The Man Who Knew Too Much: Alan Turing and the Invention of the Computer

By David Leavitt
Read by Paul Michael Garcia

The Great Discoveries Series

9.25 Hours 06/01/2014 unabridged
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A “skillful, literate” (New York Times Book Review) biography of the persecuted genius who helped create the modern computer To solve one of the great mathematical problems of his day, Alan Turing proposed an imaginary computer. Then, attempting to break a Nazi code during World War II, he successfully designed and built one, thus ensuring the Allied victory. Turing became a champion of artificial intelligence, but his work was cut short. As an openly gay man at a time when homosexuality was illegal in England, he was convicted and forced to undergo a humiliating “treatment” that may have led to his suicide. With a novelist’s sensitivity, David Leavitt portrays Turing in all his humanity—his eccentricities, his brilliance, his fatal candor—and elegantly explains his work and its implications.

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Summary

Summary

A “skillful, literate” (New York Times Book Review) biography of the persecuted genius who helped create the modern computer

To solve one of the great mathematical problems of his day, Alan Turing proposed an imaginary computer. Then, attempting to break a Nazi code during World War II, he successfully designed and built one, thus ensuring the Allied victory. Turing became a champion of artificial intelligence, but his work was cut short. As an openly gay man at a time when homosexuality was illegal in England, he was convicted and forced to undergo a humiliating “treatment” that may have led to his suicide.

With a novelist’s sensitivity, David Leavitt portrays Turing in all his humanity—his eccentricities, his brilliance, his fatal candor—and elegantly explains his work and its implications.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“Skillful, literate.” New York Times Book Review
“Ambitious…Stimulating.” Seattle Times
“[Leavitt] conveys abstruse information in elegant narrative prose.” Miami (FL) Herald
“With lyrical prose and great compassion, Leavitt has produced a simple book about a complex man involved in an almost unfathomable task that is accessible to any reader.” Publishers Weekly
“Engaging…Leavitt’s signal accomplishment is a comprehensible explanation of the mathematical abstractions in Turing’s seminal papers…On the biography side, Leavitt reveals a perceptive understanding of Turing’s personality, one more sophisticated than the common view of Turing as a martyr to homophobia.” Booklist

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Author

Author Bio: David Leavitt

David Leavitt’s many books include the story collection Family Dancing, a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the novels The Lost Language of Cranes, While England Sleeps, The Body of Jonah Boyd, and The Indian Clerk, a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and short-listed for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Leavitt is also the author of the nonfiction works The Man Who Knew Too Much: Alan Turing and the Invention of the Computer and Florence, A Delicate Case. His writing has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Harper’s, Vogue, and the Paris Review. He lives in Gainesville, Florida, where he is professor of English at the University of Florida and edits the literary magazine Subtropics.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Nonfiction/Biography & Autobiography
Runtime: 9.25
Audience: Adult
Language: English