Grade 6 Up-This book presents readers with a fine combination of Navajo history and culture and background information about World War II in the Pacific. In historical terms, the story of the Code Talkers is a recent one as it was kept secret for many years after the war. Durrett describes the establishment of the program from its inception through declassification and the official recognition of the Code Talkers' contributions. The well-written text examines the failures, successes, and problems that the program encountered from training the first group of Marines until the war's end. It also stresses the fact that the Navajo developed the code themselves rather than just using the language as it is normally spoken. Sidebars add interest and details to the text. Maps and vintage photos are well placed and fully documented. One minor flaw appears; the text states that President Roosevelt declared war on Japan; legally, only Congress can declare war. This title is similar to Nathan Aaseng's Navajo Code Talkers (Walker, 1992), but it focuses more on the individuals who were part of the original 29 Code Talkers while still presenting an overview of the whole subject. It's a definite purchase for World War II shelves, especially if the collection does not include Aaseng's title.
Eldon Younce, Harper Elementary School, KS
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This volume in the Library of Native American History series couldn't be more timely. With young people's interest in World War II piqued, thanks to the film Saving Private Ryan, this strong, well-written resource about the Navajo's role in the Allied victory is a worthwhile acquisition for both its military and its cultural value. Until 1969, when the Navajo Code was officially declassified by the U.S. government, the 420 Navajo Code Talkers remained unacknowledged heroes of the war. Initially, 29 Native American marines devised the code, using the Navajo's complex, inflection-sensitive language. Their work was not only indecipherable to the enemy but also remarkably efficient. What high-tech machines did in four hours, the Code Talkers achieved in literally two minutes. Such astounding facts, as well as stirring personal accounts of battle, make for fascinating, educational reading. Endnotes; selected further reading list. Roger Leslie --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Editorial Reviews