Book Notes: Alvin York – A New Biography of the Hero of the Argonne

This well-written biography of the famous World War I hero traces the path of Alvin York from his childhood in the hill country of east Tennessee, through his service in the Great War, to his post-war life dedicated to serving others.

Author Douglas Mastriano puts you right beside York during his moments of crisis as he struggles to reconcile his faith with the imperatives of military service, undergoes his initial trials in military life, and in particular, demonstrates his incredible bravery and leadership under fire in the Meuse-Argonne region of France.

Alvin York - Douglas Mastriano
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On the 8th of October, 1918, York’s unit is on the attack. but gets into a position that is exposed and pinned down.   Only the trust he had developed with his fellow Soldiers though his proven competence, his commitment to duty, and his faith, gave him the power he needed to act.   York boldly lead a small team of Soldiers in a counter-attack that routed the German position and captured over 130 prisoners.

For his actions he was later awarded America’s highest award for valor, the Congressional Medal of Honor.  Mastriano combines exhaustive research of both American and German archives with detailed forensic analysis of evidence on the ground to validate York’s exploits and shed light on their magnitude.

As a leadership study, Alvin York demonstrates how the power of personal example combined with proven skill made him an informal but influential leader even before promotion to the rank of sergeant.  After his rise to fame, York shows himself to be a true servant-leader by dedicating his life to improving the lives of the people in his community.

Published in 2014, this book is already recipient of several  prestigious awards, and deservedly so.  An excellent read for aspiring leaders.






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