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83 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Code Talker is a "must read"
Code Talker
Memoir of the last original code talker, Chester Nez as told to Judith Schiess Avila

This is a story that truly has something for everyone. History, touching human drama and Native American experiences woven brilliantly into a beautifully written story that restores your faith in the strength and courage of humanity.
Sometimes a hero...
Published on September 7, 2011 by Karen Matthews

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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This book is the real deal, and with humility
Navajo Chester Nez, who leaves his Indian Reservation to join the Marine Corps at the age of 17, tells a humble story of a group of fellow Navajos who participated in virtually every Marine assault in the Pacific, from Guadalcanal to Iwo Jima, because, as Navajo speaking code talkers, they were too valuable to relieve. So they went into hell on numerous occasions,...
Published on April 3, 2012 by A. T. Lawrence


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83 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Code Talker is a "must read", September 7, 2011
Code Talker
Memoir of the last original code talker, Chester Nez as told to Judith Schiess Avila

This is a story that truly has something for everyone. History, touching human drama and Native American experiences woven brilliantly into a beautifully written story that restores your faith in the strength and courage of humanity.
Sometimes a hero bursts upon the scene like Superman leaping over a tall building in a single bound. But sometimes a hero puts one foot in front of the other to face the trials and challenges of life with courage, faith and quiet dignity.
Chester Nez spent most of his life as one of those unknown heroes. His footsteps took him from the Navajo reservation where he was born to the school where he was forbidden to speak his native language. When he left school to join the marines those footsteps took him to the shores of Guadalcanal in World War II.
Using the Navajo language he became a member of the team that developed the only code the Japanese were unable to break. This system enabled the US to communicate plans that helped bring victory earlier and saved countless lives.
But there was no welcoming parade for Nez when the war was over, he returned to face the prejuidice of living as a minority. The role of the code talkers remained secret for decades.
After meeting Nez, Avila also put one foot in front of herself for four years to bring his unique personal story to light. The years spent interviewing Nez, researching and polishing this story were well spent. Her first book is considered to be an "important work" by historians and a "great read" in general.
The human interest of this compelling story makes it a perfect choice for anyone simply looking for a good book. The historical content makes it a double header. Add fascinating insights into the life of a Native American and anyone who enjoys a great book will feel like they hit the trifecta with this one. It is a page turner that is as readable as it is informative. I just hope that this is only the first of what will be many books by this exceptionally talented emerging author.
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49 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Be very careful ...., September 29, 2011
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I can only advise prospective readers to be very careful if you have work that has to be done ... you will NOT want to put this book down once you start reading. As a former high school teacher I wish that this book was required reading for every teen. The work ethic, dedication, and moral character demonstrated by Chester Nez is genuinely inspirational. I learned a great deal about the Navajo culture and values, and how these values were integral to their success in battle, and their entire life. The campaigns on Guadalcanal, Guam, Peleliu and Bougainville owe a great deal of their success to the actions of the Navajo Code Talkers. Many of the code talkers have gone to their reward unable to relate their invaluable contribution to winning the war in the Pacific. We, as Americans, are truly fortunate that Chester Nez finally told the story of these incredible individuals.

Semper Fi, Chester ... I can only hope that some day I may have the honor of meeting you.
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47 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing story of the Navajo culture and the bravery of the Code Talkers, September 30, 2011
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Imagine what it must be like to be told that your culture and people are inferior, and that you must never speak the language of your parents and ancestors. Every time you try to speak it, you're punished in school.

Then, the next thing you know, the government is relying on you to develop a code within that forbidden language. A code so difficult to crack that even members of your own culture who speak the language will not be able to understand what it means.

Chester Nez describes it best:

"The officer wasted no time. He looked around the room at each of us, the twenty-nine carefully selected Marine recruits, and told us we were to use our native language to devise an unbreakable code. I read expressions of shock on every face. A code based on our language? After we'd been so severely punished in boarding school for speaking it?"

Chester is the last living representative of the Navajo Code Talkers of World War II. The code language he and his fellow recruits developed and used in battle was one of the most closely guarded secrets of the war. Historians agree that without it, the outcome of the war would have been completely different.

This month, Chester published his memoir, based on 80 hours of interviews with Judith Schiess Avila. Chester's story, not to mention his ability to stay calm while interpreting, is definitely worth reading.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This book is the real deal, and with humility, April 3, 2012
Navajo Chester Nez, who leaves his Indian Reservation to join the Marine Corps at the age of 17, tells a humble story of a group of fellow Navajos who participated in virtually every Marine assault in the Pacific, from Guadalcanal to Iwo Jima, because, as Navajo speaking code talkers, they were too valuable to relieve. So they went into hell on numerous occasions, without complaint, afraid, but not so afraid that they failed to do their duty. At the time they joined the Marines, Navajos still did not have the right to vote, nor did many on the reservation even have the luxury of electricity during the 1940s, and yet they loved their land and were proud of whence they came. It wasn't until 1968, when their code talking activities had been de-classified, that they were finally extended the recognition they deserved, including visits to the White House to receive awards from their Commander-in-Chief. Judith Schiess, who writes the book in collaboration with Chester Nez does a superb job in capturing the tropical battlefields of the Pacific as well as the subtle nuances of Navajo culture. Inspirational - truly.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story, long untold, October 7, 2011
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A long overdue recognition of our Code/Wind talkers who helped us win the war in the Pacific. The courage and determination of these unsung American HEROS deserves the respect and recognition of all Americans. They went from Island to Island without R&R and were expected to be more than Marines, and they were. They got no rest or glory, and still did their job flawlessly. Without their work the war would have lasted much longer at best, and we could have lost at worse.
Paul C Covel
USNR Gator Navy
GMG2 1961-1963
USS San Marcos LSD 25
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History revealed, October 30, 2011
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If, as a child, I had been exposed to history as presented in this book, I would have grown up to be a historian! No dry dates and rote statistics here. Code Talker breathes with the lives of Chester Nez and his Navajo compatriots as they develop the still unbroken code that helped guide and protect United States forces through the war in the Pacific. I wish children today could learn history as it is told in this book. The view is personal, yet informative on a grand scale about the events in the conflict with Japan. Mr. Nez's memoir is fascinating, inspiring, and truly memorable. Read it!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First Person Account is Priceless!, March 5, 2012
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Karen Fisher (Pacific Northwest) - See all my reviews
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"This is the memoir of WWII veteran, Chester Nez, the last surviving member of the original 29 Navajo code talkers. With so many books, information, and even a movie on the subject, some might argue that we already know all there is to know. Right? Wrong! Mr. Nez's book, along with co-author Judith Avila is a treasure trove of personal, firsthand information. He is the only one of the code talkers to write a memoir. That is what makes this a powerful memoir. Clearly in his own voice, we learn all about what it was like, beginning with his life with his Navajo family. To understand his service to his country, one must know where he was literally coming from. This background information is important to any story, but especially important for Mr. Nez' story because his culture is one that is not known or understood by most Americans. He is a hero, though I'm sure he would balk at that. Read this memoir. It will live in your heart forever. Thank you, Mr. Nez and thank you, Judith Avila! This story is truly priceless!" ~Karen Fisher-Alaniz, Author of Breaking the Code: a Father's Secret, a Daughter's Journey, and the Question That Changed Everything
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read, December 7, 2011
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I knew about codetalkers before read. The book gave me more facts on the great legacy of thesee brave Marines. Eye opener for those interested.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Story of a Real American Hero, December 30, 2011
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This is one of the best books on World War II that I have read in a long while. While reading the book, the Arizona Republic ran a great article about the author and his life. I have talked to people who have met Mr. Nez and he is even more interesting in person. This book should be required reading for any student of American, Arizona, or Navajo history.

Like many of our people, the Navajos have not received credit for embracing their country and defending our freedoms while yet being discriminated themselves by the society they sought to protect. Mr. Nez's description of boarding school is as interesting in some ways as his combat experiences.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Story!, March 21, 2012
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I bought this in the Kindle version and was so impressed with it that I actually bought the print version to have and share!
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