Yup, we’ve got that one

And more than one million more. Become a member today and read free for two weeks.

Read free for two weeks

With this extraordinary first volume in what promises to be an epoch-making masterpiece, Neal Stephenson hacks into the secret histories of nations and the private obsessions of men, decrypting with dazzling virtuosity the forces that shaped this century. As an added bonus, the e-book edition of this New York Times bestseller includes an excerpt from Stephenson's new novel, Seveneves.

In 1942, Lawrence Pritchard Waterhouse—mathematical genius and young Captain in the U.S. Navy—is assigned to detachment 2702. It is an outfit so secret that only a handful of people know it exists, and some of those people have names like Churchill and Roosevelt. The mission of Waterhouse and Detachment 2702—commanded by Marine Raider Bobby Shaftoe-is to keep the Nazis ignorant of the fact that Allied Intelligence has cracked the enemy's fabled Enigma code. It is a game, a cryptographic chess match between Waterhouse and his German counterpart, translated into action by the gung-ho Shaftoe and his forces.

Fast-forward to the present, where Waterhouse's crypto-hacker grandson, Randy, is attempting to create a "data haven" in Southeast Asia—a place where encrypted data can be stored and exchanged free of repression and scrutiny. As governments and multinationals attack the endeavor, Randy joins forces with Shaftoe's tough-as-nails granddaughter, Amy, to secretly salvage a sunken Nazi submarine that holds the key to keeping the dream of a data haven afloat. But soon their scheme brings to light a massive conspiracy with its roots in Detachment 2702 linked to an unbreakable Nazi code called Arethusa. And it will represent the path to unimaginable riches and a future of personal and digital liberty...or to universal totalitarianism reborn.

A breathtaking tour de force, and Neal Stephenson's most accomplished and affecting work to date, Cryptonomicon is profound and prophetic, hypnotic and hyper-driven, as it leaps forward and back between World War II and the World Wide Web, hinting all the while at a dark day-after-tomorrow. It is a work of great art, thought and creative daring; the product of a truly iconoclastic imagination working with white-hot intensity.

Topics: World War II, 1940s, 1990s, Epic, Speculative Fiction, Adventurous, Suspenseful, Futuristic, Mathematics, War, Hackers, Conspiracy, Military, Secret Codes, Computer Programming, Nazis, Family, Secrets, United States of America, Philippines, Ironic, Submarines, Politics, Navy, and 20th Century

Published: HarperCollins on Mar 17, 2009
ISBN: 9780061792571
List price: $8.99
Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
Availability for Cryptonomicon
With a 30 day free trial you can read online for free
  1. This book can be read on up to 6 mobile devices.
Clear rating

one of my faves. I love the intricacies of Stephenson's writing. it's not for everyone, but it's bang on for me. read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I found this book extremely difficult to read. I was bored with long descriptions of decoding messages and other tangents that seemed irrelevant to the main story.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Probably very interesting in terms of subject matter (judging by the reviews) but the prose style is just so difficult that I am giving up before the end of chapter two. read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Great read!read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Stephenson, Neal. Cryptonomicon. Perennial, New York, 1999. I haven't read science fiction in so long? Cryptonomicon was a great way to get back into the genre. The book is long (918 pages). It has a compelling central mystery, good storytelling, and captures the male geek interests perfectly. Interestingly, the narrative technique (splicing together interwoven stories set in very different timeperiods) echos The Hours, a book in a decidedly different genre. In both cases, it works very well. All in all, this book was a bit of self-indulgence, but a very good bit of self-indulgence.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I just gave up on this about a fifth of the way through - I'm afraid I just lacked the strength of spirit to persevere.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A very interesting book that weaves back and forth between time periods. Cryptography and Nazi gold, what's not to like?read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.


9/2006 My first of this genre, which seems to rejoice in the name techno-sci-fi-thriller. Riveting, funny, and very well-written. Set in and around Manila during WWII and the 1990's, it's full of real people and geeky crypto-trivia. I'm a fan.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This is probably my *all*time*favorite*. It's got everything; WWII, Cryptography, Nazi Gold, Subramines, UNIX Hackers, Seattle, Linguistics S.C.U.B.A., China Marines, GeoPolitics, The Marshall Plan...Bobby Shaftoe is my Greaest literary Hero.Highest Recomendationsread more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The first book of Neal Stephenson's that I picked up was Anathem and I found that to be really tough going. This one though turned out to be a totally different beast( and a beast it is, at around 1100 pages). I was hooked in the first 100 pages(although admittedly it took me really long to finish)Cryptonomicon connects two story lines one based in World war 2 and the other in 1990s internet era and they are connected by some strange family coincidences.There is a lot of math and computer science going on here and Neal Stephenson does an admirable job of explaining it all. This is a geek novel if ever there was one with the most developed character being a fantasy card playing, slightly round around the paunches unix loving geek.The novel is very detailed in everything that it does and Stephenson takes great pains to explain everything that is being talked about and even goes so far as to provide equations. Heck there is a perl script thrown in with the actual text and the appendix contains a treatise on Solitaire by Bruce Schneider of all people.This being a world war novel, Stephenson takes it into his hands to talk about the various cultures the novel is based in from Germany to Philippines to Japan(which he refers to as Nippon). In fact Nippon and Germany are disparaged and dealt with a tad harshly but then again the most heroic characters turn out to be a German and Nip so its certainly a weird mix,One thing though that clearly comes through is the fact that Stephenson clearly loves to write about Crypto and the world war.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A modern fiction masterwork...Spanning the globe and a large tract of history, this tale is about much more than cyphers, data, and espionage...read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I'm told this was a good book addressing every techno-historian-cryptologist's hidden fantasy of searching for Nazi gold. I, however, don't know for sure; bought this two years back, and I'm still reading it. Check back in a few more year's time.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This ambitious novel starts out as a totally gripping story, but slows markedly towards the end. The politics become tedious, the portrayal of the NSA as evil is naive, and Randy Waterhouse's growing adolescent preoccupation with sex is annoying. On the pread more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Codes. Sex. God. Nazi gold. Is there anything NOT to love about "Cryptonomicon?" If there were, I certainly did not discover it on a first reading. This certainly qualifies as the most rewarding 900-page novel I have ever made it through (well, at least it ties with Anna Karenin and The Devils). Great pacing, great characters, fine writing throughout.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I somehow missed Stephenson's novels when they first appeared. Cryptonomicon is a wild (long) ride. It's a zestfully written tale that weaves WWII cryptography and modern high-tech business. Enjoy this one on the beach, but have a dictionary handy. You'll learn some new words.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Over 900 pages and two weeks of solid reading later, I think this book is well worth the investment for anyone interested in math, World War II, cryptography, or science fiction in general. The book follows several characters from the early 40's involved in the use of cryptography (and hiding gold) during the war and then a business dependent on cryptography much closer to current day. I love Stephenson's ability to write from the point of view of multiple characters and to integrate each of their connected stories into a coherent story that covers 50 years. He also sneaks in some math and other interesting pieces from science. Overall, while I didn't realize the investment required to get through this book when I requested it from the library, I certainly enjoyed it.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Good, but a little unfocussed and much, MUCH too long.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Cryptonomicon was my introduction to Neal Stephenson, and it still ranks as one of my favorite books. The book is made up of several stories, told in alternating chapters and taking place in different time periods. Eventually the stories begin to collide, adding whole new dimensions to an already complex plot. One story is that of a young cryptographer during World War II, and deals with problems ranging from how to the newest German enigma machine, the existence or non-existence of Turing machines, and how to seduce the young woman of one's dreams. Another follows a band of soldiers, also during World War II. And then there's the modern-day treasure hunt. Yes, there are random math equations scattered throughout the book. No, you don't need to know calculus to read it, though it does make some of the jokes funnier if you do. Stephenson is a master of his craft, and here he weaves together so many threads that it could have easily become a mess, but is instead a masterpiece. As always with Stephenson, so worth the work.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
One of the most interesting reads of a lifetime! Love the structure! Love his MacGuffin! Have read this five times and each time I have a new experience!read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Long and eclectic, this book took me months to read. I would be sucked into the story and for several chapters I couldn't put it down, and then one of the many digressions would jar me out of it, and it would take a while before I came back.Regardless I liked, maybe even loved this book. Three point of view characters, two different time lines. -Randy is a present day computer programmer who embarks on an adventurous start up tech company venture in the Philippines.-Lawrence Waterhouse is a mathematical genius who works as a top code breaker during the second world war.-Bobby Shaftoe is a second world war marine, and is appropriately hardcore action hero awesome. These three storylines cross and interweave (eventually) into one epic storyline involving lots of cryptography, secret missions, hacking, and especially hidden gold. Unlike many of the other reviewers singing this book's praise here on LibraryThing, I wasn't very interested in the topics covered in this book before I started reading. But I am now. Neal Stephenson makes everything sound so fascinating and darned cool that I've looked up among other things, vann eck phreaking, Alan Turning, Data havens, Turing Bombes, and the thousand other really neat things talked about in this book.Give it a try, and don't stop reading until you are a third of the way through. That is where it starts to really pick up. All in all, It's an entertaining and informative read, a treasure trove of fascinating historical facts, mixed with exciting intrigue.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
It took me six attempts to finish this novel. Never before have I read a book that contained both so much that I absolutely loved, AND so much to which I was so profoundly indifferent.If you are a technically-minded nerd at all, there are elements that will make you giddy with excitement. The opening chapter, which describes evolution as a process that inevitably produces "badasses". The detailed description of Van Eck phreaking, and explanation of how video buffers in computers work. One character's system of equations (graphs included) to describe the relationship between his productivity and the recency of his getting laid. And an actual PERL script for a novel encryption algorithm. Combine that with the appearance of (fictionalized) historical figures like Alan Turing, and you basically have a geek's dream novel.Except... it feels like Stephenson wanted to get as many "k00l" ideas as possible together in one place, and then put them in a blender. I am no stranger to non-linear prose, and usually enjoy it; but in this case there was so much jumping around that it was distracting. I found myself caring less about the characters, because the moment I got interested I would be shunted sideways into a different storyline. And in the end, I would find myself skimming the text, waiting for the next "cool thing" that the author decided to drop into the prose.In short: this novel will only appeal to a narrow audience. If you are the kind of person who finds "geek humor" funny, then you will enjoy PARTS of this novel... as long as you can get through it.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Cryptonomicon is an interesting combination of history, technology, detective story and thriller. It definitely made me want to learn more about cryptography and World War II (especially about the Japanese occupation of the Philippines). The good guys are well defined, engagingly quirky, and genuinely interesting characters. The plot takes a while to develop much momentum, but things get exciting about a third the way through the book, and build from there to a very satisfying conclusion. There were a few things I wasn't crazy about. The bad guys are a little sketchy (especially the psycho-attorney who plays a bit role at the very end). The extended Sweden sequence didn't really add much to what was already a very long book. The second lengthy discussion of masterbation was a bit much (although Lawrence's mathematical theories thereon were pretty amusing). But, these are minor quibbles. Overall, I found it much more satisfying than Snow Crash.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Wow, I finally finished it! haha Only took me 2 years. Neal's books are so intertwined and long. I love him but he sucks up a lot of reading time. Long Live Neal Stephenson!P. S. I am eating Cap'n Crunch to celebrate. :)read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
It took me a little while to really get into this book, but once I did, I couldn't put it down. There was a so much going on at first it took me a while to absorb it all, but all that exposition was worth it. If you had told me I would be so in love with a book about math, cryptography, and WWII, I would have laughed at you, and yet, it turned out to be true. This book was a rollicking good time, funny and sweet and sad and illuminating; and even though it was quite lengthy, I was sad to see it end. I was truly surprised by how much I enjoyed reading this book; I was never terribly interested in the topics covered, and didn't think I knew enough about WWII to understand what was going on. The characters made the subject matter entirely relatable and enjoyable, however, and I found myself doing additional reading about WWII and cryptography because I was so fascinated with the story. The characters and scenarios Stephenson creates and describes are seated firmly in historical fact, but follow a different arc. What I enjoy about fiction that employs alternate history is when an author can seamlessly weave what is true about the story into what is imagined that could have been, as Stephenson does so well. It was bittersweet to see Alan Turing treated so well, knowing what the English government subjected him to after they discovered he was gay. The history of the Philippines and their involvement in WWII was also fascinating, and I enjoyed how Stephenson wove together generations of stories into one cohesive whole. It was tremendously satisfying to see what the children and grandchildren of the protagonists got up to, how their ancestors had set things up that would unfold years and years later. The interconnectedness of the stories, the narratives, was done so well. I probably can't give a very good or critical review of this book because I did enjoy it so much. It was one of those books where I grew so fond of the characters that I became biased. I think it's most important to note that I don't believe I was the books "target audience," I'm a woman who isn't really isn't into math or science or war stories, but still found it so well-written, so wonderful, that I enjoyed every minute of reading it, and would recommend it without haste to anyone else. If that isn't the mark of a good book, I'm not sure what is.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A huge undertaking to read and one that I ended up having mixed results from. Overall I enjoyed the story but felt it would have had a much more profound response from me if it was some 400-600 pages shorter. Still, there are some real gems to be found inside.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This book is category defying. Stephenson is sold in the Sci-fi section of bookshops, but the book is more technically-literate historic fiction. This is a thriller saga set across the period from the start of WW2 to the current period loosely linking different generations of families involved in codes and code-breaking. Good story, incredibly diverse facts and informative, but occasionally self indulgent. Why aren't there more books like this? Read June 2009.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Great book, although the ending fizzles a little; Bobby, Douglas, and America Shaftoe, Lawrence and Randy Waterhouse, Goto Dengo; cryptology, lost Japanese gold, conspiracies; far-fetched but internally coherent, fun and funny; I really enjoyed reading this.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
So here's the thing that I love about Neal Stephenson: His books read like he starts out with a bunch of huge ideas (generally one religious, one mathematical, one computer sciency, and then a bunch of other crazy social modeling stuff) and then strings a plot together in such a way to highlight each of these big ideas in some order that may or may not make any sense to the reader. He believes that his readers can handle these huge ideas with some explanation (again provided by the plot) and that these ideas will be interesting when viewed together. That takes guts. I respect that and love this book.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Even if you aren't a geek, if you have any interest in treasure hunting type stories or WWII based historical fiction this would be a good novel to pick up.
read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Double plot story line, weaving modern day and WWII cryptography. Fictional life of Alan Turing - well done.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Read all reviews

Reviews

one of my faves. I love the intricacies of Stephenson's writing. it's not for everyone, but it's bang on for me.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I found this book extremely difficult to read. I was bored with long descriptions of decoding messages and other tangents that seemed irrelevant to the main story.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Probably very interesting in terms of subject matter (judging by the reviews) but the prose style is just so difficult that I am giving up before the end of chapter two.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Great read!
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Stephenson, Neal. Cryptonomicon. Perennial, New York, 1999. I haven't read science fiction in so long? Cryptonomicon was a great way to get back into the genre. The book is long (918 pages). It has a compelling central mystery, good storytelling, and captures the male geek interests perfectly. Interestingly, the narrative technique (splicing together interwoven stories set in very different timeperiods) echos The Hours, a book in a decidedly different genre. In both cases, it works very well. All in all, this book was a bit of self-indulgence, but a very good bit of self-indulgence.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I just gave up on this about a fifth of the way through - I'm afraid I just lacked the strength of spirit to persevere.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A very interesting book that weaves back and forth between time periods. Cryptography and Nazi gold, what's not to like?
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.


9/2006 My first of this genre, which seems to rejoice in the name techno-sci-fi-thriller. Riveting, funny, and very well-written. Set in and around Manila during WWII and the 1990's, it's full of real people and geeky crypto-trivia. I'm a fan.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This is probably my *all*time*favorite*. It's got everything; WWII, Cryptography, Nazi Gold, Subramines, UNIX Hackers, Seattle, Linguistics S.C.U.B.A., China Marines, GeoPolitics, The Marshall Plan...Bobby Shaftoe is my Greaest literary Hero.Highest Recomendations
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The first book of Neal Stephenson's that I picked up was Anathem and I found that to be really tough going. This one though turned out to be a totally different beast( and a beast it is, at around 1100 pages). I was hooked in the first 100 pages(although admittedly it took me really long to finish)Cryptonomicon connects two story lines one based in World war 2 and the other in 1990s internet era and they are connected by some strange family coincidences.There is a lot of math and computer science going on here and Neal Stephenson does an admirable job of explaining it all. This is a geek novel if ever there was one with the most developed character being a fantasy card playing, slightly round around the paunches unix loving geek.The novel is very detailed in everything that it does and Stephenson takes great pains to explain everything that is being talked about and even goes so far as to provide equations. Heck there is a perl script thrown in with the actual text and the appendix contains a treatise on Solitaire by Bruce Schneider of all people.This being a world war novel, Stephenson takes it into his hands to talk about the various cultures the novel is based in from Germany to Philippines to Japan(which he refers to as Nippon). In fact Nippon and Germany are disparaged and dealt with a tad harshly but then again the most heroic characters turn out to be a German and Nip so its certainly a weird mix,One thing though that clearly comes through is the fact that Stephenson clearly loves to write about Crypto and the world war.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A modern fiction masterwork...Spanning the globe and a large tract of history, this tale is about much more than cyphers, data, and espionage...
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I'm told this was a good book addressing every techno-historian-cryptologist's hidden fantasy of searching for Nazi gold. I, however, don't know for sure; bought this two years back, and I'm still reading it. Check back in a few more year's time.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This ambitious novel starts out as a totally gripping story, but slows markedly towards the end. The politics become tedious, the portrayal of the NSA as evil is naive, and Randy Waterhouse's growing adolescent preoccupation with sex is annoying. On the p
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Codes. Sex. God. Nazi gold. Is there anything NOT to love about "Cryptonomicon?" If there were, I certainly did not discover it on a first reading. This certainly qualifies as the most rewarding 900-page novel I have ever made it through (well, at least it ties with Anna Karenin and The Devils). Great pacing, great characters, fine writing throughout.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I somehow missed Stephenson's novels when they first appeared. Cryptonomicon is a wild (long) ride. It's a zestfully written tale that weaves WWII cryptography and modern high-tech business. Enjoy this one on the beach, but have a dictionary handy. You'll learn some new words.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Over 900 pages and two weeks of solid reading later, I think this book is well worth the investment for anyone interested in math, World War II, cryptography, or science fiction in general. The book follows several characters from the early 40's involved in the use of cryptography (and hiding gold) during the war and then a business dependent on cryptography much closer to current day. I love Stephenson's ability to write from the point of view of multiple characters and to integrate each of their connected stories into a coherent story that covers 50 years. He also sneaks in some math and other interesting pieces from science. Overall, while I didn't realize the investment required to get through this book when I requested it from the library, I certainly enjoyed it.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Good, but a little unfocussed and much, MUCH too long.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Cryptonomicon was my introduction to Neal Stephenson, and it still ranks as one of my favorite books. The book is made up of several stories, told in alternating chapters and taking place in different time periods. Eventually the stories begin to collide, adding whole new dimensions to an already complex plot. One story is that of a young cryptographer during World War II, and deals with problems ranging from how to the newest German enigma machine, the existence or non-existence of Turing machines, and how to seduce the young woman of one's dreams. Another follows a band of soldiers, also during World War II. And then there's the modern-day treasure hunt. Yes, there are random math equations scattered throughout the book. No, you don't need to know calculus to read it, though it does make some of the jokes funnier if you do. Stephenson is a master of his craft, and here he weaves together so many threads that it could have easily become a mess, but is instead a masterpiece. As always with Stephenson, so worth the work.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
One of the most interesting reads of a lifetime! Love the structure! Love his MacGuffin! Have read this five times and each time I have a new experience!
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Long and eclectic, this book took me months to read. I would be sucked into the story and for several chapters I couldn't put it down, and then one of the many digressions would jar me out of it, and it would take a while before I came back.Regardless I liked, maybe even loved this book. Three point of view characters, two different time lines. -Randy is a present day computer programmer who embarks on an adventurous start up tech company venture in the Philippines.-Lawrence Waterhouse is a mathematical genius who works as a top code breaker during the second world war.-Bobby Shaftoe is a second world war marine, and is appropriately hardcore action hero awesome. These three storylines cross and interweave (eventually) into one epic storyline involving lots of cryptography, secret missions, hacking, and especially hidden gold. Unlike many of the other reviewers singing this book's praise here on LibraryThing, I wasn't very interested in the topics covered in this book before I started reading. But I am now. Neal Stephenson makes everything sound so fascinating and darned cool that I've looked up among other things, vann eck phreaking, Alan Turning, Data havens, Turing Bombes, and the thousand other really neat things talked about in this book.Give it a try, and don't stop reading until you are a third of the way through. That is where it starts to really pick up. All in all, It's an entertaining and informative read, a treasure trove of fascinating historical facts, mixed with exciting intrigue.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
It took me six attempts to finish this novel. Never before have I read a book that contained both so much that I absolutely loved, AND so much to which I was so profoundly indifferent.If you are a technically-minded nerd at all, there are elements that will make you giddy with excitement. The opening chapter, which describes evolution as a process that inevitably produces "badasses". The detailed description of Van Eck phreaking, and explanation of how video buffers in computers work. One character's system of equations (graphs included) to describe the relationship between his productivity and the recency of his getting laid. And an actual PERL script for a novel encryption algorithm. Combine that with the appearance of (fictionalized) historical figures like Alan Turing, and you basically have a geek's dream novel.Except... it feels like Stephenson wanted to get as many "k00l" ideas as possible together in one place, and then put them in a blender. I am no stranger to non-linear prose, and usually enjoy it; but in this case there was so much jumping around that it was distracting. I found myself caring less about the characters, because the moment I got interested I would be shunted sideways into a different storyline. And in the end, I would find myself skimming the text, waiting for the next "cool thing" that the author decided to drop into the prose.In short: this novel will only appeal to a narrow audience. If you are the kind of person who finds "geek humor" funny, then you will enjoy PARTS of this novel... as long as you can get through it.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Cryptonomicon is an interesting combination of history, technology, detective story and thriller. It definitely made me want to learn more about cryptography and World War II (especially about the Japanese occupation of the Philippines). The good guys are well defined, engagingly quirky, and genuinely interesting characters. The plot takes a while to develop much momentum, but things get exciting about a third the way through the book, and build from there to a very satisfying conclusion. There were a few things I wasn't crazy about. The bad guys are a little sketchy (especially the psycho-attorney who plays a bit role at the very end). The extended Sweden sequence didn't really add much to what was already a very long book. The second lengthy discussion of masterbation was a bit much (although Lawrence's mathematical theories thereon were pretty amusing). But, these are minor quibbles. Overall, I found it much more satisfying than Snow Crash.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Wow, I finally finished it! haha Only took me 2 years. Neal's books are so intertwined and long. I love him but he sucks up a lot of reading time. Long Live Neal Stephenson!P. S. I am eating Cap'n Crunch to celebrate. :)
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
It took me a little while to really get into this book, but once I did, I couldn't put it down. There was a so much going on at first it took me a while to absorb it all, but all that exposition was worth it. If you had told me I would be so in love with a book about math, cryptography, and WWII, I would have laughed at you, and yet, it turned out to be true. This book was a rollicking good time, funny and sweet and sad and illuminating; and even though it was quite lengthy, I was sad to see it end. I was truly surprised by how much I enjoyed reading this book; I was never terribly interested in the topics covered, and didn't think I knew enough about WWII to understand what was going on. The characters made the subject matter entirely relatable and enjoyable, however, and I found myself doing additional reading about WWII and cryptography because I was so fascinated with the story. The characters and scenarios Stephenson creates and describes are seated firmly in historical fact, but follow a different arc. What I enjoy about fiction that employs alternate history is when an author can seamlessly weave what is true about the story into what is imagined that could have been, as Stephenson does so well. It was bittersweet to see Alan Turing treated so well, knowing what the English government subjected him to after they discovered he was gay. The history of the Philippines and their involvement in WWII was also fascinating, and I enjoyed how Stephenson wove together generations of stories into one cohesive whole. It was tremendously satisfying to see what the children and grandchildren of the protagonists got up to, how their ancestors had set things up that would unfold years and years later. The interconnectedness of the stories, the narratives, was done so well. I probably can't give a very good or critical review of this book because I did enjoy it so much. It was one of those books where I grew so fond of the characters that I became biased. I think it's most important to note that I don't believe I was the books "target audience," I'm a woman who isn't really isn't into math or science or war stories, but still found it so well-written, so wonderful, that I enjoyed every minute of reading it, and would recommend it without haste to anyone else. If that isn't the mark of a good book, I'm not sure what is.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A huge undertaking to read and one that I ended up having mixed results from. Overall I enjoyed the story but felt it would have had a much more profound response from me if it was some 400-600 pages shorter. Still, there are some real gems to be found inside.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This book is category defying. Stephenson is sold in the Sci-fi section of bookshops, but the book is more technically-literate historic fiction. This is a thriller saga set across the period from the start of WW2 to the current period loosely linking different generations of families involved in codes and code-breaking. Good story, incredibly diverse facts and informative, but occasionally self indulgent. Why aren't there more books like this? Read June 2009.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Great book, although the ending fizzles a little; Bobby, Douglas, and America Shaftoe, Lawrence and Randy Waterhouse, Goto Dengo; cryptology, lost Japanese gold, conspiracies; far-fetched but internally coherent, fun and funny; I really enjoyed reading this.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
So here's the thing that I love about Neal Stephenson: His books read like he starts out with a bunch of huge ideas (generally one religious, one mathematical, one computer sciency, and then a bunch of other crazy social modeling stuff) and then strings a plot together in such a way to highlight each of these big ideas in some order that may or may not make any sense to the reader. He believes that his readers can handle these huge ideas with some explanation (again provided by the plot) and that these ideas will be interesting when viewed together. That takes guts. I respect that and love this book.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Even if you aren't a geek, if you have any interest in treasure hunting type stories or WWII based historical fiction this would be a good novel to pick up.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Double plot story line, weaving modern day and WWII cryptography. Fictional life of Alan Turing - well done.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Load more
scribd