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Cryptonomicon zooms all over the world, careening conspiratorially back and forth between two time periods--World War II and the present. Our 1940s heroes are the brilliant mathematician Lawrence Waterhouse, cryptanalyst extraordinaire, and gung ho, morphine-addicted marine Bobby Shaftoe. They're part of Detachment 2702, an Allied group trying to break Axis communication codes while simultaneously preventing the enemy from figuring out that their codes have been broken. Their job boils down to layer upon layer of deception. Dr. Alan Turing is also a member of 2702, and he explains the unit's strange workings to Waterhouse. "When we want to sink a convoy, we send out an observation plane first.... Of course, to observe is not its real duty--we already know exactly where the convoy is. Its real duty is to be observed.... Then, when we come round and sink them, the Germans will not find it suspicious."
All of this secrecy resonates in the present-day story line, in which the grandchildren of the WWII heroes--inimitable programming geek Randy Waterhouse and the lovely and powerful Amy Shaftoe--team up to help create an offshore data haven in Southeast Asia and maybe uncover some gold once destined for Nazi coffers. To top off the paranoiac tone of the book, the mysterious Enoch Root, key member of Detachment 2702 and the Societas Eruditorum, pops up with an unbreakable encryption scheme left over from WWII to befuddle the 1990s protagonists with conspiratorial ties.
Cryptonomicon is vintage Stephenson from start to finish: short on plot, but long on detail so precise it's exhausting. Every page has a math problem, a quotable in-joke, an amazing idea, or a bit of sharp prose. Cryptonomicon is also packed with truly weird characters, funky tech, and crypto--all the crypto you'll ever need, in fact, not to mention all the computer jargon of the moment. A word to the wise: if you read this book in one sitting, you may die of information overload (and starvation). --Therese Littleton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Being a nerd, for me Cryptonomicon is pure and simple perfection. It's humorous, witty, intelligent and keeps the reader in suspence enough to not allow putting the book down until... Read morePublished 1 day ago by Anders Genell
For those of us nerds who grew up at the beginning of the internet generation, going from GW-BASIC to dial-up to modern internet, this novel is in many ways the definitive text of... Read morePublished 1 day ago by B. Kirkpatrick
This has become my favorite book! As someone who studied math in college, it is great to see how he ties in different math and information science concepts throughout the book, and... Read morePublished 1 day ago by Mike Kasberg
I enjoyed Neil Stephenson's Snow Crash and Diamond Age. I stopped reading Cryptonomican after 120 pages of it's 900 page length. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Ira Hart
This is a unique combination of delightful novel, educational historical fiction, and (very educational) real world technology facts, particularly concerning cryptography/... Read morePublished 7 days ago by Francis McNally
Smartly written, great story lines, funny (and, at times, Hunter Thompson-esque hilarious), loved the characters, plots, relevant math (and math explanations) and the occasional... Read morePublished 9 days ago by North Bender
Loved the way Stephenson presents technical material in informative fashion. I wish there were more entertaining books that give basics and background for technical fields!Published 9 days ago by Brad