Douglas V. Mastriano – Alvin York: A New Biography of the Hero of the Argonne

Alvin C. York (1887-1964) – a devout Christian, conscientious objector, and reluctant hero of World War I – is one of America’s most famous and celebrated soldiers. York is credited with the capture of 132 German soldiers on October 8, 1918, in the Meuse-Argonne region of France – a deed for which he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

At war’s end, the media glorified York’s bravery, but some members of the German military and a soldier from his own unit cast aspersions on his wartime heroics. Historians continue to debate whether York has received more recognition than he deserves.

In Alvin York, Douglas V. Mastriano sorts fact from myth in the first full-length biography of York in decades. He meticulously examines York’s youth in the hills of east Tennessee, his service in the Great War, and his return to a quiet civilian life dedicated to charity. By reviewing artifacts recovered from the battlefield using military terrain analysis, forensic study, and research in both German and American archives, Mastriano reconstructs the events of October 8th and corroborates the recorded accounts.

Winner of 2015 William Colby Award

Author: Douglas V. Mastriano
Narrator: Gary L. Willprecht
Duration: 8 hours 23 minutes
Released: 15 Nov 2009
Publisher: University Press Audiobooks
Language: English

User Review:

childhood blond

Book: Interesting research and presentation. The author provides the standard biographical trace of Alvin York and historical context. He included the background for the famous US movie produced in WWII, versus WWI. What was significant to me is York’s pre and post WWI experience. The picture of the person from a functional dissolute to pious, pacifist to tactical Soldier to social activist in his local community and sometimes on the national level was new to me. It is much more than presented in the book than the famous movie which too many liberties and hid behind artistic license such as the scene where Gary Cooper is struck by lightning (on his rifle) and knock off his horse when he was on his way to kill a man that cheated him. Overall, the book was not fast pace but it was engaging. There were several men who receive recognition for gallantry in WWI but none as famous as Alvin York. This is in part that he did not seek the limelight as well as his origin and beliefs. This latter struck a great cord with the nation that honored citizen Soldiers with great principals.
Note: The author was part of archeological survey to locate the site of Alvin Yorks action that lead to his Medal of Honor. After the action and later years, there were some members of his platoon that disagree with the official record of the events. The survey reinforced the official account.

Narrator: Excellent.

Production: Very good.