytic exploits of Turing et al. at Bletchley Park then this is probably not — repeat not the Turing book for you.While Andrew Hodge [...]

    • Brendon Schrodinger says:

      Let me introduce you to Alan. He is a quiet and shy man, but one who mainly gets along with his colleagues. He is determined to tackle large questions and finds that his understanding of mathematics and logic can be applied to aspects of the universe around him, especially in areas that people would deem too messy and without any logic. He is a great proponent of going back to first principles when approaching problems also.This book has been on my radar for years now. I found it after one of th [...]

    • Nick Pageant says:

      This was a fascinating book. I'm not really recommending it because I thought it was overly complicated and I'm not sure that a lot of people will want to spend half of their reading time on the way I did. I only understood about a quarter of the many, many mathematical concepts that were discussed, at exhausting length, in the book. Still, I'm glad to know more about the man who contributed so much to computer science. He had a fascinating, tragic life. Great book, but be prepared for some hea [...]

    • Will says:

      To read this is to feel humbled, not just by Alan Turing’s brilliant mind, but also by the years of dedicated work that Andrew Hodges put into this biography. At 700-plus pages, including a massive number of footnotes and references which are themselves a fund of fascinating information, it is dense going however, and probably not for everyone, although I found it totally absorbing**. Here finally (well, not really “finally” as it was written in 1983) was someone who could explain Turing [...]

    • Diane says:

      I loved this book. I was almost afraid to read it after others said how difficult it was to understand the math sections, but I found those to be fascinating. If math had been taught this way in my schools, I would have enjoyed it a lot more. I even read some of the maths bits to my husband!As to Turing's life, I very much enjoyed reading about that, too. I wish I had known him. The way his mind works just took my breath away. I found myself going back over paragraphs, just to make certain I wou [...]

    • Holly says:

      That's certainly cleared up a lot of the questions I had following the film. It concerns me that Cumberbatch's Turing seemed to stray dramatically from biographical evidence. The film paints him in a dangerously stereotypical way, as the lone genius, unable to work well with others and with little care for his fellow humans. It would seem the Turing was a well-liked person, albeit one who didn't care very much what people thought of him, especially concerning his sexuality. If you saw and enjoye [...]

    • Bettie☯ says:

      (view spoiler)[Bettie's BooksThe shelving, status updates and star rating constitute how I felt about this book. (hide spoiler)]

    • Michael says:

      I watched The Imitation Game last week and I was left in awe, and slightly ashamed of myself for not knowing the contribution of Alan Turing to the war efforts and the advent of the computer age. After the film i bought this book and a few others in order to get to know more about the brilliant man and the code-breaking that went on during WW2. This is an extremely well-written and detailed book, and while a little heavy of the maths side there is nothing not to be expected from a biography abou [...]

    • Brian says:

      (4.5) Quite a thorough biography, I prefer the Bletchley Park period, but quite complete picture of his lifeI only have a couple of complaints. The book is quite lengthy. I feel that some digressions into the politics at his boarding school, for example, weren't worth diving into to explain the effect it had on his presence there. Hodges also employs this extended mixed metaphor intertwining Alice in Wonderland (apropos), Wizard of Oz (less so), among others. Not sure it helped to continue refer [...]

    • Traci Haley says:

      This biography was a struggle to get through. I picked it up in audiobook form in anticipation of The Imitation Game hitting theaters this fall. I didn't immediately realise how long and thorough it would be, though I knew I was venturing into a topic I knew very little about.Here's the thing -- the parts of this biography that deal with Alan Turing's personal life are EXTREMELY interesting and well researched. I loved how detailed they were and found it a fascinating portrait of a man I knew ve [...]

    • Arwen56 says:

      Una biografia sicuramente esaustiva e particolareggiata, ma che tende a esaurire un po’ il lettore, almeno quello che, come me, non è ferratissimo in campo scientifico, e che penalizza in parte l’effettivo emergere della personalità di Alan Turing, che fino alla fine, comprese le motivazioni del suo suicidio, resta un enigma. D’altro canto, come ben chiarisce l’autore nella sua nota finale, il materiale a disposizione è relativamente scarso. Questo, unito all’indubbia riservatezza e [...]

    • Nooilforpacifists says:

      Ponderous in places, fast moving in others, this is the best attempt to capture Turing the man and mathematician. Always awkward; always shy in social situations, he grew to be "a man with a quite powerful build, yet with with the movements of an ' undergraduate' or a 'boy', without an attractive face.A scholarship boy to a "public (i.e private) school", Turing suffered the humiliations familiar (since Arnold's day) to any boy who was a loner and terrible at team sports. He hero worshiped (and m [...]

    • Ishiro Suzuki says:

      What a beautiful, kind, compassionate and wonderfully written biography. I cried when I read it, and when I think about it. I like biographies in general, but this one touched a special spot. You cannot but feel awed at the greatness of the personality that is being painted, intimidated by his genius, and infuriated at the obviously horrible treatment he received in return for saving the democratic world! Perhaps no other biography has elicited such a widely varying set of emotions such as this [...]

    • Nigel Watts says:

      I managed to finish the book but it was more of a struggle than it should have been. Good stories can tell themselves so why does Hodges have to butt in all the time with his clumsy attempts to link everything in Alan's life to childhood stories and experiences? And Turing's homosexuality, his cruel treatment by the authorities and his eventual suicide speak for themselves; they don't need page after page of Gay Lib exegesis. Less would have been more.Having got my irritation out of the way - an [...]

    • Jim says:

      Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges is an enigma in its own right. Its subject, the British mathematical genius who contributed to the cryptanalysis of the Nazi enigma code and to the beginnings of the computer, was not an easy subject. He was a homosexual at a time when homosexual acts were considered a crime. He was a largely unhappy loner. And he was a powerful intellectual.Hodges adopts three approaches to his biography. First, he gives the facts of Turing's life as much as it was possi [...]

    • Mohamed al-Jamri says:

      عشقت آلان تورنج وتعاطفت معه منذ أن شاهدت فلم "إيميتشن جيم" ولما علمت أن هذا الفلم الرائع مقتبس من أحد الكتب، قررت أن أقرأه وها أنا قد فعلت ذلك.يتحدث الكتاب عن حياة العالم البريطاني آلان تورنج منذ طفولته، مرورًا بشبابه ومنجزاته العلمية، حتى وفاته المفاجئة. يتطرق كذلك إلى شخصية [...]

    • Kirsty says:

      Like many, I purchased this because I very much enjoyed 'The Imitation Game'; it then sat upon my TBR shelf for well over a year. I felt that I should try my best to read it before 2016 was out, so I squeezed it into my November reading.As far as biographies go, Alan Turing: The Enigma is incredibly long, running to 679 pages excluding the notes and index. The whole was not as well written as I was expecting, and it did not feel very consistent in places. The intricate mathematical details place [...]

    • Carolyn says:

      An exhaustive and exhausting biography of the brilliant Alan Turing. Winston Churchill said WW2 would not have been won except for Turing's invention of the Enigma, a code breaking machine. His work is credited as leading to the modern personal computer. I read this in preparation for the upcoming movie The Imitation Game, and also managed to find and watch an earlier movie, Breaking the Code starring Derek Jacobi as Alan Turing, online. Turing has not been as well known as he should have been, [...]

    • Kate says:

      This is a very, very in depth biography. So much that there were parts that I had to skip -admittedly mostly the actual mathematics portions which go quite a bit over my head. I can see what this was so well received, especially considering when it was written originally. If you're looking for something that really gets down the nitty gritty with regards to Alan Turing this is definitely your best bet. If you're looking for something to read to feel prepared to head into the film that's loosely [...]

    • Jess ❈Harbinger of Blood-Soaked Rainbows❈ says:

      I just saw the film tonight and was blown away. I really want to learn more about this man and his footprint on history. And before seeing the credits, I had no idea it was based in this book.*grabby hands going wild*

    • Nicholas Spies says:

      I found Alan Turing the enigma by Andrew Hoges quite interesting and maddening. Interesting because of the genius and achievements of Turning, which are described in some detail (much to the author's credit) but maddening because of the sociopolitical asides about Turing's homosexuality (which was illegal in the UK during his lifetime), not just as they relate to Turing himself but to further an agenda of the author that detracts from Turing's story. I say this despite the evidence that homophob [...]

    • Karen Mardahl says:

      I am really glad I read this book. I read it for the story of the person - the biography. The writing was well done. It is hard to write a story that contains a lot of technical detail. This was managed quite well. My problem was that I couldn't relate to the technical stuff in audio form. I have resigned myself to the fact that for me, technical stuff has to be presented in a visual form. I simply can't handle techical material in audio form while commuting to work. Also, I don't really have th [...]

    • Simon Howard says:

      This comprehensive biography is certainly detailed. It is, perhaps, the most thorough biography I've read. This allows a great insight into the character and intelligence of Turing, but it did quickly become unnecessarily dense in parts, and felt like it was veering off at a tangent by placing Turing's academic work in a wider context than was really necessary. I don't think the book needed to explain some of the mathematical concepts in quite the detail it did, nor did it need to explain in fin [...]

    • Kathleen says:

      Alan Turing has always been a fun historical figure. The Turing Test and Turing Machines are both tributes to his unending contribution to the world of science fiction. I mean science and mathematics. The real stuff, not books about robots at all. But he was, apparently, a great deal more than that. He was instrumental in decoding Enigma messages during WWII. He was a grumpy puppy who didn't socialize well. He was a gay man alienated from society by early twentieth century mores. He helped build [...]

    • Mary Whisner says:

      Fascinating but overly detailed in stretches. Sometimes I just don't care that Turing had a meeting with so-and-so about a particular project. But, that said, there really were a lot of interesting themes: math, philosophy, technology, war, homosexuality.The author uses many literary allusions, sometimes to excess. There are a lot of Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking-Glass references (science and Jabberwocky, the Cold War and the Red Queen). Also references to George Bernard Shaw [...]

    • Nick Black says:

      a perfect scientific biography, inferior only (so far as i know) to American Prometheus. heartbreaking and inspiring, a soaring, dazzling look into the life of the Great Man.

    • Dan says:

      This biography of Turing, that eventually spawned the recent biopic The Imitation Game starring Benedict Cumberbatch, is a solid read and in some ways better than the movie.The book focuses on more than just Turing's contributions around cracking the Enigma Code which is interesting in and of itself. As discussed in the book Turing made major contributions in bringing about the computer revolution, is called by some the father of modern computing, and played a vital role in advancing the theory [...]

    • carmen! says:

      this book took forever for me to read!! first of all, it's 50% math textbook and i haven't read one of those since college. math nostalgia~~unfortunately alan turing was a fascinating genius and individual and so i kept wanting to know what else he did in his life, juuuust enough to keep going TURNS OUT: he only gets credit for about ten percent of the cool shit that he did! he invented generated text with his friend and they used it to write randomly generated love letters. his hobby was basica [...]

    • Gina says:

      I'm genuinely proud of the monumental effort it took to finish a book that at times was completely over my head. An amazing life, I'm glad to know more about him.

    • Nelle says:

      After reading this I have come to realise that the movie is 90% hollywood, 5% Benedict Cumberbatch, and 5% accuracy.

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