A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
The official book behind the Academy Award-winning film The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley
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 decadesall before his suicide at age forty-one. This New York Times–bestselling biography of the founder of computer science, with a new preface by the author that addresses Turing's royal pardon in 2013, is the definitive account of an extraordinary mind and life.
Capturing both the inner and outer drama of Turing’s life, Andrew Hodges tells how Turing’s revolutionary idea of 1936the concept of a universal machinelaid 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 account of a man who, despite his wartime service, was eventually arrested, stripped of his security clearance, and forced to undergo a humiliating treatment programall for trying to live honestly in a society that defined homosexuality as a crime.
The inspiration for a major motion picture starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley, Alan Turing: The Enigma is a gripping story of mathematics, computers, cryptography, and homosexual persecution.
|Publisher:||Princeton University Press|
|Edition description:||Updated edition with a New preface by the author|
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 2.20(d)|
About the Author
Andrew Hodges teaches mathematics at the University of Oxford.
Table of Contents
List of Plates ix
Foreword by Douglas Hofstadter xi
PART ONE: THE LOGICAL
1 Esprit de Corps to 13 February 1930 3
2 The Spirit of Truth to 14 April 1936 60
3 New Men to 3 September 1939 141
4 The Relay Race to 10 November 1942 202
BRIDGE PASSAGE to 1 April 1943 305
PART TWO: THE PHYSICAL
5 Running Up to 2 September 1945 325
6 Mercury Delayed to 2 October 1948 394
7 The Greenwood Tree to 7 February 1952 491
8 On the Beach to 7 June 1954 574
Author's Note 666
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Andrew Hodges’ book about Alan Turing, published by Princeton University, is an honor to own and an illuminating read. Hodges brings Turing to life through his empathetic scrutiny of the resource material Turing left behind, and as Hodges says, “by meeting so many people who knew him.” Hodges says of his success in drawing this portrait of Turing, “first acknowledgment must go to my subject himself, who left behind a fund of goodwill on which I have repeatedly drawn.” That Hodges is himself a mathematician makes it possible for him to speak knowledgeably about the work that consumed Turing during his life. He illuminates the work in a way that only another mathematician could do. And for the non-mathematician, the bits of mathematical reading can be a bit heavy, but not so much so that it in any way detracts from getting to know him. Certainly we who never knew Turing couldn’t truly know and appreciate the man Turing was without knowing as much as we are personally capable of understanding about the work that was his passion. Turing’s professional legacy is well worth knowing for it had an immediate and crucial impact on the world in which he lived then, and it continues forward in time, escalating in significance to this day. The world we live in today would not be the same without the part Alan Turing played in shaping it. But the book is not only about Turing’s work. As we read we come to know the man himself quite well through Hodges free-handed inclusion of correspondence and reference material. I became quite fond of Turing as a person, and found that I had developed a profound respect for him ­ he was a person I would have wanted to know. Hodges, in documenting Turing’s life and work so well, has ensured that history will be able to look back and know from whence we came. We are unquestionably in the debt of these two men, Turing and Hodges, whose lives are bound through some mysterious quirk of quantum physics that led Hodges to Alan Turing. In his childhood, Turing had been profoundly affected by the death of his classmate, Christopher Morcum. In a letter quoted by Hodges, Turing writes to his mother: “I feel sure that I shall meet Morcum again somewhere and that there will be some work for us to do together…” I find that I can’t help but wonder if Christopher had a hand in drawing Hodges attention to Turing’s life.
Book, movie--are important to read and see! Book is an important part of history that many did not know before. I always heard references to Alan Turing through other books but never really knew him until I read this book. It's history, it's intelligent, it's a non stop read.
I was somewhat disappointed in two respects. It covered a tremendous amount of detail and seemed an endless account of Turing's life. More critical for me was that the book was long on conjectures. The author would present a few facts then make a supposition about how they applied to Turing and what he might have gleaned from them. I thought perhaps I just wasn't that interested in young Alan Turing so I skipped to the sections at Bletchley and found it still a rough go. I agree with the person who said the book could have done with a more judicious editing. Turing seemed a very private person, hence fertile ground for theorizing but the books seemed to carry this to extremes at the expense of the narrative. I know British scientists are capable of writing very eloquently but that hasn't happened here. See the movie, read the play, read the non-fiction books on Enigma.
Alan Turing is an amazing mathematical genius who is now my personal hero. Hodges did an excellent job researching and writing this book. But best of all, it is about Alan Turing, a person well worth knowing about.
Way too much detail. I have no idea what these technical math issues are and don't care about letters he wrote in grade school. There were parts that kept me going but over all, I would tell people to read another book about Turing and his important work.
The book is lengthy but it analyzes deeply how Alan Turing was. His basic contributions to computer programming were exttraordinary. I am one of those who, while not being a mathematician, am deeply interested in codes and cryptography and was enthralled by his ideas and how he advanced the science of secrecy in communications. How poorly was he repaid for his efforts!
Any book about Alan Turing that doesn't mention the Turing Test, furthermore one that manages not to do so in over 700 pages, is not going to be great. The book is ok in covering his life, but is overlong, jumps from over detailed to under detailed and is otherwise fairly poorly written. Still wade through it and you get a look at his life. Barely.