Samuel Holiday was one of a small group of Navajo men enlisted by the Marine Corps during World War II to use their native language to transmit secret communications on the battlefield. Based on extensive interviews with Robert S. McPherson, Under the Eagle is Holiday’s vivid account of his own story. It is the only book-length oral history of a Navajo code talker in which the narrator relates his experiences in his own voice and words.
- Author: Samuel Holiday and Robert S. McPherson
- Paperback: 280 pages
- Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press; First Edition edition (August 13, 2013)
- ISBN-10: 0806143894
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
Samuel Holiday, born in 1924, now lives in Kayenta, Arizona, at the southern end of Utah’s Monument Valley. He is one of the few surviving Navajo code talkers.
Robert S. McPherson is Professor of History at Utah State University–Eastern, Blanding Campus. He is the author or coauthor of numerous books on Navajo history and the history of the Southwest, including Under the Eagle: Samuel Holiday, Navajo Code Talker (with Samuel Holiday) and Viewing the Ancestors: Perceptions of the Anaasází, Mokwic, and Hisatsinom.
Under the Eagle carries the reader from Holiday’s childhood years in rural Monument Valley, Utah, into the world of the United States’s Pacific campaign against Japan—to such places as Kwajalein, Saipan, Tinian, and Iwo Jima. Central to Holiday’s story is his Navajo worldview, which shapes how he views his upbringing in Utah, his time at an Indian boarding school, and his experiences during World War II. Holiday’s story, coupled with historical and cultural commentary by McPherson, shows how traditional Navajo practices gave strength and healing to soldiers facing danger and hardship and to veterans during their difficult readjustment to life after the war.
The Navajo code talkers have become famous in recent years through books and movies that have dramatized their remarkable story. Their wartime achievements are also a source of national pride for the Navajos. And yet, as McPherson explains, Holiday’s own experience was “as much mental and spiritual as it was physical.” This decorated marine served “under the eagle” not only as a soldier but also as a Navajo man deeply aware of his cultural obligations.
At Shumakolowa we are proud to sell rare and hard-to-find books that celebrate Native American and Pueblo culture, history and art. Our selection of books has been carefully curated by our team of experts to inspire and provide insight into these unique art forms.
At Shumakolowa Native Arts, we are proud to bring you books, music and films that celebrate and illuminate Native American artists and the original authentic art forms that are distinctive to Native Americans of the Southwest. These works are written, produced, directed or recorded by Native American authors, filmmakers and musicians or were created in consultation with Native American experts. In our unique collection of media, we bring you the finest scholarly books recognized for their nuanced exploration of Native American culture; music that comes out of Native traditions of prayer, song and dance; and films that use the voices of Native American people to examine their stories, art and history.