Alan Turing: The Enigma

  • by Andrew Hodges
  • Narrated by Gordon Griffin
  • 30 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Listed as one of the essential 50 books of all time in The Guardian
Inspired the Academy Award-nominated film, The Imitation Game
It’s 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.

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Audible Editor Reviews

Alan Turing: The Enigma is written by Mathematician Andrew Hodges and is narrated in this biographical audiobook edition by Gordon Griffin. The book went on to be inspiration for the 2014 Academy Award-nominated film The Imitation Game. This is the tragic story of a genius whose profound contributions were doubted for decades and whose personal life was utterly persecuted. After an official public apology from the UK Prime Minister in 2009 and a posthumous pardon from the Queen in 2013, the life of Alan Turing has finally been honoured. This book provides the telling of Turing's life story that he so rightly deserves history to remember. Available now from Audible.

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What the Critics Say

"A first-rate presentation of the life of a first-rate scientific mind...it is hard to imagine a more thoughtful and warm biography than this one." (NYT Book Review)
"A superb biography. . . . Written by a mathematician, it describes in plain language Turing's work on the foundations of computer science and how he broke the Germans' Enigma code in the Second World War. The subtle depiction of class rivalries, personal relationships, and Turing's tragic end are worthy of a novel. But this was a real person. Hodges describes the man, and the science that fascinated him--which once saved, and still influences, our lives." (Margaret Boden, New Scientist)
"One of the finest scientific biographies I've ever read: authoritative, superbly researched, deeply sympathetic and beautifully told." (Sylvia Nasar, author of A Beautiful Mind.)
"One of the finest scientific biographies ever written." (Jim Holt, New Yorker)
"A first-class contribution to history and an exemplary work of biography." (I. J. Good, Nature)
"An almost perfect match of biographer and subject. . . . [A] great book." (Ray Monk, Guardian)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Turing an enigma.

Great story superbly read. My only criticism is that the writer could have reduced its length by half without loss of quality.
Then I would have had to give it 5 stars.
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- Dennis G.

One for the intellectuals

A couple of things stood out in this book. The first is that I am too stupid to fully appreciate this book. The second is that while being brilliant and an influential person in computing, Turing didn't have an interesting enough life to justify such a long autobiography. That isn't to say he doesn't deserve to have his life documented, just that it doesn't make for the best listen. Again this is a personal thing of enjoying lighter biographies like Steve Jobs.

If you are more knowledgeable about computing and maths then you will get a lot more from this book as you will be ale to understand the finer details which made up so much of the bulk of the material. For me it went right over my head and there would be hours when I just switched off.

This book is also a biography of computing and maths as well as Turing. Sadly my maths doesn't go beyond GCSE and I felt I was missing out on a lot while listening.

The narrator was perfect in my opinion. It deserves pointing out.
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- Mrs

Book Details

  • Release Date: 23-06-2012
  • Publisher: Audible Studios