One of the best books I have read. The story is told by Chester Nez, one of the original 29 Code Talkers, and is very well written. He describes his lOne of the best books I have read. The story is told by Chester Nez, one of the original 29 Code Talkers, and is very well written. He describes his life growing up, and the experiences that made him (and the other Navajos)so successful in the Marine Corps. For example, the original 29 were all in one platoon, and earned one of the highest scores in marksmanship in Marine Corps history:one expert, 14 sharpshooters, and 12 marksmen.
These men were recruited from the reservation; several were still in high school. They looked for those who were fluent in both English and Navajo, and who could think quickly. After basic training, they locked them in a room every day for 6 weeks to build the code. The code is based on defining the English word and translating it to Navajo. For example, fighter jet is hummingbird (I won't mangle the Navajo), sailors white caps. Each letter of the alphabet was assigned an English word which was then translated to Navajo.
What I did not know was the danger these men faced all day, every day. There were always 2 together, one to crank the radio and one to talk, usually on the front lines. A runner brought a slip of paper with a message, maybe coordinates of a sniper or machine gun. The talker immediately translated it to Navajo and passed it on to the Navajo on the other end of the radio transmission. He might be on ship or someone else in the battle.
Chester disembarked on the 2nd or 3rd wave at Guadalcanal, Guam, Peleliu, all the horrific Pacific battles. They didn't get R&R like other Marines, they were too valuable. They were always intently aware that American lives depended on their accuracy.
The Japanese finally figured out the code was Navajo, but no code talker was ever captured and the Navajo who were did not know the code, so they could only say the words were Navajo.
I really enjoyed this book, and recommend it to anyone who would like to learn more about the Navajo. The history is important, but the life is fascinating....more
The sisters aren't really weird, at least no more than the rest of us. Of course, growing up in a family that communicates through quotes from ShakespThe sisters aren't really weird, at least no more than the rest of us. Of course, growing up in a family that communicates through quotes from Shakespeare is different, but not so much when they live in a small college town with a father who's a dedicated Shakespearean scholar. Two of the sisters left town and rarely come back, while the oldest stays close, believing that her non-practical parents need her. They all come back home when their mother (referred to as 'our mother' throughout the book) faces a long, difficult course of treatment for cancer. They each have their own reasons for running home, and they turn to their sisters for support and assistance in resolving these problams.
I started reading this book, then paused when Nook offered a chance to read 'All the Summer Girls', by Meg Donohue, for free on my tablet (thru the nook app only). That book was just average, but when I picked up 'The Weird Sisters' again, I realized that both books were about 3 best friends/sisters, each with one unexpectedly pregnant, who come back home to solve major life problems. I waited a bit to give them time to settle, then jumped back into 'The Weird Sisters'.
So glad I did! This is a wonderful book, the characters well-defined and engaging. Best of all was the evolving relationship among the sisters, as they moved from childish to adult interactions. They also began to see their parents as adults, and to appreciate the unique bonds of their family....more
Not the best book I've ever read, not even by this author, but LOVED the premise! First, her husband of thirty years expects her to spend her time withNot the best book I've ever read, not even by this author, but LOVED the premise! First, her husband of thirty years expects her to spend her time with the 'Barbies', the very young, tight-skirt-and-stilettos-wearing second wives of his friends. The first wives were her dear friends, raised kids together, vacations and holidays, the works.
One husband produced his second wife, his personal trainer, 2 months after her friend died of cancer. The second, presented with an ultimatum at a New Year's Eve party, chose the mistress, and married her with all due speed.
On a golfing trip to Scotland, her husband is walking ahead on an Edinburgh street with the other couple, so he doesn't notice when she falls into an open manhole. In fact, he doesn't miss her for 45 minutes, Finally at the emergency room with her, he announces that he isn't going to miss his 2-year scheduled tee time at St. Andrew and leaves her, injured in a strange country, with the Barbie for company.
Home again, doing housework with her arm in a cast because they can't afford to bring the housekeeper in for extra help, she finds her personal filing cabinet open. Wondering why this cabinet has been such a closely guarded secret for 30 years, she looks--and finds a bank statement for several million dollars, along with a list of stocks. She has never owned a new car, never bought anything that wasn't on sale, and they have money?
Finally, the Barbies start a knock-down fight with 2 other floozies at a club dinner, and her husband blames her--in public--for not stopping them.
Do I need to say more? She leaves to house-sit for her brother in Charleston, and decides to figure out what she wants out of life. Hubby still can't understand why she's mad in the first place.
The dialogue Ms. Frank uses for her southern characters sometimes drives me crazy. It seemed a bit overdone here. We probably do talk that way, but it can be annoying in a book. That being said, I may read this again before I return it to the library....more
This lady knows small Virginia towns! I'm not sure where Crazy, VA is, although I suspect Amherst County. The main character is descended from both leThis lady knows small Virginia towns! I'm not sure where Crazy, VA is, although I suspect Amherst County. The main character is descended from both leading families, who dislike each other and her equally. She's a sheriff who has a cat as her deputy--and what a cat! What's not to like? Loved this book!...more
This was one of those books I picked up at a library sale, mostly because I was intrigued by the title. It was a great surprise, as I did not expect aThis was one of those books I picked up at a library sale, mostly because I was intrigued by the title. It was a great surprise, as I did not expect a male author to show such insight into his female main character.
Alison is a young widow who starts working on a dead Corvette in her brother-in-law's garage to avoid facing the ruins of her life. Her terrible secret is that she is mourning not just her husband, dead from a freak accident in a home workshop, but the dying marriage she will never have a chance to fix. It was not only thought-provoking, it was funny, with a great cast of characters. Glad I picked it up!...more
I love Sue Monk Kidd's writing, her courageous, clear-eyed view of how things truly are rather than how we think they should be. I bought this book asI love Sue Monk Kidd's writing, her courageous, clear-eyed view of how things truly are rather than how we think they should be. I bought this book as soon as it was available for my Nook. That being said, I really did not enjoy it. The joy seemed to be completely missing. There was love, and hope, and anguish. Maybe the joy was there and I just missed it, but miss it I did.
The circumstances were hard at best, horrendous at worst. The life of a slave woman in Charleston, SC in the first half of the nineteenth century, was all of that. That of a slave owner who despises slavery was also difficult. However, the human heart finds joy in order to survive, to remain a human. The joy that pokes its head above the fray is present in all of Ms. Kidd's writing, and I sorely missed it here.
That being said, it is a powerful book, and I'm glad I read it....more
Sharyn McCrumb is just a joy to read. This book is based partly on a true story: a preacher in the area of Lynchburg, VA did actually inform his wifeSharyn McCrumb is just a joy to read. This book is based partly on a true story: a preacher in the area of Lynchburg, VA did actually inform his wife and church that God had told him that he should take a teenager as his second wife. In real life he was punished by the courts. In this version he ends up dead.
This book has not one, but three he-done-me-wrong murders, one in the past. Her subtle prose makes them sing. For example, a college linebacker is 'shaped like a thumb'.
I've read almost all her books in the past, but they are even better on re-reading. This is one of my favorites....more