Title: The Navajo Code Talkers
Author: Doris A. Paul
Year: 1973, renewed in 2003
Publisher: Dorrance Publishing Co. Inc. 701 Smithfield Street Pittsburg, PA 15222
Note: I received a complimentary copy of “The Navajo Code Talkers” as a member of the Dorrance Publishing Book Review Team. Visit dorrancebookstore.com to learn how you can become a member of the Book review Team.
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World War II was brought about with such a striking force that to this day most people can quote what our President said in response to the Japanese strike at Pearl Harbor, “a day that will live in infamy.” While this is not all that was said at this time, it is true that most know December 7, 1941, whether they know someone who fought in the war or not. As with all history there is more than what is known unless one continues to read and learn throughout life.
I was first introduced to the “Navajo code talkers” in a movie called, Wind Talker starring Nicholas Cage. In all my years of schooling, and not being a history fan then, I don’t remember reading or hearing about these people. It is with sadness that only now, many years later, I learn of such brave men and their families. It is true that no one person or event single-handedly won any conflict, but it is true that when all the armed forces worked together victory was achieved. As with all conflicts there are dangers, fatalities, heroes and forgotten people.
Here is an excellent resource that brings to the forefront and introduces a new generation to those who helped bring about a code that the enemy at that time couldn’t break. Never before had a program of this magnitude been undertaken to include those who were the “first” Americans. This was started by a man, Philip Johnston, who was raised with the Navajo Indians as his father was a Protestant missionary to the Navajo. Mr. Johnston learned the language and customs of the people as he grew up, beginning at age 4, while he also learned English. Mr. Johnston could fluently speak the Navajo language, which was amazing considering the level of difficulty in learning to speak it. He presented the idea for the code, wrote a plan, and waited for that plan to be accepted and begun. What was he doing before then? Mr. Johnston was a civil engineer and a very patriotic individual. He, however, was not the only patriot as you will learn how the Navajo felt about America, worked in the Marine Corp and served America with distinguishing abilities.
Included in this book are many interviews with the “code talkers”, letters written and more history about these Marines. There is a bibliography included to learn more about the “code talkers” as well as how our nation finally recognized these distinguished individuals. I highly recommend reading this book to get a starting place to learn about actual historical events that took place during WWII. The readers may also be surprised as to how the Navajo nation was run at this particular time in history and may wish to research more to find out where this nation of people is today.
My rating is 5-star for the author in taking time to put historical fact to print and remind future generations of those brave men who fought for our country so we could be free today. Also, to the Navajo nation, my sincerest heartfelt thanks for your service and sacrifice for my freedom.