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Alan Turing: The Enigma:
The Book That Inspired the Film The Imitation Game
Updated Edition
Andrew Hodges
With a foreword by Douglas Hofstadter and a new preface by the author

A New York Times Bestseller
The Imitation Game, Winner of the 2015 Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Winner of the 2015 (27th) USC Libraries Scripter Award, University of Southern California Libraries
One of The Guardian’s Best Popular Physical Science Books of 2014, chosen by GrrlScientist

Paperback | 2014 | $16.95 | £12.95 | ISBN: 9780691164724
768 pp. | 5 x 7 3/4
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eBook | ISBN: 9781400865123 |
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The Imitation Game movie trailer
from the major motion picture, starring
Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley


The official book behind the Academy Award-winning film The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley

It is only a slight exaggeration to say that the British mathematician Alan Turing (1912-1954) saved the Allies from the Nazis, invented the computer and artificial intelligence, and anticipated gay liberation by decades--all before his suicide at age forty-one. This New York Times–bestselling biography of the founder of computer science, with a new preface by the author that addresses Turing’s royal pardon in 2013, is the definitive account of an extraordinary mind and life.

Capturing both the inner and outer drama of Turing’s life, Andrew Hodges tells how Turing’s revolutionary idea of 1936--the concept of a universal machine--laid the foundation for the modern computer and how Turing brought the idea to practical realization in 1945 with his electronic design. The book also tells how this work was directly related to Turing’s leading role in breaking the German Enigma ciphers during World War II, a scientific triumph that was critical to Allied victory in the Atlantic. At the same time, this is the tragic account of a man who, despite his wartime service, was eventually arrested, stripped of his security clearance, and forced to undergo a humiliating treatment program--all for trying to live honestly in a society that defined homosexuality as a crime.

The inspiration for a major motion picture starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley, Alan Turing: The Enigma is a gripping story of mathematics, computers, cryptography, and homosexual persecution.

Andrew Hodges teaches mathematics at the University of Oxford.


"Scrupulous and enthralling."--A. O. Scott, New York Times

"One of the finest scientific biographies ever written."--Jim Holt, New Yorker

"Andrew Hodges' 1983 book Alan Turing: The Enigma, is the indispensable guide to Turing's life and work and one of the finest biographies of a scientific genius ever written."--Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times

"Turing's rehabilitation from over a quarter-century's embarrassed silence was largely the result of Andrew Hodges's superb biography, Alan Turing: The Enigma (1983; reissued with a new introduction in 2012). Hodges examined available primary sources and interviewed surviving witnesses to elucidate Turing's multiple dimensions. A mathematician, Hodges ably explained Turing's intellectual accomplishments with insight, and situated them within their wider historical contexts. He also empathetically explored the centrality of Turing's sexual identity to his thought and life in a persuasive rather than reductive way."--Michael Saler, Times Literary Supplement

"On the face of it, a richly detailed 500-page biography of a mathematical genius and analysis of his ideas, might seem a daunting proposition. But fellow mathematician and author Hodges has acutely clear and often extremely moving insight into the humanity behind the leaping genius that helped to crack the Germans' Enigma codes during World War II and bring about the dawn of the computer age. . . . This melancholy story is transfigured into something else: an exploration of the relationship between machines and the soul and a full-throated celebration of Turing's brilliance, unselfconscious quirkiness and bravery in a hostile age."--Sinclair McKay, Wall Street Journal

"A first-class contribution to history and an exemplary work of biography."--I. J. Good, Nature

"An almost perfect match of biographer and subject. . . . [A] great book."--Ray Monk, Guardian

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Table of Contents:

List of Plates ix
Foreword by Douglas Hofstadter xi
Preface xv
1 Esprit de Corps to 13 February 1930 3
2 The Spirit of Truth to 14 April 1936 60
3 New Men to 3 September 1939 141
4 The Relay Race to 10 November 1942 202
BRIDGE PASSAGE to 1 April 1943 305
5 Running Up to 2 September 1945 325
6 Mercury Delayed to 2 October 1948 394
7 The Greenwood Tree to 7 February 1952 491
8 On the Beach to 7 June 1954 574
Postscript 665
Author's Note 666
Notes 680
Acknowledgements 714
Index 715

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