Monday, October 13, 2014

Code Talker by Chester Nez

The Code Talker by Chester Nez

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Hardcover; First Edition, First Printing edition (September 6, 2011)

He is the only original World War II Navajo code talker still alive—and this is his story . . .

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 rid him of his culture and traditions. But discrimination didn’t stop Chester from answering the call to defend his country after Pearl Harbor, for the Navajo have always been warriors, and his upbringing on a New Mexico reservation gave him the strength—both physical and mental—to excel as a marine.

During World War II, the Japanese had managed to crack every code the United States used. But when the Marines turned to its Navajo recruits to develop and implement a secret military language, they created the only unbroken code in modern warfare—and helped assure victory for the United States over Japan in the South Pacific. (Amazon)

My Thoughts-

This was a very good story of true heroism and would recommend it to everyone.

This mostly untold story was amazing.  Chester Nez tells his story from his life as a child on the "checkerboard" in New Mexico to his "Code Talker" days to his life back in New Mexico following WWII.  As a young boy he is taken from his home to live in boarding schools so that he will learn to speak English and learn "white man's ways".    He describes a life on the "checkerboard" with much fondness and love but does not appreciate the education he received at the boarding school.  The goal of the schools at that time was to take the Indian out of the Indians.  They were not allowed to speak Navajo but only English at the boarding schools.  When Chester is in high school, the Marines come to his boarding school to enlist Navajos in the Marines to create a secret code using the Navajo language.  He and several of his schoolmates take up the challenge.  29 Code Talkers create the code using the Navajo language and the code becomes one of the keys for turning WWII outcomes around in the Pacific.   A wonderful story about a courageous man and his fellow Code Talkers.

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