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A Bit of History Worth Learning About
on May 7, 2012
Created by specially recruited Navajo tribesmen, for use in the Pacific Theater the Marine Corp Navajo Code Talkers Program befuddled both the Japanese and American code breakers. A quick and reliable means of sending information this code with in a code played a vital part in rooting out the Japanese in the Pacific. Navajo Code Talkers helped to insure the outcomes of battles for Guadalcanal, Guam, Imo Jima and others. This is the story of the people who helped create, develop and implement the Navajo code based on the Navajo language, another extraordinary part of the American war effort during WWII.
The first chapter starts off kind of slow, but I do like the idea of looking at a snippet of life for a Navajo family before WWII, though in this case it didn't work. I understand the intent to humanize this story, but the writing is weak and this chapter, at least the way it was written, was unnecessary. Fortunately after chapter one things pick up pretty quickly.
There are quite a few official communiques to slog through, but if you can get through them, McClain also interweaves firsthand accounts and interviews with them. Navajo Weapon is clearly and concisely laid out in an engaging manner, sure to keep you interested. McClain details battles seen by the code talkers and how the code was used during those battles. She also provides enough background information for the reader to really understand the importance of the battles and the opposition's state of mind of and reasoning for their actions.
McClain's story is well documented, with a large appendix at the end if you're interested in some of the technical points. She correctly states the facts and I agree with most of her interpretations. She is very good at the cause and effect, without putting too much of her own personal bias into it, which is always a bit difficult. I also appreciate her following the soldiers back home in the epilogue.
I find the subject of the Navajo Code utterly fascinating. This story reminds us yet again how so many different people contributed and worked together to win the war. I liked this book by Sally McClain; the length was reasonable and writing style adequate. I recommend it for anyone who is interested in WWII, Navajo's history in the U.S. military or someone who likes codes.
Marines never die - they just go to hell and regroup!
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