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Code Talker: A Novel About the Navajo Marines of World War Two
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57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2005
my son asked me to pick out a relatively short book from the library for his 8th grade book report. Code talker was it. After he raved about it, and spoke of some specifics, i read it myself before returning to the library. It is a beautifully told tale that intertwines the 'simple' english translation of a navajo language filled with spirituality, respect, honor, and a mythological belief in how things came to be.

How these Navajo marines came to become major players in WWII victory in the face of horrendous racially biased treatment at home is gripping. They were great american heroes, only to be treated like dirt upon their arrival home. Powerful, fascinating story that is impossible to put down.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2008
Not having the time to sit and read many hard copy books, I listen to audio books while I do my work around the house and garden. Like those who read the book of this title who said they couldn't put it down, I found that I hated to have to turn off the cassette recorder! I do think that I perhaps got more out of the story by listening to it, because I was able to hear the Navajo language spoken as it should be, rather than just reading the unfamiliar words and not knowing how they would actually sound. The Navajo language is both beautiful and seemingly impossible for a non-Navajo to pronounce! No wonder it made a perfect method for coding information! I recommend this to everyone, young and adult.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 2007
Bruchac has created a terrific historic novel that has enough action for young male adults and enough history and research to appeal to an adult audience. Bruchac does a wonderful job of giving a sense of the complexities of growing up on a Navajo reservation in the first half of the book. The irony of a nation trying to wipe out the Navajo language but using it as a crucial means of communication during 20th century wars should not be lost on the reader while reading the second half of the book. Bruchac's narrator tells this tale in an even-keeled, even-tempered manner. The reader is allowed to gain his own sense of injustice our nation has inflicted upon its Native American population. Bruchac's description of the progression of America's involvement in World War II's Pacific campaign is well laid-out and dramatically presented. Highly recommended.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on May 11, 2006
What did Navajo Indians do in World War 2? The title of my book is Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac. The main character is Kii Yazhi. He is forced to go to boarding school. From boarding school he heads off to war.

In the beginning of the story, he was forced to to leave his family and go to a school where they hated Navajo Indians. In the middle of the book, Kii was a code talker. Being a code talker he spoke the native language as a code in World War 2. To find out what happened to Kii, read the book.

The theme is Navajo Indians helped Americans in World War 2. This book reminded me of wars. Boys who like action will like this book.

B.C. in Annapolis
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 2007
I suggest reading this book if you are interested in the Navajo Code Talkers. I would rate it as 4 out of 5. The book has somewhat of a language conflict, because of the different languages spoken. To completely understand the book, you will want to read it twice.

The book tells of a Navajo who was forced to learn English as a young child. He was assigned an English name and was never aloud to speak Navajo. As he aged and went through High School the Japanese were starting a war with the United States. Because the Japanese would intercept all of the Americans messages there was no way to communicate. The U.S. started to recruit Navajo's because of the language they spoke: Navajo.

The author tells us of his journey through WWII and his heroic story of courage and bravery while fighting to communicate with the "Main land". As the story progresses the author meets new friends and finds buddies from home. He describes war very thoroughly. He also describes the loss of a friend and how devastating it can be, especially during war.

There is a long introduction to the book (about 70 pages) in which reads very slowly. After you get past the beginning it is a page turner. I have recommended this book to my whole class because of the authors stunning ability to compel thoughts and emotions during war and hard times.

This is a short read with lots of interesting facts that have never been aloud to be spoken. The book would be considered Historical-Fiction because of its small amount of fictional content. I liked this book a lot and think that you would too. If you like anything to do with history, I would suggest that you read this book.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on September 29, 2005
Code Talkers is a fantastic book. The author Joseph Bruchac really knows how to write a good book. When the main charector was growing up he was told he would be nothing. When he got out of boarding school he was on his way to being a big succes.

When he grew up he, he decided to do something with his life so he joined the Marines after Pearl Harbor was attacked. At that time the marines were looking for codetalkers Navajo codetalkers. The Marines attimatically sent him to the Pacific to start transmitting messages.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2006
Code Talker, November 21, 2006- reviewer: Danae Sietsema

I would recommend this book to people who have a military background. There are a lot of war references that people, who haven't had the background, wouldn't know. It's a very good book. It keeps the plot going and there is a new twist with every turn of the page. The main character over comes many struggles in his life. He was born a Navaho Indian, and is told that their way of life is worth nothing, and the only way to live is by the white's culture. He goes to a school to learn the white's language. He studies and works very hard, soon becoming fluent in both Navaho and English. Later in his life he's needed in the U.S. marines in order to save lives.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 2014
In Joseph Bruchac’s Code Talker, this non-fictional story took place throughout World War II in a battle between the Japanese and Americans. Ned Begay, a sixteen-year-old Navajo boy, always dreamt of becoming a Marine. He and many others were faced with difficult and daring tasks but they prevailed and made it. These “code talkers” sent important messages back and forth in an unbreakable code that nobody knew but them. How would he help defeat the Japanese? I recommend this book to anyone interested in American history, middle-schoolers and up. This story is filled with an unlimited supply of historical text about the Navajos, World War II, and the way people interacted.

Unfortunately, as we all know, nothing is perfect. To get where Ned was at, he faced many obstacles. He had to leave a family behind, he had very little and he knew nobody. His efforts and contributions saved hundreds of American lives and to this day, his story still lives on.

Pros: Talks about American history, Importance of Code Talkers, Life of a Marine, Very descriptive about World War II
Cons: Starts off slow, needs to go more in depth about the “Code”, few characters
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on September 7, 2005
Joseph Bruchac does a wonderful job of showing the reader the life of the Navajo young during the 1920-30s as well as telling of this powerful and until fairly recently (1969) unknown aspect of the second World War. I am a high school media specialist and have selected this title to use with my student and faculty historical fiction book discussion groups for 2005-2006.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 23, 2013
We are a military family, we read a lot of WWII literature, and this book offers a great perspective on WWII. It is both interesting war history AND a good novel with a fascinating main character.

So much has been written about this book that I agree with, so I will echo those sentiments in saying that this book is appropriate for 5th/6th graders and up, and it is interesting even for adults.

Some interesting things, to me --

1) Bruchac seems to make the case for Total War, justifying the bombings of civilian populations as a way to gain the Japanese surrender, which seems odd when taken with what can only be called America's war on the civilian populations of Native Americans. A little cognitive dissonance for your child to work on.

2) Some very good books have been written on the flag-raising on Iwo Jima and Ira Hayes, for example: Quiet Hero: The Ira Hayes Story and Raising the Flag: How a Photograph Gave a Nation Hope in Wartime (Captured History). I think those books give a more accurate perspective on that event than "Code Talker" does.

3) Great first person, storytelling narration.

Very worthwhile book.
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