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I loved this book I was almost afraid to read it after others said how difficult it was to understand the math sections, but I found those to be fascinating If math had been taught this way in my schools, I would have enjoyed it a lot I even read some of the maths bits to my husband As to Turing s life, I very much enjoyed reading about that, too I wish I had known him The way his mind works just took my breath away I found myself going back over paragraphs, just to make certain I would always remember his ideas, and the way he expressed them.The book covers his entire life birth to death not just the code breaking days of WWII Not only is he considered a pioneer of computer science, and artificial intelligence, but he dabbled in physics, quantum mechanics, biology, chemistry, and neurology, too In 1952, his work on morphogenesis became a completely new field of mathematical biology.I can certainly relate to his personality quirks I seem to have quite a few of the same ones Nice to know I m in such good company Of course, he didn t see them as quirks , and neither do I.As to his death, well, there has always been two schools of thought about what really happened Either way, it was just tragic to lose his great mind, and honest heart.The amount of research the author conducted was amazing He really worked hard to bring so many resources together for our enjoyment Andrew wrote, If this book is truly a biography a writing of life, not a collection of facts then it is because people have been prepared to allow that interference, and to entrust me with words and ideas that still have living force 675 Some may find the math bits too dreary, or feel the book is too long, but I am not one of them It changed my way of looking at certain things It touched me on a intellectual level, and an emotional one As I said, I loved it If you re not into math, you can skim those parts, and still enjoy the rest of Alan s interesting life.5 Stars It made a significant impact on my heart, and or mind It moved me I won t forget it. This was a fascinating book I m not really recommending it because I thought it was overly complicated and I m not sure that a lot of people will want to spend half of their reading time on Wikipedia the way I did I only understood about a quarter of the many, many mathematical concepts that were discussed, at exhausting length, in the book Still, I m glad to know about the man who contributed so much to computer science He had a fascinating, tragic life Great book, but be prepared for some headaches. To read this is to feel humbled, not just by Alan Turing s brilliant mind, but also by the years of dedicated work that Andrew Hodges put into this biography At 700 plus pages, including a massive number of footnotes and references which are themselves a fund of fascinating information, it is dense going however, and probably not for everyone, although I found it totally absorbing Here finally well, not really finally as it was written in 1983 was someone who could explain Turing s universal machine and his theory of computable numbers Not that I m sure I understood it, but Hodges explanations are lucid unlike Dyson s muddled and waffly Turing s Cathedral that I once mistakenly thought was this book Turing was a strange, contradictory character, a shy and bumbling academic but at the same time quite unlike the academic stereotype as a mathematician, he was so isolated from his peers that he would often formulate new theorems unaware that they had already been discovered but as a result, his methods were idiosyncratic and unconventional, and often led to truly new insights His expertise covered a huge range everything he did had to have some practical application, yet he was the most impractical and disorganized person himself His prime fascination was the brain to make a mechanical model of its logical functions, and the question of whether machines could be made to think To this end he proposed the criterion of the imitation game , where if one could not tell whether responses to questions were from a human or a hidden machine, one should consider the machine as behaving like a human To be capable of thinking , however, the machine would also have to learn, independently of its programs, and Turing formulated what he considered appropriate learning schemes But here s the thing he did not seem to consider the essential need of humans to communicate with each other and interact with their environment as significant to learning and development I think of people as pink coloured sense data , he said supposedly in jest, but I thought that there was a significant truth there It all makes me wonder if Turing was not somewhere on the autistic spectrum Although this is not something that Hodges speculates about, Turing did indeed feel his own life was something of a imitation game.He was most famous of course for his brilliant work at Bletchley during WW2 in cracking the Enigma codes, and Hodges places him very well at the centre of the decryption effort but at the same time on the periphery, surprisingly, of the actual development of the Colossus which was the actual precursor of the computer This was because computers as such didn t interest him at all it was getting them to think that was the challenge After WW2, he was involved with two projects, one was the paper design for the ACE computer, the other in programming the first actual computer at Manchester, some time before the famous ENIAC was completed in the US His involvement wasn t exactly peripheral, but he gradually lost interest in it as its limitations became apparent for the cybernetic research he wanted to perform Turing was also a homosexual at a time when that was considered an unspeakable depravity and at best an illness That certainly contributed to the isolation he felt for most of his life, although he wasn t at all reticent about his orientation either in that he was a man well before his time It s commonly thought that he committed suicide following a conviction for indecent activities, but Hodges makes it clear that the two events weren t connected, as he had put that episode well behind him two years earlier What Hodges does very well, in an extended analysis, is place Turing s death in the context of Britain s panic over blackmail, homosexuals and spies in the secret services This was around 1953 4 when the atomic bomb was being developed, and Burgess, McLean and others had defected with both British and US secrets Hodges doesn t speculate on whether there was any actual government approach to Turing in that context, but it would have been clear to him that he would have been considered an even greater risk, as during the war he had been privy to the innermost secrets of both countries concerning Enigma and compared to the atomic program which at least was known to exist , that remained absolutely secret and unmentionable for another 20 years So it s likely that Turing recognized the hopeless position he was trapped in, with nobody to turn to for advice or help.I m not summarizing this very well, but Hodges does an impassioned and admirable job A couple of things, however, that I would knock this bio for first, his tendency not to put rather peripheral events in context incidents in WW2 that didn t relate directly to Bletchley or Turing, for example This is all a bit surprising as Hodges is not some historian assuming a bit too much inside knowledge from his audience, but a physicist and mathematician much like Turing himself And, I have to mention Hodges rather outlandish overuse of allusion and metaphor, mostly from The Wizard of OzandAlice in WonderlandThey can be quite obscure, as in Half desired, half dreaded, was the reappearance of the Monstrous Crow, currently flapping ambiguously on the other side of the Atlantic or Yet in reaching the niente of his Sinfonia Antartica, he kept as close to his vision as the exigencies of the world allowed yes, that s Vaughn Williams, but I m not a lot wiser and the ITMA professor than eminent authority well, if it hadn t been for my mother telling me about It s That Man Again, the wartime radio program that inspired the Goon Show, I would not have had a clue what that meant She could do mean renderings of ITMA catch phrases like he s fallen in the waar tah , by the way But this is really minor carping about style And I should also say that it s not necessary to understand any mathematics at all to read and enjoy this book you can simply skip those details and be totally absorbed for a very long time though do NOT read this on an e book if you are at all like me and obsessively read every note and reference I watched The Imitation Game last week and I was left in awe, and slightly ashamed of myself for not knowing the contribution of Alan Turing to the war efforts and the advent of the computer age After the film i bought this book and a few others in order to get to know about the brilliant man and the code breaking that went on during WW2 This is an extremely well written and detailed book, and while a little heavy of the maths side there is nothing not to be expected from a biography about a genius mathematician. That s certainly cleared up a lot of the questions I had following the film It concerns me that Cumberbatch s Turing seemed to stray dramatically from biographical evidence The film paints him in a dangerously stereotypical way, as the lone genius, unable to work well with others and with little care for his fellow humans It would seem the Turing was a well liked person, albeit one who didn t care very much what people thought of him, especially concerning his sexuality If you saw and enjoyed the film I d definitely recommend this book It is a long read though, and does have a tendency to go into technical detail that I personally found necessary That said, I m not exactly mathematically inclined, and these passages may be of great interest to those who understand it There are a lot of moral and ethical questions about the powers that machines ought to have and their ability to do complex, seemingly human things such as playing chess Hodges wrote this pre Internet and desktop computer, so the reader has to fill in some blanks as to where Turing s work eventually led Towards the end there is quite a bit about the attitudes towards homosexuality, especially in the post war period, which are both absurd and incomprehensible from a twenty first century liberal viewpoint Although we still have a long way to go, it s certainly interesting to see how much attitudes have changed For me the human story was what kept me reading It s a heart breaking one, with many parallels to that of Oscar Wilde, so be prepared for that I also think that it s a story that needs to be told and shared, particularly considering that the film, while well made and emotionally charged, changes many of the facts. 4.5 Quite a thorough biography, I prefer the Bletchley Park period, but quite complete picture of his lifeI only have a couple of complaints The book is quite lengthy I feel that some digressions into the politics at his boarding school, for example, weren t worth diving into to explain the effect it had on his presence there Hodges also employs this extended mixed metaphor intertwining Alice in Wonderland apropos , Wizard of Oz less so , among others Not sure it helped to continue referring to the Red and White Queens etc.But apart from that, this was a great read Very full picture of Turing s life, public and private and it was mostly private , from troubles as a schoolboy, his sexuality, his codebreaking during WWII, groundbreaking work toward modern computing, and his eventual academic fading, conviction for indecency and sudden suicide.Few minor bugs, not really worth noting, though surprised they haven t been removed in subsequent editions book was published in the eighties, right This biography was a struggle to get through I picked it up in audiobook form in anticipation of The Imitation Game hitting theaters this fall I didn t immediately realise how long and thorough it would be, though I knew I was venturing into a topic I knew very little about.Here s the thing the parts of this biography that deal with Alan Turing s personal life are EXTREMELY interesting and well researched I loved how detailed they were and found it a fascinating portrait of a man I knew very little about But a great deal of this biography also delved into detailed descriptions of Alan Turing s experiments and inventions, of which I understood almost nothing I found myself glazing over for big chunks of the book while the author described the different types of codebreaking techniques I know they were absolutely relevant, but they got so technical that someone like me, with very little ability in math or computer sciences, couldn t make heads nor tails of what was being talked about.That being said, the story of Alan Turing s life was interesting enough that I kept going through all 30 hours of the audiobook and I really enjoyed the parts that I could understand The last 3 hours of the audiobook were, in particular, heartbreaking to listen to The way Turing was treated and the way he ended his life was a terrible, terrible tragedy It s only a small comfort that we ve made tiny strides in gay and lesbian rights though the fact that that topic is still a hot debate is shameful.So despite my boredom through some of this biography, I have to rate it highly because it was incredibly well written when it came to getting a portrait of Turing s life I am really looking forward to seeing The Imitation Game and watching this incredible life take form on the big screen. Let me introduce you to Alan He is a quiet and shy man, but one who mainly gets along with his colleagues He is determined to tackle large questions and finds that his understanding of mathematics and logic can be applied to aspects of the universe around him, especially in areas that people would deem too messy and without any logic He is a great proponent of going back to first principles when approaching problems also.This book has been on my radar for years now I found it after one of those tipping points where you finally hit the nth reference to a person or idea and you find your ignorance about it embarrassing By the way I find that these instances only increase with the you act upon them Ignorance really is bliss Anyway, along comes the film starring Sherlock himself and I found myself highly entertained by the story and wanting to know So it was time to tackle this volume and I chose to tackle it by audiobook.Firstly I want to cover the book and it s difference to the movie, because looking at the words on the print cover, The Book That Inspired the Film The Imitation Game , it leads you to a sense that a biopic from a biography should be fairly accurate It seems that the movie took a lot of liberties and while there were not many huge outright lies, there were plenty of distortions, simplifications and exaggerations There is a little part of me that is offended, but there is another larger part of me that is not surprised Alan Turing was not a stereotypical genius nerd in a world that did not appreciate him He did have a huge battle to overcome adversity due to his work being outlandish and misunderstood It seems like Hollywood latches onto the Beautiful Mind Sheldon Cooper cookie cutter a little too much I feel that I should also say that I did enjoy the movie As far as movies go it was entertaining and also a bit educational But I guess going into this book I expected a bit continuity Cumberbatch s Turing is not Hodge s biography Turing.Hodge s biography offers a traditional chronological look at Turing s life, from a short section on his lineage to his cremation on the last page But there is a lot in here than what you would bargain for Turing s work and the work leading up it is is explained in great detail Using the term in depth may be a gross under exaggeration There is also a large section focused upon the laws concerning perversion at the time, which Turing was convicted for If you were to remove the sections concerning math, engineering and law you ll find a book that weighs only a small percentage of the original I guess what I am trying to say is that this book is not for the layman I can only imagine that there will be a lot of copies of this book abandoned on planes, trains and bookshelves because a fan of the movie picked this book up wanting to know , just like I did The large sections on mathematical logic I did follow the gist of somewhat, helped along by my greater understanding of maths than the average person Large sections of this book would only be completely understandable by people with degrees in mathematics I chose mathematics subjects in my science degree than the norm, so I have some sense of what is going on in these passages I pity anyone trying to make it through without some knowledge of this type of maths If you are a person who hates info dumps you are going to loathe this book.But on the positive side, this was the right book at the right time for the right person I have often found that there is no better way to learn about a person than to find the highest rated biography of that person on Goodreads that is at least 500 pages long I have been stung with too many shorter biographies that leave me unsatisfied and finding out information on the person s Wikipedia page I wanted to know about Turing and my god I found out a whole lot.Of course it s not all about volume Both the writer and narrator kept me entertained for just over 30 hours The writer was sympathetic to his subject and yet portrayed his great failings also I really do feel that I met a person who I can call a hero I hate that word and I am sure that there is a far greater compliment Turing had great determination, a high regard for the truth in his work and personal life, and a scientific approach to everything he undertook He may be known as being a mathematician, but he was an even greater scientist who straddled fields in a time when fields were clearly defined He often found that there was no perfect audience for his papers and that some fields would only appreciate some aspects, while other parts would not be understood at all He was converging the sciences with mathematics.So despite all the negatives that I noted earlier, for me not only a book to be treasured, but an introduction to a man that is greatly misunderstood and hugely under appreciated I want a portrait of him up on my wall alongside my Darwin portrait I am going to get my hands on some of his writing and try to get my head around of the maths. `Free Ebook ⇵ Alan Turing: The Enigma ☛ Alan Turing Was A British Mathematician Who Made History His Breaking Of The German U Boat Enigma Cipher In World War II Ensured Allied American Control Of The Atlantic But Turing S Vision Went Far Beyond The Desperate Wartime Struggle Already In The S He Had Defined The Concept Of The Universal Machine, Which Underpins The Computer Revolution In He Was A Pioneer Of Electronic Computer Design But Turing S True Goal Was The Scientific Understanding Of The Mind, Brought Out In The Drama And Wit Of The Famous Turing Test For Machine Intelligence And In His Prophecy For The Twenty First CenturyDrawn In To The Cockpit Of World Events And The Forefront Of Technological Innovation, Alan Turing Was Also An Innocent And Unpretentious Gay Man Trying To Live In A Society That Criminalized Him In He Revealed His Homosexuality And Was Forced To Participate In A Humiliating Treatment Program, And Was Ever After Regarded As A Security Risk His Suicide In Remains One Of The Many Enigmas In An Astonishing Life Story