Navajo Code Talkers
by Nathan Aaseng, Roy O. Hawthorne
On the Pacific front during World War II, strange messages were picked up by American and Japanese forces on land and at sea. The messages were totally unintelligible to everyone except a small select group within the Marine Corps: the Navajo code talkers-a group of Navajos communicating in a code based on the Navajo language. This code, the first unbreakable one in U.S. history, was a key reason that the Allies were able to win in the Pacific.
Navajo Code Talkers tells the story of the special group, who proved themselves to be among the bravest, most valuable, and most loyal of American soldiers during World War II.
Describes how the American military in World War II used a group of Navajo Indians to create an indecipherable code based on their native language.
The author begins the account with a short history lesson about the Navajo culture and its background. This gives validity to the tale that unfolds of how the Navajo members of the Marine Corps contributed to the victory in the Pacific. The Navajos and their supporters worked hard to convince the Marine generals that their code and their commitment to the war effort were worth taking a chance on. The account of the hardships they endured, from the credibility of their code to the lack of acceptance, makes for interesting reading. Throughout this account, the author candidly explains the many barriers that had to be overcome in order for this valuable component of the war effort to become a reality. This should be a good addition to any nonfiction collection and a valuable research tool for students who are working in this period of history. It should lead to better understanding of the contributions of the Navajo nation to the victory realized by the U.S. in the Pacific, and it will be of interest to reluctant readers because it is fast paced. KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 1992, Walker, 114p, illus, bibliog, index, 23cm, 92-11408, $8.95. Ages 13 to 15. Reviewer: Deane A. Beverly; Reading Teacher, Pawcatuck, CT (retired), November 2000 (Vol. 34 No. 6)
Nathan Aaseng grew up in Minnesota and worked as a microbiologist for four years before becoming a writer. He has written over ninety books for young readers. He lives in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, with his wife, Linda, and their four children.