Book - 2000 | 1st Perennial ed.
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With this extraordinary first volume in 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.

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.

Publisher: New York : Perennial, [2000]
Edition: 1st Perennial ed.
Copyright Date: ©1999
ISBN: 9780380788620
Characteristics: 918 pages ; 20 cm


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Jan 18, 2021

Ridiculously long, ridiculously ambitious novel about, among other things, World War 2, currency, cryptography, Alan Turing, computers, and coding. It is frequently exhilarating and occasionally exhausting. This seems to be the kind of book that William Gibson has been trying to write for the past 20 years.

Hillsboro_RobP Jun 09, 2020

A great book that defies genre categorizing. Historical fiction, maybe? Thriller? Science fiction is a bit of a leap when it's almost all real technology. Anyway, a really great read that builds a handful of memorable characters and pulls them all over the place before bringing things together and closing the stories in a satisfying way. Make no mistakes though, it is a long journey.

Sep 26, 2017

this book is quite the lengthy read. but IMHO, well worth it. When this author is on, he's on!
Snow Crash was good but Cryptonomicon is a once in a lifetime achievement.

And I tried this on a whim - after not even finishing Anathema.

Good read, especially if you like stories that weave historical accuracy into them.

Dec 28, 2016

Certainly worth the length! Comparisons elsewhere to Umberto Eco are certainly valid, as well as a young Tom Clancy (when Clancy still was tighter in plotting). The story is deep and well-crafted, with layers which only slowly emerge into sight.

JohnK_KCMO Dec 05, 2016

This is it - the book that single-handedly made me a fan of Neal Stephenson. Grand scope, geeky technology, and characters you care about. All of Stephenson's greatest strengths as a writer are on full display.

Oct 11, 2016

Great book! This author rocks. I found this took an investment that was worthwhile. Great epic novel -

Sep 15, 2016

It's almost impossible to go wrong with Neal Stephenson. The search continues....

May 18, 2016

The writing style reminded me of Flash Boys, although this is fact-based fiction and simply drags on forever with detail. Interesting but not really engaging.

Oct 22, 2015

There's good reason Stephenson is often mentioned in the same sentence with Pynchon, David Foster Wallace and other literary luminaries. He deserves to be. The characters in WWII portion of the book all echo in the present day. Some foks have said the math is daunting and it is, but I read it as I do the long and sometimes tedious theological ramblings in Umberto Eco's work or Pynchon's lapses into physics. If it pertains to plot I'll try to understand it and if not, I'll skim it. No one should really approach a book like this thinking they'll understand cryptology after reading it but you'll definitely have a sense of it's complexity and the tremendous effort that went into breaking WWII codes and how the computers that grew out of that effort make it hard to keep secrets these days.

Jan 03, 2015

i am unable to download
January, 2, 2015

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Mar 11, 2008

Violence: This title contains Violence.

Mar 11, 2008

Coarse Language: This title contains Coarse Language.

Mar 11, 2008

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.


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Jun 03, 2019

"Wealth that is stored up in gold is dead. It rots and stinks. True wealth is made every day by men getting up out of bed and going to work. By schoolchildren doing their lessons, improving their minds. ..."

Source: Character of Goto Dengo in "Cryptonomicon," 2000 Harper Perennial paperback edition, p. 861.

Jun 03, 2019

" ... Where do you stand on this gun stuff?"

"I own them and know how to use them, as you are aware," Cantrell says.

... Cantrell has evidently decided that a more thorough answer to Randy's gun question is merited. "But the more I practiced with them the more scared I got. Or maybe depressed."

"What do you mean?" ...

"Holding one of those things in your hands, cleaning the barrel and shoving the rounds into clips, really brings you face-to-face with what a desperate, last-ditch measure they really are. I mean, if it gets to the point where we are shooting at people and vice versa, then we have completely screwed up. So in the end, they only strengthened my interest in making sure we could do without them."

"And hence the Crypt?" Randy asks.

"My involvement in the Crypt is arguably a direct result of a few very bad dreams that I had about guns."

Source: "Cryptonomicon," 2000 Harper Perennial paperback edition, p. 719.

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Mar 11, 2008

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Mar 10, 2008

a generational tale of the waterhouse family, secrets, codes and nazi gold.

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