Customer Reviews for

Code Talker: The First and Only Memoir by One of the Original Navajo Code Talkers of WWII

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

Code Talker is a great read for so many reasons

CODE TALKER

Memoir of the last original code talker, Chester Nez, as told to Judith Schiess Avila

This is a story that truly has something for everyone. History, touching human drama and Native American experiences woven brilliantly into a beautifully written st...
CODE TALKER

Memoir of the last original code talker, Chester Nez, as told to Judith Schiess Avila

This is a story that truly has something for everyone. History, touching human drama and Native American experiences woven brilliantly into a beautifully written story that restores your faith in the strength and courage of humanity.
Sometimes a hero bursts upon the scene like Superman leaping over a tall building in a single bound. But sometimes a hero puts one foot in front of the other to face the trials and challenges of life with courage, faith and quiet dignity.
Chester Nez spent most of his life as one of those unknown heroes. His footsteps took him from the Navajo reservation where he was born to the school where he was forbidden to speak his native language. When he left school to join the marines those footsteps took him to the shores of Guadalcanal in World War II.
Using his Navajo language he became a member of the team that developed the only code the Japanese were unable to break. This system enabled the US to communicate plans that helped bring victory earlier and saved countless lives.
But there was no welcoming parade for Nez when the war was over. He returned to face the prejuidice of life as part of a minority. The role of the code talkers and his heroism remained secret for decades.
After meeting Nez, Avila also put one foot in front of the other herself for four years in an effort to bring his unique personal story to light. The years spent interviewing Nez, researching and polishing this story were well spent. This, her first book, is considered to be an "important work" by historians and a "great read" in general.
The compelling human saga of this story makes it a perfect choice for anyone simply looking for a great book to read. The historical content makes it a double header. Add inspirational insights into the life of a Native American and anyone who enjoys reading will feel like they hit the trifecta with this one. It is a captivating page turner that is as readable as it is informative. I just hope that this is only the first of what will be many books by this exceptionally talented emerging author.

posted by AnAvidReaderKM on September 7, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Recommend-you should check it out

I found code talker slow and a repeat of the same material.His account of the action of the code talker was vague. The history of of Nez Navajo life was very good. I found out a lot of problems the Navajo people went though and respect of nature.

posted by lift-48 on May 6, 2012

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  • Posted June 9, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    This book assembles two very solid narratives into a great story

    This book assembles two very solid narratives into a great story. The writing voice used by the biographer, Judith Avila keeps it a dictated, First Person memoir, so it stays fresh all the way through.The first is a very moving account of Chester Nez' life growing up in the Checkerboard region of the Navajo Nation in New Mexico. What made it particularly special for me is that his family home in Chichiltah, between Gallup and Zuni, is a spot we're very familiar with, having passed through many times every year from 1985 until our last official buying trip for our American Indian Arts business in 2007. His stories of the sheep and goats, the hogans and the mesas, junipers and PInon pine blending into the Ponderosas brought it all back to me. This part of the book also highlights the incredible cruelty of the Indian School System that American Indian kids were subjected to before it was ended, an official policy of destroying indigenous cultures and languages. The fact that from a culture derided by the government came a group of servicemen who created the basis of victory in the Pacific theater in WW2 from the language they were punished at school for speaking is only one of the amazing things about Nez' story. The second part deals with a ripping good story of the fighting spirit of these men in the horrific and utterly alien conditions (for them) in the South Pacific as they fought the Japanese in several assaults. The Code Talkers were in the forefront of every action and their total losses at war's end were much fewer than the odds would have it. I have twice been fortunate to be present when living Code Talkers were in parades or ceremonies in Gallup, and I am not exaggerating when I say that those communities gathered to show them honor revered these men as true American Heroes. Last week, we received news that Chester Nez, the last living Code Talker had passed to the next world. His memoir helps make up for the loss of this great American. This is one of the stories that every schoolchild should know by heart. I highly recommend it. One complaint I had against the Nook version of the eBook that I read was that the Appendix, which relays the entire, once-top-secret Navajo Code, is not in text, but in images which result in such small text sizes it is illegible. Learning the many Navajo words and expressions the book is well-sprinkled with was a real pleasure for me, so it was sad that the code itself was obscured. The publisher should make sure that the code section is also text for the educational value it carries. Add a star if they eventually do that..

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  • Posted December 28, 2011

    A must read for the student of WWII.

    If you are looking for an action book, 1st person, WWII, this isn't it. It is an interesting book about the best kept secrets of WWII. The movie WindTalkers was very good, but of course Hollywood made up some things about it that didn't happen. I an a student of WWII and found this one an excellent read. I highly recommend it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2011

    Really

    Intersting but there are better books

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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