A mesmerizing account of one of the original Navajo code talkers that had me reading snippets of it to my husband the entire time I was reading.
Nez brings to life his childhood near the Navajo Reservation, and it’s easy to understand how he (and the other code talkers) were so tough and able to handle the usually challenging Marine training. I was appalled at some of the treatment Nez and the other Navajo received – while I knew about the mistreatment of Native Americans during the 18th and 19th centuries, some of the events that still took place in the 20th century shocked me.
Nez’s descriptions of how the code was developed was absorbing, and I appreciated the details he provided as to why the code was impossible for the Japanese to crack.
Gripping and compelling, if you’re at all interested in World War II accounts, this is one not to miss.
The first and only memoir by one of the original Navajo code talkers of WWII-includes the actual Navajo Code and rare photos.
Although more than 400 Navajos served in the military during World War II as top-secret code talkers, even those fighting shoulder to shoulder with them were not told of their covert function. And, after the war, the Navajos were forbidden to speak of their service until 1968, when the code was finally declassified. Of the original twenty- nine Navajo code talkers, only two are still alive. Chester Nez is one of them.
In this memoir, the eighty-nine-year-old Nez chronicles both his war years and his life growing up on the Checkerboard Area of the Navajo Reservation-the hard life that gave him the strength, both physical and mental, to become a Marine. His story puts a living face on the legendary men who developed what is still the only unbroken code in modern warfare.
For another look at the war in the Pacific, I can’t miss a chance to plug Laura Hillenbrand’s fantastic book
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption. An amazing story, incredibly well-told.
To see all the books featured in 31 Days of Great Nonfiction, go to the series page.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!