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Sergeant York and His People

Author: Sam Kincade Cowan
Date: 1922
F442.1 .Y63
Recommended: Yes

This book gives a good treatment to the extraordinary story of Alvin C. York, an American footsoldier who displayed tremendous skill and courage in the face of hostile forces during World War I.

Sergeant York was made famous when he captured 132 German soldiers (3 being officers), took about 35 machine guns and killed at least 25 of the enemy. He did this almost single-handed, since his comrades were pinned down by machine gun fire during the exchange between York and the enemy.

The author gives the facts and details of this story. More importantly, he gives the historical background of Sergeant York’s ancestors, their ways, their land and their manner of life. He includes not only the background on the settlement of Fentress County but also anecdotal incidents such as the details of turkey shoots in which the mountain men would compete for the prize with their accuracy. It was not uncommon for York and others of his area to shoot eight or ten times each and have all the shots hit inside an area the size of a man’s thumbnail — this from a distance ranging from 27 to 40 yards.

Cowan also gives details of the conversion of Sergeant York to faith in Christ which prepared him not only for a brief military service but also as an example for those around him the rest of his life.

The book itself may be difficult to find. There is a website where you can read more about his life. Also, a couple of decades after the book, a movie was produced about his life by the title of “Sergeant York” in which Gary Cooper played the lead role.

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