Code Talker

By Chester Nez, Judith Schiess Avila,

Book cover of Code Talker

Book description

The first and only memoir by one of the original Navajo code talkers of WWII.

His name wasn’t Chester Nez. That was the English name he was assigned in kindergarten. And in boarding school at Fort Defiance, he was punished for speaking his native language, as the teachers sought to…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked Code Talker as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Can there be anything more poignant than a story about a hero who doesn’t think he’s a hero? About a man who endured a boarding school full of abuse, lived through the horrors and injuries of WWII, returned to hate and racism, lost family, and yet confronted it all with resilience and forgiveness?

This memoir is from Chester Nez—one of the original Navajo code talkers. It contains wonderful photos and the actual Navajo code. This is an important piece of history as well as a genuinely insightful read and peek into Navajo culture.

The last line of the book, written…

Chester Nez was not his name. The American government gave him it. They punished him for speaking his native language, and he faced discrimination. Yet after Pearl Harbour, he accepted the call to serve his country.

This memoir is both a poignant and fascinating story of how the military trained Native Americans to develop and implement a secret code, which remained unbroken, and helped to secure victory for the United States. I recommend it because it was gripping, and completely different from anything I have read in the WW2 period.

From Jana's list on great stories in WW2.

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