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This is a fascinating look into the early history of computing and the roles of Princeton in the early creation of computers. Turing doesn't really make an appearance until about half way through. It really focusing on John Von Neumann. But Turing is key to the creation of the core ideas.
While good coverage and credit is given to Turing for the ideas that he had and the work he did to spark the computer revolution this book is more focused on Von Neumann as the driving force behind creating the machine at the Institute for Advanced Studies, sometimes referred to as MANIAC.
I assume that the book title may have been driven a little by marketing department awareness that Alan Turing has become a commonly known name amongst those with more than passing interest in the history of computing while Von Neumann is yet to gain the 'household name' level of recognition that he deserves.
While the 'Turing Machine' was a stunning intellectual achievement in abstract thinking about the science and mathematics of computing the actual machines that we are using are often, and rightly, described as 'Von Neumann Machines'
If you know the subject well this is a great summary and includes interesting facts that you may well not know about just how things got done. If the way Turing's ideas ended up in the machine you are reading this one is not familiar to you then this is the best way of filling in that gap that I know of.
The pace is good and the tone conversational (this is a history of people and ideas, not a text book) and the delivery is in the upper end of Audible's range.
If you care about how the computer revolution that we are living through got through it's teething stages and got to its feet and started walking then I can highly recommend this as an entertaining and informative way to learn a lot more than I thought I would in a weekend's listening.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
What did you love best about Turing's Cathedral?
It gave an interesting perspective about how and why the modern day computer was invented, including some amusing insights to some of the brightest minds of the 20th century.
What did you like best about this story?
That it was real :)
What about Arthur Morey’s performance did you like?
I thought it was well executed, as the book doesn't really feature any dialog or characters the "neutral" delivery was appreciated.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
Nothing in particular, but there were a lot of little chuckles when it came to some of these people's behaviour. In no small part because it makes these mythical people human.
Any additional comments?
I wish there would have been a bit more attention being paid to other pioneers in the computing field, but having said that, their legacy really lives on by the technology I use right now to write these words so: *raises glass*
5 of 5 people found this review helpful