Being an old Marine out of the Vietnam War I could appreciate what was done that was one tough assignment for all listen and learn history at its best
On the sacred mountain remembering his brothers
Almost like being there Audiobook close your eyes or just listening a world of difference Love my AudioBooks!
I LOVE books. And dogs & quilting & beading & volunteering.
I very much enjoyed "Code Talkers", especially as a mild interlude to "The Wheel of Time" which I've been non stop listening to thru 5 big long audiobooks...I really needed a break and this was perfect.
Most are at least familiar with the story of the Navaho Code Talkers of WWII however this book goes deeper into the story of the young Navaho's, many of whom came directly off the reservation as farmers and sheepherders, listened to a Marine tell them about the secret critical mission Navaho and English speakers were needed for and were at the recruiting station the next day. Most didn't have time to talk to their families as most families didn't have phones.
As backstory, Mr Nez goes lightly into his personal history as a boarding house student who was punished for speaking his native language, the way his family lived when he was a child in the 1920's and 1930's and the treatment of native Americans during that time-this is lightly touched on and not a big part of the story but it's important for the listener to have an understanding of the situation.
I highly recommend this audio book for all ages, especially for teens who need to hear about young heroes who, when the country declared itself at war with Japan, wrote that they were warriors and wanted to defend their country as its first citizens-even though the government had mistreated them for over a hundred years.
This book explained how the USA was able to use a homegrown and little respected national Resource to maintain our national Freedom.
Inspiring, interesting, fascinating
Chester's use of his heritage, the Sing, to deal with the trauma of war
It was amazing to see how these men grew despite difficulties at the Indian Schools then used that strength to benefit others
Audible listener who's grateful for a long commute!
The first time I learned about code talkers was over a hot, humid summer in Missouri, during basic training at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO. One of my drill sergeants was part Native American, and he proudly told the story of the unbreakable code Navajos created in World War II.
Event though Sgt. Duke wasn't one of "the dineh" he was carrying on the Navajo tradition of telling fascinating stories, just as Chester Nez and Judith Schiess Avila do in "Code Talker: The First and Only Memoir By One of the Original Navajo Code Talkers of WWII" (2012).
The extended title of the book sounds almost too formal, but it is precise in a way Nez must have insisted on. At the end of WWI, a US Army battalion in France used Choctaw soldiers as ad hoc code talkers. Seminoles served as code talkers in Europe in WWII, while Navajos served in the Pacific.
Nez was one of the original 29 men, fluent in Navajo and English, recruited from schools and reservations in Arizona and New Mexico, to develop a top secret code. The military was desperate: the Japanese had broken every other code, and machine encryption using a one-use code took hours to encrypt and decrypt. Navajo was ideal: it was rarely written at the time (it was well after WWII that the Navajo Nation even agreed on an alphabet); it was extremely difficult for non-native speakers to learn; and Navajos were raised to memorize long stories.
"Code Talkers" works exceptionally well as an Audible book, especially with the way this story is told. Nez and Avila weave Navajo customs and traditions, such as a medicine bag, into 'a day in battle life' narrative, Nez served as a code talker at Guadalcanal, Bougainville, Guam, Angaur and Peleliu - without ever being allowed to take leave. Nez was about to ship out to Iwo Jima when someone pulled his jacket and realized he'd accumulated enough points to be honorably discharged.
Nez shipped stateside for a few months of medical care, and then went home to his family and their land. He started to have nightmares, haunted by the 'chindi' (evil remnants) of the hundreds of dead enemy soldiers he'd seen. Nez - and the estimated 400 to 500 other Navajo code talkers - kept their work secret, even when tormented by wicked memories.
"Code Talkers" has a lengthy description of Navajo sings - including The Enemy Way, a traditional Navajo cure. Nez went through an Enemy Way shortly after his service ended. More than 20 years later, when his work was declassified and he faced too many questions, he went through another Enemy Way ceremony, followed by a Blessing Way. Absolutely fascinating - and, as Nez would have said himself - they worked because he expected them to work.
David Colacci is an accomplished narrator. Well, that's an understatement after 160+ narrated titles. I don't know if his Navajo pronunciation was correct or not, with the exception of the handful of Navajo words I've heard spoken by native speakers - and those sounded right to me. But, as good as Colacci is in this Audible, I wish Tantor had found a native Navajo speaker to narrate this. The actual language is just that important. This is the first time I'm giving a Colacci audible less than a 5, but it's not a Colacci Issue: it's a producer problem.
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Perhaps this is premature, but if I could stay engaged long enough to finish my listen I might come back to this review and revise it. A fascinating subject by an authority on the material---so why is it so remote? I wanted to know this man because of the respect I have for his willingness to fight for a country who betrayed his people so violently. I'm only a third of the way into it, but the only thing I learned was that the Navajo's language was not unusual enough (HUH? How many Japanese do you know speak Navajo?) that the Codetalkers had to create another language to carry out their duties...more later if I stay awake while listening.
I loved Chester's simple way of communicating his life experiences, interposed with Native spirituality, neither glossing over bad parts nor glorifying their horror. The complex relationship between a Navajo and the US Government is complex and sticky, and I never once considered it, even though we have similar concerns with First Nations people here in Canada.
His narration neither dramatizes nor monotone, he was a fantastic narrative choice for this book.
Well worth your time, money and/or credit; I like this man's outlook, his faith, his courage.
An often overlooked part of American history
Unbroken, because it covers the same time period. Both men were shaped by their work in the war, although in drastically different ways
Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.
I can only marvel at Chester Nez' amazing memoir of growing up on the "checkerboard" as a young Navajo boy, his simple, but happy life with his family, the Navajo customs, his peaceful existence. Then he went off to boarding school, where he developed a tough outer skin and learned English, an education that, unbeknownst at the time, would later serve him well. My husband and I listened to Code Talker on a long trip to visit our kids, who live out of state. He's a retired Army Sergeant Major and we both LOVE the military and all who have served our great nation. This book especially touched us. Chester gave up all that he knew as home to serve a country that basically had displaced and taken over the Navajo nation in the past. There's none of that in this book, not a hint of bitterness. The Navajo approach to life is a simple one of love and beauty. Chester's service as a code talker in WWII caused him to break with many of his Navajo customs, such as touching dead bodies. He dealt with what we would call PTSD today, after his return following the war. The thing that I appreciated most about Code Talker is that it is the ENTIRE story of Chester Nez. It is his childhood, his service in the war and his post war experiences all the way until old age. And a marvelous story it is.
This was an engaging book. We not only get a very interesting history of the Code Talkers of WW2, we also get lots of great insight to the lives of Navajos in that same period. Both are very interesting, and the main character is likeable and has such a great story. The reader was very good as well, and captured the friendly tone of the author quite well. I found the whole book very good.