Pennsylvania politician who wrote biography of World War I hero Sgt. Alvin York is ordered by publisher to correct fact-challenged book

 The Pennsylvania state senator and retired Army colonel who wrote a book about WWI hero Alvin York was told to go back to the drawing board after a slew of mistakes were cited by the book's publisher. 

State Sen. Doug Mastriano wrote about York's famous battle in France, where the sergeant led a small, outnumbered group of U.S. soldiers behind German lines, wiped out a machine-gun nest, killed 20 German soldiers and captured 132. 

York was awarded the Medal of Honor for the unlikely victory. 

Mastriano - a Desert Storm veteran - researched the battle and wrote a book about it titled 'Alvin York: A New Biography of the Hero of the Argonne,' which was published by the University Press of Kentucky in 2014. 

Since its publication, facts and sources have been scrutinized by researchers and historians who questioned Mastriano's claim that he located York's battle site with precision in the vast Argonne Forest near the Meuse River in France. 

In the book, Mastriano repeatedly dismissed any notion that there is a legitimate dispute about the site where he claims this battle took place. 

He has claimed that 'we know with certainty the location of the York action,' that it was 'discovered with 100 percent certainty' and that it 'has been located and verified.'

Researchers also identified erroneous footnotes and raised doubts about a photo that appears on the book's cover. 

He claimed the government photo shows York with prisoners from the famed battle, which contradicted the military photographer's caption.

Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano's book about WWI hero Alvin York has been questioned by researchers

Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano's book about WWI hero Alvin York has been questioned by researchers 

Sen. Doug Mastriano - a Desert Storm Army veteran - researched York's famous battle that earned and wrote a book about it, which was published in 2014. The book has since been scrutinized by historians and researchers

Sen. Doug Mastriano - a Desert Storm Army veteran - researched York's famous battle that earned and wrote a book about it, which was published in 2014. The book has since been scrutinized by historians and researchers

The Associated Press also identified sourcing errors in the book in a story published in March

Ashley Runyon, the publisher's director, told DailyMail.com on Wednesday that Mastriano was sent a list of about 30 'queries' about his book. 

'Some of these queries include simple confirmation of typos while others require the author to provide additional sources to confirm specific information in the book,' Runyon said.  

She said Mastriano has until October to respond. To date, he hasn't, Runyon said. 

DailyMail.com called Mastriano's offices in Chambersburg, Gettysburg and Harrisburg, but he couldn't be reached. His spokesperson has an email that comes back as 'undeliverable.'

In this March 16, 2021 file photo, the statue of World War I hero Sgt. Alvin C. York - a Tennessee native - stands on the grounds of the Tennessee State Capitol in Nashville

In this March 16, 2021 file photo, the statue of World War I hero Sgt. Alvin C. York - a Tennessee native - stands on the grounds of the Tennessee State Capitol in Nashville

Runyon laid out their plans if he responds and if he doesn't. 

If Mastriano responds, the academic press and an outside peer reviewer 'will evaluate the new source material and incorporate in the new printing of the book,' Runyon said in her email to DailyMail.com. 

'The material would be incorporated into the body of the work where possible,' she said. 

If he doesn't respond by the end of October, the publisher 'will suggest potential revisions and have those suggestions approved by an outside peer reviewer.' 

Runyon told the Associate Press that they don't typically ask for an outside review for reprints but was 'adding this external layer of review to ensure the accuracy of any corrections in the reprint.'  

Their tentative timeline for incorporating revisions into the book is for Spring 2022, she said. 


James Gregory, a doctoral student in history at the University of Oklahoma who has researched the actions of other men in York's unit, told the Associated Press, 'It feels like the integrity is coming back.'

He and others interested in York's story have argued Mastriano's research is plagued with errors - small and large - and that a walking trail to the battle location that he helped build actually takes visitors to the wrong spot.

'Hopefully, this new edition next year will finally correct these issues that have been prevalent and help get the story back on track,' Gregory told AP.  

University of New Brunswick officials involved in reviewing Mastriano's work indicated they do not discuss such matters without the consent of the student involved - in this case, Mastriano.

York - immortalized in this Tennessee statue - led a small group of badly outnumbered American soldiers behind German lines to disrupt machine gunfire in the woods of northern France during the waning weeks of the war.

York - immortalized in this Tennessee statue - led a small group of badly outnumbered American soldiers behind German lines to disrupt machine gunfire in the woods of northern France during the waning weeks of the war.

Pennsylvania State Sen. Doug Mastriano speaks at an April 2020 protest against the state's extended stay-at-home order to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania State Sen. Doug Mastriano speaks at an April 2020 protest against the state's extended stay-at-home order to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Runyon said the University Press of Kentucky has also completed a review of Mastriano's second book - 'Thunder in the Argonne' - and does not plan to make any changes. 

Mastriano emerged last year as a leader of protests against coronavirus mitigation efforts in Pennsylvania and then became a prominent champion of former President Donald Trump's reelection bid. 

After Trump lost, Mastriano began seeking to have the results reversed, and has recently clashed with the top-ranking state Senate Republican over Mastriano's plan to force three counties to turn over election equipment and records for review by the Senate. 

Pennsylvania politician who wrote biography of World War I hero Sgt. Alvin York is ordered by publisher to correct fact-challenged book Pennsylvania politician who wrote biography of World War I hero Sgt. Alvin York is ordered by publisher to correct fact-challenged book Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 08:37 Rating: 5

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