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Sergeant York And His People

Sam K. Cowan

Book Overview: 

From a cabin back in the mountains of Tennessee, forty-eight miles from the railroad, a young man went to the World War. He was untutored in the ways of the world. Caught by the enemy in the cove of a hill in the Forest of Argonne, he did not run; but sank into the bushes and single-handed fought a battalion of German machine gunners until he made them come down that hill to him with their hands in air. There were one hundred and thirty-two of them left, and he marched them, prisoners, into the American line.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .He told of it hesitatingly, modestly. Some of the parts was simply the confirmation of assembled data; much of it, denial of published rumor and conjecture—before the story came out as a whole.

I asked the meaning of his statement that he would not "mind the publication if the story were done right."

"Well," he said with his mountain drawl, "I don't want you bearing down too much on that killing part. Tell it without so much of that!"

A rock was picked up and hurled down the mountain.

I then understood why the little mother was "jes' a-waiting till Alvin gits ready to talk." I understood why the son did not wish to be the one to bring into his mother's mind the picture of that hour in France when men were falling before his gun. I saw the reason he had for always courteously avoiding talking of the scene with anyone.

"But," and he turned with that smile that wins him friends, "I just can't help chuckling at that. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Great and interesting book to read about him and mostly about his people where he grew up. Great and easy book to read.

Liked this version, explained USA culture & times thru-out his lifetime. What he was before, during & after receiving medals is clearer. He remains the 'only' to accomplish this, unlike sports heroes (whose records come & go). Worth the read for a history reader.

This book was written by man of similar background and culture to its subject, and provides great insight into their shared culture and values. Alvin York was possibly the most successful war hero of his nation's history, and it is his humility and devotion to his principles that come through mos...more

read some time in 1980

Book differs in some details from the Sgt. York movie with Gary Cooper but adequately pays homage to a true American hero. It is well worth reading.