Customer Reviews for

Cryptonomicon

Average Rating 4.5
( 268 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(185)

4 Star

(51)

3 Star

(10)

2 Star

(9)

1 Star

(13)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

15 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

Simply wonderful

This is one of those books that never seems to end, and when it finally does, you wish it would go on forever. The writing of Neal Stephenson is absolutely second to none. It is intelligent, dense, and full of metaphors that make one laugh out loud. It also traverses mu...
This is one of those books that never seems to end, and when it finally does, you wish it would go on forever. The writing of Neal Stephenson is absolutely second to none. It is intelligent, dense, and full of metaphors that make one laugh out loud. It also traverses multiple timelines in a compelling fashion. The characters are unforgettable -- similar to those found in Catch-22, these characters will be with me forever.

If you are into straightforward plots, do not like tangential meanderings about the mathematics behind one's sexual drive, and are not at all interested in technology, then this book is definitely not for you. If you love history, technology, scientific writing, and sheer quirkiness, this book is a must read! Just give yourself about a month to get through it -- it is not a fast read by any stretch.

posted by Ian_Mule on May 20, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

Boring

I quit halfway thru the book. It's boring and confusing and drrraaaggggssss on and on.

posted by wcw1942 on July 22, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Simply wonderful

    This is one of those books that never seems to end, and when it finally does, you wish it would go on forever. The writing of Neal Stephenson is absolutely second to none. It is intelligent, dense, and full of metaphors that make one laugh out loud. It also traverses multiple timelines in a compelling fashion. The characters are unforgettable -- similar to those found in Catch-22, these characters will be with me forever.

    If you are into straightforward plots, do not like tangential meanderings about the mathematics behind one's sexual drive, and are not at all interested in technology, then this book is definitely not for you. If you love history, technology, scientific writing, and sheer quirkiness, this book is a must read! Just give yourself about a month to get through it -- it is not a fast read by any stretch.

    15 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2007

    One of the best books I've read

    This was my first Neal Stephenson book, but it definitely won't be my last! He combines nerd-level mathmatics and cryptography with a Catch-22-like military pseudo-history and throws in some treasure hunting and philosophy/theology for good measure. And where else are you going to get a step-by-step instruction manual on how to best enjoy your Cap'n Crunch?

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent hi tech thriller

    <P>In 1942, the US Navy assigns Captain Lawrence Pritchard Waterhouse to Detachment 2702 in Bletchley Park, England, home of the Allies cryptography team. The Axis¿ codes have been previously broken. Thus, the job of this top-secret team is to keep the Nazis in the dark that the Allies know the deepest military secrets of Germany and Japan and use the information to maximize the war effort. Heading up the effort is US Marine Bobby Shaftoe. <P>In the present time, Lawrence¿s grandson Randy Waterhouse has inherited the family¿s brilliant math gene. Using computers, he, like his grandfather is a cryptographic expert. Working in Southeast Asia, Randy is developing an encrypted massive data warehouse to keep out corporate and government spies. Randy works with Bobby¿s granddaughter Amy. However, as the present ties back to the past, everyone wants to either steal or shut down the efforts of Randy and Amy. <P>The mind-boggling CRYPTONOMICON shows why Neal Stephenson is both a New York Times best selling author and a cult hero. The story line is actually two major plots that fully tie together in spite of the fifty plus years' difference. The charcaters feel genuine and the audience will root for Randy to best his opponents. However, this opus belongs to cryptography, which takes on an identity of its own. Although the depth of detail might turn off some readers, as at times it becomes difficult for those of us who think math is a second language to fully understand the coding provided by Mr. Stephenson, the fabulous novel remains fast-paced and exciting. Readers will devour the tale, codes and all. Set aside several days and enjoy the best cryptographic-based tale since Poe¿s Gold Bug introduced the concept to literature. <P>Harriet Klausner

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 22, 2010

    Boring

    I quit halfway thru the book. It's boring and confusing and drrraaaggggssss on and on.

    4 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 31, 2011

    Five stars

    One of my favorite books. Excellent presentation of math concepts and elements of information theory in an unbelievably intresting manner. Science wrapped into a thriller. History is presented with astonishing mastery as well. From this book I learned a lot about the war in Pacific - subject almost untouced where I came from (Russia).The flavor of 1990th on the West coast is another point I cannot omit. I lived in Seattle then and Cryptonomicon seemed to take me there once again- with a hint of nostalgia. A bit envy to those who open this mazterpiece for the first time...

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 2, 2013

    "This is one of those books that never seems to end, and wh

    &quot;This is one of those books that never seems to end, and when it finally does, you wish it would go on forever&quot;  RIGHT ON THE MONEY!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 25, 2012

    I read this when it first came out, and loved it. I suspect you

    I read this when it first came out, and loved it. I suspect you need to be somewhat of a geek or techie to appreciate it, though.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2012

    Fabulous Book!

    I have read this book 3 times now, and it actually gets better each time I read it. Terrific plotting, great informative detail, and a great sense of humor.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 29, 2012

    Great Fiction for the Thinking Person

    I loved this book - I especially appreciate that Stephenson himself seemed to enjoy the math of cryptography, and it added to the story - not a distraction at all. Don't be worried about the size of this book. The pages will fly by and you'll wish there were more.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 20, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Told in two timelines, which happen to be interconnected, this b

    Told in two timelines, which happen to be interconnected, this book seemed more like two different books thrown together. However, both stories are told at a breakneck pace and are extremely interesting.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 26, 2011

    Rambling

    Weak storylines and poor character identity.

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 29, 2011

    Another digital parable that fails to master the aerodynamic properties of mass/gross appeal

    Stephenson is plainly well versed on the nuts and bolts of the information age, but fails to master the finer aspects of 'info-tainment.' Based on this novel, he's a techie, not a storyteller. Prior to reading this book, my background in cryptography was nil, and, though the terminology was transparent enough, this book honestly read like an instruction manual. The characters were all two-dimensional cardboard cutouts interfacing with one another in offices. Though I'm always up for a well constructed WWII plot, the characters here felt as though they were grafted on from the outtakes of some 1950s black and white movie. After 1000+ pages of offices, generic submarines, etc, I felt like I didn't know a thing more about the characters as people than I did when I picked the book up off the shelf. Granted, a fast paced narrative is seldom a must for me (on the contrary, actually). That being said, there were few profound metaphors or descriptions or plot devices of any kind. This sort of book is one step above fiction writers who masquerade as non-fiction writers.

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 5, 2011

    Obtuse and nonsensical

    I served in the Naval Security Group for 23 years. NSG was the navy's arm of American cryptology. I did not recognize a thing from my experiences in the book. Most notably his chapter HFDF, high frequency direction finding, was further off the mark than a reciprocal bearing

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 29, 2010

    What a load of...

    Sincerely, I expected tons more from Neal Stephenson. What is going on with the last 50 pages? It seems to me that he received a phone call from his editor to wrap up the book and hurriedly typed a three hour ending. There are once again many details, most of them superfluous. Come on, there are better ways to describe something while not giving the reader a hopeless state of unrest knowing that the book just drags on and on and on.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2014

    Good

    Great

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2013

    Would not recommend

    I could not finish it. After 375 grueling pages i finally gave up without having a clear picture of where the story was heading and how the parallel events of the past and present could eventually relate to each other. Just wasted a few bucks. Cut my losses and move on to the next one. But before i leave i have to say this. I am an avid reader and purchased numerous books in the last year. Some books are so absorbing that i could not put them down. This book almost sucked every desire i might of had of ever reading again. I just hope i can again find the joy in immersing myself in a good story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2013

    Om One of my favorite books

    I have reread this book a few times just for the sheer pleasure it gives me. Truly a great book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2013

    Brillance.

    The market is oversaturated with overhyped preschool garbage that leaves critical, free-thinking individuals bored and burning for something deeper.
    Few works engage the mind in such a way as to satiate any and all needs and hungers the most intellectually complex of individuals may possess.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2013

    Epic, brilliant

    If you are like me you may be weary of the 1,000+ page count, but i found myself wishing it was 2,000! Incredibly smart and entertaining

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2013

    Great book from an amazing writer!

    Great book from an amazing writer!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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