Alan Turing


Alan Turing has become a household name in Britain and around the world. Through biographies in print and cinema, we have learned how he conquered the odds of society, expectation and adversity. As I type on a keyboard and use a search engine for images, I pay tribute to this trail blazing innovator who imagined these devices, amongst others. Yet, who was this man, obscured to the world through secrecy and scandal?

Dr Joanna Nadin, writer of Bookwagon favourite Joe All Alone, amongst other books, tackles her subject fulsomely. We have an inkling of the young boy who taught himself how to solve square and cube roots before reading. We realise his unconventionality, from the way he learned, to the way he lived. We appreciate his friendships and loyalty, his devotion to the task. Along the way readers learn how our subject conducted experiments for his own need, created codes and predicted society’s needs well ahead of few other’s expectations. Alan Turing seems indefatigable. Yet, he met rejection and judgment through a repressive 20th century Britain. It seemed that  the judgements of his Sherborne masters, who focused on his scruffiness, were victorious.

Alan Turing A Life Story honours this remarkable man. Within a thorough, fascinating biography, with asides, additional notes and explanations, puzzles and examples, we realise what he suffered and dealt with. We appreciate what he contributed, created and achieved. This is a wonderful biography that we recommend highly.

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A Life Story

Joanna Nadin


Alan Turing was voted the BBC’s Icon of the Twentieth Century in 2019. By the time of his death, his name was known throughout Britain and worldwide. Yet his family did not know of his essential wartime work until two decades after his death. Furthermore, this brilliant man died with a record of ignominy and ignorance.
Dr Joanna Nadin has created a captivating biography of Alan Turing. She takes us through his life, from the setting of his birth in the earliest twentieth century. Britain saw few cars in 1912, while the aeroplane was a recent invention. In addition there were few games and toys and education was within a rigid, confined curriculum. Britain was the head of an Empire. How could a curious, scruffy innovator fit into this world?
However, our subject thwarted convention and expectation from the beginning, even it be working out square and cube roots ahead of teaching himself to read. When the General Strike meant he had no way of starting his boarding school, 12-year old Turing elected to cycle the sixty miles!
Boarding school’s oppression was not an isolated experience for Turing. Although he was labelled by scruffiness and a lack of decorum, his brilliance was key to Britain breaking through at its darkest hour. Alongside discoveries made secretly at Bletchley Park, Turing was instrumental in some of the world’s biggest innovations, from computing to search engines.
This book is an outstanding biography. Its arrangement includes asides, explanations, codes, puzzles, discoveries, copies of Turing’s reports and extra information.  Alan Turing, alongside Rosalind Franklin is part of a superb series that Bookwagon is proud to present.



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