Book review: 'Under the Eagle' shares life of Navajo code talker
"UNDER THE EAGLE: Samuel Holiday, Navajo Code Talker," by Samuel Holiday and Robert S. McPherson, University of Oklahoma Press, $19.95, 266 pages (nf)
In “Under the Eagle: Samuel Holiday, Navajo Code Talker,” the narrator, Samuel Holiday, relates in his own words the experiences he had as a Navajo code talker during World War II, specifically while fighting in the Pacific.
Holiday’s story also includes his life experiences before and after the war, involvement in the Marines and fighting for a country that, after the war, seemed to abandon and forget the success the Navajo code talkers brought in defeating the enemy.
Holiday also provides insight and instruction in Navajo Indian traditions, sharing sacred rituals and stories relating to the Navajo culture, and its relationship to America, especially the eagle. The book can help readers learn and appreciate the Navajo culture, beliefs, values and traditions.
"Under the Eagle" details violence that occurred in World War II. Holiday includes experiences, graphic in nature due to fighting in a war, and some rough language.
“Under the Eagle” also tells of the relation Holiday has with Utah and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in connection with his grandfather, Tom Holiday. Tom found a small group of Mormons who lost their way to Utah. After he helped the Mormons find their way to the Salt Lake Valley, the men provided their Indian friend with an “Americanized” name, Tom Holiday.
Samuel Holiday, born in 1924, currently lives in Arizona at the southern end of Monument Valley. He is one of the few surviving Navajo Code Talkers left. Robert S. McPherson is a professor of history at Utah State University in Blanding.
Micah Klug graduated with a bachelor’s degree in health care administration from Brigham Young University-Idaho. She lives in Rexburg, Idaho.
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