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Code Name: Johnny Walker: The Extraordinary Story of the Iraqi Who Risked Everything to Fight with the U.S. Navy SEALs [Kindle Edition]

Johnny Walker , Jim DeFelice
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (181 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $26.99
Kindle Price: $11.99
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Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers

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Book Description

In this unforgettable memoir, the Navy SEALs’ most trusted translator—a man who is credited with saving countless American lives and became a legend in the special-ops community—tells his inspiring story for the first time.

As the insurgency in Iraq intensified following the American invasion, U.S. Navy SEALs were called upon to root terrorists from their lairs. Unsure of the local neighborhoods and unable to speak the local languages, they came to rely on one man to guide them and watch their backs. He was a "terp"—an interpreter—with a job so dangerous they couldn't even use his real name.

They named him Johnny Walker. They soon called him brother. Over the course of eight years, the Iraqi native traveled around the country with nearly every SEAL and special operations unit deployed there. He went on thousands of missions, saved dozens of SEAL and other American lives, and risked his own daily. Helped to the U.S. by the SEALs he protected, Johnny Walker's life is so remarkable that his tale reads like fiction. But every word of it is true.

For the first time ever, a "terp" tells what it was like in Iraq during the American invasion and the brutal insurgency that followed. With inside details on SEAL operations and a humane understanding of the tragic price paid by ordinary Iraqis, Code Name: Johnny Walker reveals a side of the war that has never been told before.

Editorial Reviews


“A hero. .... Countless Navy SEALs relied on the Iraqi translator’s wile, and sometimes his way with a weapon, to bring them out alive.” (New York Daily News)

“A gripping memoir. ... Code Name: Johnny Walker is an unforgettable story--an essential account of the Iraq War.” (ERIC BLEHM, bestselling author of Fearless: The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of U.S. Navy SEAL Team Six Operator Adam Brown)

“Extraordinary... Definitely a must-read for anyone interested in the perspective of an Iraqi who was willing to sacrifice everything in an effort to improve his country, and who was instrumental in bringing many of the bad guys to justice.” (MARCUS LUTTRELL, former U.S. Navy SEAL, recipient of the Navy Cross, and #1 bestselling author of Lone Survivor)

“’Johnny Walker’ defines the word ‘brother’ and how it transcends blood. He is a true American at heart, one I trusted with my life as much as every other SEAL I had the honor of working with.” (MIKAL VEGA, retired U.S. Navy SEAL and founder of Vital Warrior)

“Johnny is responsible for saving many American lives, especially SEALs. He has an amazing story that I feel needs to be told, and would touch the hearts of all Americans. I cannot express how many lives have been touched by Johnny, and how many of us owe him our lives.” (CHRIS KYLE, former U.S. Navy SEAL and #1 bestselling author of American Sniper)

“Johnny’s ingenuity, indomitable spirit, and utter fearlessness not only protected the lives of many SEALs, but also saved countless innocent Iraqis. He is a true hero to all of us. Seeing Johnny and his family living safely in the United States is something I will cherish forever.” ("CAPT. X," active-duty U.S. Navy SEAL Team commanding officer)

“Fiery, insightful memoir from the former Iraqi translator who fought alongside U.S. Special Forces during the recent war in Iraq. ... [An] invaluable insider’s perspective of Iraq. ... Vivid. ... A harrowing personal journey of courageous self-empowerment during wartime.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“This gripping memoir by ‘Johnny Walker,’ an Iraqi translator who risked his life for eight years to work alongside U.S. Navy SEALs (a job so dangerous that even now he can’t use his real name) is a story of loyalty and courage under fire--literally.” (Parade (Parade's Picks))

“Riveting and illuminating. ... Reads more like a fictional thriller than a memoir. Walker’s story is amazing and gives a unique perspective on the Iraqi War.” (

“A remarkable story. ... Offering a unique perspective on the Iraq War, ‘Code Name: Johnny Walker’ tells the story of one Iraqi who risked everything to fight with U.S. troops, in particular the Navy SEALs, becoming perhaps the only ‘terp’ (interpreter) to be welcomed into their tight-knit fold.” (

“Riviting. ... For those who think they’ve heard the last word on the Iraq war, Code Name: Johnny Walker is an eye-opener. With DeFelice, Walker has written a mesmerizing memoir about his life, including the six years in which he helped American forces.” (Christian Science Monitor)

“A breathtaking memoir -- a stirring tale of courage and convictions. It adds a fascinating and insightful new dimension to the history of the Iraq War.” (Coronado Eagle-Journal)

“Extremely informative and gripping. ... Offers a unique perspective. ... Johnny became the SEALs’ most trusted interpreter, willing to sacrifice everything in an effort to improve his country and keep his SEAL brothers safe.” (American Thinker)

“Johnny Walker went well above and beyond his duties as an interpreter to help save countless American lives. ... Walker became a valuable asset not only because of his language skills but his valor in executing missions. ... Be sure to check out the book.” (The Blaze)

“The story of an Iraqi interpreter who spent six dangerous years working with American special forces before being brought to safety in America.” (New York Times Book Review)

“This is an excellent memoir, a story about the post-9/11 war in Iraq as told by someone who is simultaneously an insider and an outsider. ... “The voice--earnest, disillusioned, passionate, patriotic--seems undeniably to be that of the pseudonymous ‘Johnny Walker.’” (Booklist)

From the Back Cover

This is the unforgettable story of how an ordinary Iraqi became a hero to America's elite warriors—and how that debt was repaid with the gift of freedom.

He was the seals' most trusted interpreter . . . and more

Night after night, while his homeland was being destroyed around him, he guided the U.S. Navy SEALs through Iraq's most dangerous regions. Operating under the code name "Johnny Walker," he risked his life on more than a thousand missions and became a legend in the U.S. special-ops community, many of whose members credit him with saving their lives. But in the eyes of Iraq's terrorists and insurgents, he and his family were marked for death because he worked with the Americans. . . . Then the SEALs stood up to protect the man who had watched their backs through the entire war.

Over the course of eight years, the Iraqi native traveled around the country with nearly every SEAL and special-operations unit deployed there. Using his wits to outthink the insurgency, Johnny Walker unmasked countless terrorists and helped foil an untold number of plots against Americans and their allies. He went on hundreds of missions, saved dozens of American lives—both SEAL and civilian—and risked his own life daily. He and his family lived in constant jeopardy, surviving multiple assassination attempts and a host of threats in Mosul, until a desperate escape through the desert late in the war took them to the relative safety of Baghdad.

Fearing for Johnny's long-term safety after the war, the SEALs—now as close as brothers to Johnny—took it upon themselves to bring him to the United States, where today he and his family live their version of the American Dream. He remains in the fight by helping train the next generation of American special-operations warriors.

For the first time ever, a "terp" tells what it was like in Iraq during the American invasion and the brutal insurgency that followed. With inside details on SEAL operations and a humane understanding of the tragic price paid by ordinary Iraqis, Code Name: Johnny Walker reveals a side of the war that has never been told before.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1047 KB
  • Print Length: 308 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0062267558
  • Publisher: William Morrow (February 11, 2014)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00DB3A0CQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,440 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
47 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I have served with Johnny and the story is true. February 11, 2014
As an American, and a Navy Seal, I know Johnny Walker and how important he is to our community. This story will let you know what he did for our brothers, the United States, and what he risked as an Iraqi interpreter. Unlike (Joe) in the comments above, I can say that Johnny is a great man, an honest man, and someone I trust with my kids. (Joe) You should keep your mouth shut. Over the past two years Johnny and I have worked together to energize the program that the Navy Seal training command assigned to the two of us. Once again an inspiring book, and a true story. I am so grateful to know this man.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible man, incredible book February 11, 2014
By Dan
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I met Johnny in 2003 and conducted over 100 missions with him from 2003 - 2005. He kept me safe during some very trying circumstances. Trust is built through adversity. I trust Johnny with my life and I am proud to call him brother.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True Account March 30, 2014
By Jman
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Having served in Mosul during the war, this is very accurate account of life during that time. It has even answered questions that had gone unanswered about the culture and life in Iraq
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Having fought at various times during 24 years of military service, some of it in Southwest Asia, this great book reflects the kind of first-country national we Americans try to protect overseas. Johnny is a natural leader, courageously humble, and worth putting yourself in danger to ensure he has a better life as a refugee in the United States. Thank Heaven for soldiers, like Tat and Chris Kyle, who broke with tradition to bring this brave man and his family out of Hell on Earth. This book serves as the best demonstration of why we put our lives on the line in foreign countries. I only wish I knew him personally. Read between the lines as you search for the truth.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Iraqi "Terp" who risked everything May 15, 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Johnny Walker was a "Terp" that worked at first with the Army MPs. His fame spread and was later recruited by the Navy SEALS to work with them. Johnny learned English well enough to become a real asset to the SEALs. When the SEALs were looking for a "Jackpot" Johnny could spot the person of interest, "Jackpot" before any other "Terp."
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a great story! March 29, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I very much enjoyed the book. It wasn't a cliff hanger but it was impressive as a personal story of an ordinary or rather extraordinary Iraqi citizen that believed his government and his religion was wrong in killing American citizens in the name of his religion. Johnny Walker had the courage and integrity to follow his convictions and aid the Americans at great personal risk to himself and his wife and children. It is the fortitude we all hope we have to protect our way of life and the people we love!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read March 17, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Kudos to Johnny walker for his story and and his bravery. Thanks to him for his integrity and his service to the forces trying to rid his country of the thugs
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary story, Compelling Read! June 19, 2014
I had a hard time putting this book down long enough to work my day job. I was glued to it during every break though, and finished the book after a couple of days. This is a compelling account of the war in Iraq from a native Iraqi and Sunni Muslim. This is a man who has always believed that God has created us to create and not destroy, and that conviction helped fuel his motivation as he served as an interpreter for the SEALs and other military units. It's this conviction that elevated him above "just" an interepreter into sort of a "Super-Terp", viewing the SEALS as his brothers, and fighting with them to try to restore hope and peace to his country. Looking through his eyes at the violence then and now is illuminating, and I am so happy that he and his family get to live their dream of living in a peaceful and free nation now. I can't recommend this book strongly enough.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read.
An interesting and true story of an Iraqi who went to work for the Americans in a time of war. A good read.
Published 9 hours ago by C. M. DeBruin
5.0 out of 5 stars ONE OF THE BEST books about the Iraq war
ONE OF THE BEST books about the Iraq war. If you like any of the Seal books, this is another addition.
Published 1 day ago by Noach Klein
5.0 out of 5 stars Glad it had a good ending
Very interesting and inspiring story. Glad it had a good ending!
Published 4 days ago by Ellie Zalesky
5.0 out of 5 stars Its nice to see another point of view
Its nice to see another point of view. He is a patriot both to his own country and now the USA.
Published 7 days ago by Mrmike
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent Read!
Published 9 days ago by paul burr
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Wonderfully written with much attention to detail. Extraordinary story. Could not put it down!
Published 13 days ago by C. J.
4.0 out of 5 stars t \
Well written sowing the perspective of a sensible Moslem who had to fight the war but he did it his own way.
Published 14 days ago by Andreas Papademetriou
5.0 out of 5 stars Johnny Walker Extraordinary
JW , not just his story, is extraordinary. It is amazing that adept his values under such horrendous conditions in his home country. Read more
Published 15 days ago by Nom du Plume
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Great read.
Published 16 days ago by L. Dan Johnson
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Very interesting and informative about the conditions he endured
Published 23 days ago by laura howe
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More About the Author

Johnny and I are looking forward to hanging out with the SEALs at a book signing at the Navy Exchange in Norfolk, VA on Valentine's Day at noon. Then, on Saturday, Feb. 15 from noon to 2 p.m., we'll be at Books-A-Million in Virginia Beach. But we were sorry to miss spending time with the Marines at Quantico Thursday -- the event was canceled because of the blizzard. (We hope everyone stays safe during this winter storm that is blanketing much of the South and East Coast!) Thanks to everyone whose come out to see us.

C-Span's Book-TV, which filmed our book launch in New York City, will air the episode on Saturday, Feb 15 at 9 p.m.

Kirkus Reviews praised CODE NAME: JOHNNY WALKER, written by Johnny Walker and Jim DeFelice, as a "fiery, insightful memoir from the former Iraqi translator who fought alongside U.S. Special Forces during the recent war in Iraq." Hailed as an invaluable insider's perspective of Iraq, Kirkus also called Johnny's story a "harrowing personal journey of courageous empowerment during wartime."

The late-Navy SEAL Chris Kyle spoke with great admiration about Johnny Walker while Jim and he were writing AMERICAN SNIPER. Americans soldiers who worked with the native Iraqi interpreter (called "terp" for short) came to rely on Johnny's uncanny abilities to determine faulty intelligence, diffuse volatile situations, calm people down, and convince enemy combatants into giving themselves up peacefully. But Johnny was a warrior, too, commended for saving and rescuing American soldiers under fire. Don't miss this vivid, gritty look at the Iraqi war from an unusual point of view. You can preorder your copy at Amazon.

Jim was honored to work on the MEMORIAL EDITION of Chris Kyle's AMERICAN SNIPER, helping the late-Navy SEAL's widow Taya add personal stories and photos from friends and family to create a fuller portrait of Chris' life. Chris Kyle was a hero not just at war, but he embodied the best American qualities of being a good neighbor and mentor in his community, and the wider community of veterans. Those are the stories you will find in the memorial edition.

"White-hot action" and "intelligent heroes" are the prime ingredients in all Jim DeFelice books. From his first 1992 NY Times bestselling novel "Coyote Bird" [a high-flying "man vs. doomsday machine" thriller], DeFelice has written more than 30 high-energy, thought-provoking books and short stories, featuring male and female heroes both fictional and real.

"I'm one of those people who has a lot of interests and I've been very lucky to be able to pursue them," DeFelice says. "I'm best known for military and spy thrillers, especially 'Leopards Kill,' and probably for my collaborations with Dick Marcinko [Rogue Warrior series], Steve Coonts [Deep Black], Dale Brown [Dreamland/Whiplash], and Larry Bond [First Team/Red Dragon Rising.]"

HOGS #6: DEATH WISH, the sixth installment in Jim DeFelice's Hogs First Gulf War series, is now on Kindle for just $5.99 !!! Blistering action and gritty authenticity puts you in the cockpit with a colorful group of brave pilots flying A-10As during the First Gulf War in 1991.

Hotshot Major Horace "Hack" Preston is rotated into Devil Squadron with a big chip on his shoulder: considering the Warthog A-10A beneath his piloting abilities, he sees it as a stepping stone to a generalship, scheming to take over command from Colonel Michael "Skull" Knowlington. The Colonel, struggling against alcoholism, wonders if it's time to quit the Air Force. Before he can, Devil Squadron is tasked to rescue two British pilots deep in enemy territory. Captain Bristol Wong detects an enemy MiG-29 at the rescue site. Hungry for glory, Major Preston volunteers to snatch the MiG and fly it back to base. But that leaves the mission one pilot short, unless Knowlington flies. It seems everyone in Devil Squadron has something to prove on this mission. Don't miss this final exciting tribute to the real pilots who flew these hard-working, air-to-ground fighter-bombers.


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