Chester Nez & Judith Avila Code Talker

Last updated: December 6, 2021

This memoir tells the tale of Chester Nez, a Navajo man who was recruited by the Marines during World War II to create a secret military language that helped the United States achieve their victory over Japan. It is filled with moments of intrigue, bravery and honor.

Chester Nez & Judith Avila Code Talker

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Product Details

Key Takeaway: Anyone who is interested in Navajo history and World War II will love this book.

In our analysis of 42 expert reviews, the Chester Nez & Judith Avila Code Talker placed 7th when we looked at the top 10 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

From The Manufacturer

His name wasn’t Chester Nez. That was the English name he was assigned in kindergarten. And in boarding school at Fort Defiance, he was punished for speaking his native language, as the teachers sought to rid him of his culture and traditions. But discrimination didn’t stop Chester from answering the call to defend his country after Pearl Harbor, for the Navajo have always been warriors, and his upbringing on a New Mexico reservation gave him the strength—both physical and mental—to excel as a marine. During World War II, the Japanese had managed to crack every code the United States used. But when the Marines turned to its Navajo recruits to develop and implement a secret military language, they created the only unbroken code in modern warfare—and helped assure victory for the United States over Japan in the South Pacific.

Expert Reviews

What reviewers liked

The book not only tells of the development of the code, and the battles in which it was used, but shares the author’s life growing up on the Navajo reservation, and his life after the war. His humor, humility and wisdom make this worth reading.
The best part of the book is that it isn’t just a book about war, it is Nez’s personal story. It is written in a conversational tone, almost as if he were in the room with you and telling you about his life’s trials and tribulations, and his conflict with his Navajo upbringing, war and life outside the Checkerboard.
It provides new insight into the development of the code and the Navajo cultural and historical background. This book will appeal to anyone looking for more background behind the code talker’s program through the experiences of one of its creators.

What reviewers didn't like

While I appreciate Judith Schiess Avila's commitment to Cheter Nez's "voice" I found the prose repetitive and flat.
A bit too much filler.
Although Code Talker does not contain detailed battle experiences or tactical details of messages transmitted, it makes the story of the code talkers personal through the lens of one man’s experience.
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