Alan Turing: Unlocking the Enigma: A Review

Turing has become a symbol for the modern world, as a prophet of information technology and scientific rationality, a martyr for gay rights, and also a genius cramped by convention and intolerance.

David Boyle’s mini biography on Alan Turing shows just the surface of the man known for helping break the Nazi’s enigma machine. Turing was ahead of his time in mathematics and had an eye for the future, but was ostracized for his quirks and sentenced to chemical castration for being openly homosexual.

But how much do we really know about Turing? Boyle provides a brief glimpse into his life and untimely death while referencing other biographies written on Turing.

This was one of those Kindle singles that I was unsure if I would like or not.

Ultimately, I ended up enjoying the quick read while deciding on my next book and now have added another biography on Turing to my “To-Read” list.

Alan Turing was a mathematician before his time. The ideas and concepts that he was addressing in regards to AI are only now being brought to life.

This quick read was informative and interesting to read overall, but some of the chapters were a little wordy. Overall, it meets expectations of the title.

I do wish it contained more information on how Turing helped cracking the Nazi’s code, but I did have a better understanding of who Turing was by the time I finished reading. I cannot help but wonder if Turing was born in a later decade if his life would have turned out differently. He was persecuted and prosecuted for being openly homosexual and only recently (2013) received a pardon. Had he not lost his security clearance for being charged with “gross indecency,” he could have contributed so much more to the war effort. It also could have been the difference between life and death with his suicide thought to have been a result of losing his clearance and the chemical castration he underwent following his conviction.

This is a brief glimpse into a tragic tale of the past, a man who contributed leaps and bounds to science and the war efforts, and ultimately took his own life for reasons only speculated.

Thank you David Boyle for providing a sneak peak the life of a diverse man.



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