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Code Talker: The First and Only Memoir by One of the Original Navajo Code Talkers of WW II | [Chester Nez, Judith Schiess Avila]

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

Chester Nez, the only surviving member of the original twenty-nine Navajo code talkers, shares the fascinating inside story of his life and service during World War II.
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Publisher's Summary

Chester Nez, the only surviving member of the original 29 Navajo code talkers, shares the fascinating inside story of his life and service during World War II.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

©2011 Chester Nez and Judith Avila (P)2011 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"A unique, inspiring story by a member of the Greatest Generation." (Kirkus)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (752 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Debbie Toney, Alabama 10-07-14
    Debbie Toney, Alabama 10-07-14 Member Since 2013

    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.

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    "Gentle, Humble, Code Talking, Navajo MARINE"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    TM 05-06-14
    TM 05-06-14

    TJM

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    "An Important Story"
    Any additional comments?

    A window in to the Navajo lifestyle and culture at the time. An epic story of a marine in combat during the pacific theater of the second world war. An inside look at the cultural difficulties of a man respected and accepted during his time in the military, but not so on his return to the America he served.

    It is certainly an important story and America should be very grateful to these Navajo men who chose to serve their country even as She treated them poorly.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Hough 10-19-13 Member Since 2009

    Retired educator living the good life in Hawaii. Son of a WWII army veteran and served 6 years in US Navy during Vietnam. Avid listener

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    "True American Heros"
    Would you listen to Code Talker again? Why?

    This is a graphic look at the lives of Native Americans from the Navajo Nation who were true heroes in the island hopping campaigns of the US Marines during WWII.
    Chester Nez gives us a look into the lives and hardships faced as a young Navajo growing up during a time when Native Americans were considered as not even being American Citizens, His accounts of his life events from herding goats and sheep, attending boarding school, to his historic role as a living code.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Chester as one of the original 29 developers of the living code and his account brings to life the historic role the Code Talkers played in winning the war in the Pacific.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    His account of the destruction of over a million head of sheep and cattle by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Also his many descriptions of he battles and the role each of the code talkers played in the war.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    True American Heroes


    Any additional comments?

    Too bad the only film about Code Talkers stars a white man and down plays the importance of the Native Americans.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jackie Phoenix, AZ, United States 08-07-12
    Jackie Phoenix, AZ, United States 08-07-12 Member Since 2011

    I am a child of the 50's, love kids, animals, plants. I adopted a Sulphur mustang mare (desendant of the warhorses of the Conquistadors).

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    "The Navajo Code Talkers rock!!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would recommend this audiobook to a friend. This is history in first person, and it is important for people to understand the contributions of the Navajo people to this country. It's also an opportunity to glimspe an old and honored culture. I admire Chester as an individual, and the culture that could produce men of such integrity.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I liked the opportunity to understand more about the Navajo point of view. I also love the prayer Chester's father taught him. We all need to achieve balance, and to walk in beauty.


    Which character – as performed by David Colacci – was your favorite?

    Chester, of course.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, because I didn't want it to end. I did listen to it twice.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Terry A. Lowe Herndon, VA United States 04-24-12
    Terry A. Lowe Herndon, VA United States 04-24-12
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    "Excellent listen"
    Any additional comments?

    I really liked the look into life before being a code talker and after.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandra Reno, NV, United States 08-07-12
    Sandra Reno, NV, United States 08-07-12 Member Since 2013
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    "It's Hard To Believe It's Not Fiction"
    If you could sum up Code Talker in three words, what would they be?

    This WWII true story of one of our real heros is better than all the "page turners" I've read all year. Chester gives us a clear picture of his childhood on the "res" and his challenges as a Native American in a white army corps. If your read no other WWII book read this one. Then look up Nez, he is still around.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Chester tells his own story in his own words


    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Becky PA 06-19-14
    Becky PA 06-19-14 Member Since 2013

    Becky

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    "Fascinating piece of history"
    If you could sum up Code Talker in three words, what would they be?

    Enlightening, Informative, Delightful


    What other book might you compare Code Talker to and why?

    I've never read another book like this one so I don't have an answer to this question


    Which character – as performed by David Colacci – was your favorite?

    Chester Nez


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The sadness of how they were treated as children and how their animals were inhumanely slaughtered. Heartbreaking.


    Any additional comments?

    I finished listening to this book about 2 weeks before Chester Nez died. It was a worthwhile book, giving me a glimpse into how a people who were treated so unjustly were willing to risk their lives and use a language that wasn't appreciated to save a country that allowed their harsh treatment to continue. I have such a respect for their service. Thank you.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carlos Brunswick, ME, United States 12-26-13
    Carlos Brunswick, ME, United States 12-26-13
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    "Excellent story!"
    What made the experience of listening to Code Talker the most enjoyable?

    The authenticity of the story. I grew up near where Chester did, so what he said brought back many memories.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I appreciated his recount of his childhood. Growing up with Navajos, I never really heard how they were treated by the Govt in the past.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I learned a lot. That's always a good thing.


    Any additional comments?

    I'm glad I had the opportunity to read this book. Not only learning of a Navajo's experience in life, but also in war. The Code Talkers did an amazing thing, in spite of their treatment by non-natives before and after their contributions.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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    Jane Mastic, NY, United States 09-22-13
    Jane Mastic, NY, United States 09-22-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Great story! Truth IS better than fiction."
    What did you love best about Code Talker?

    Learning about the Navajo culture from the source.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Chester - he exemplifies integrity, courage and authentic American spirit.


    Which character – as performed by David Colacci – was your favorite?

    Chester


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Hearing how the sheep were slaughtered by government officials. These are the horrific scenes that many Americans rarely know about.


    Any additional comments?

    I would highly recommend this book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jessica SAN JOSE, CA, United States 05-21-13
    Jessica SAN JOSE, CA, United States 05-21-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Starts Slow, but amazing story"
    What made the experience of listening to Code Talker the most enjoyable?

    I enjoyed learning about the Navajo culture and the Code Talker's contributions to WWII.


    What other book might you compare Code Talker to and why?

    A Higher Call is another WWII book I really enjoyed, but it takes place at the Western Front, while Code Talkers takes place on the Eastern Front.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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