- Hardcover: 552 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers; Canadian First edition (Oct. 8 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1554684919
- ISBN-13: 978-1554684915
- Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 4.3 x 24.1 cm
- Shipping Weight: 726 g
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #176,008 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
A Soldier First: Bullets, Bureaucrats and the Politics of War Hardcover – Oct 8 2009
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“A tough, competent and proud soldier, Rick Hillier makes it clear in his memoirs that his aim as chief of the defence staff from 2005 to 2008 was to change the way Canada played the game.” (The Globe and Mail)
“A Soldier First is an enjoyable, informative, and often insightful account of a remarkable soldier’s career, written in the personable, ‘folksy’ style for which General Hillier was famous.” (Canadian Military Journal)
About the Author
General Rick Hillier, born in Newfoundland and Labrador, enlisted in the Canadian Forces in 1973 through the Regular Officer Training Plan program. He graduated from Memorial University in 1975 with a B.Sc. degree. In May 2003 Hillier was appointed Commander of the Army, and in October 2003 he was selected as the Commander of the NATO-led International security Assistance Force (IsAF) in Kabul, Afghanistan. General Hillier was promoted to Chief of the Defence staff in February 2005 and stepped down in the summer of 2008.
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But one suspects that this Afghanistan experience is also about a meaningful role for the Canadian Forces after years of so-called "peacekeeping" where nothing happens unless it was agreeable to the Security Council members and the states involved (see also Romeo dÁllaire's story par example). Also, remember when Egypt ordered the UN out of their territory just before they got waxed in the 1967 war. Hillier is rightfully disdainful of the UN and NATO after the end of the Cold War
His depiction of the struggles among departments within the Federal Gouvernment, coupled with the ego of personalities was right on.
His interface with three Ministers of National Defence and two Prime Ministers was well depicted.
Finally his outline, description and decisions on the Afghan conflict will provide Canadians withe the reason we should support these efforts. He constantly reminds us that our sons and daughters are dying there.
This book is required reading for all Canadians, even those that oppose the war in Afghanistan.
His book cuts through all of the always suspected but not really understand beaurocracy hang-ups of Ottawa and its' many pitfalls to expose the underlying reasons for the myriad of problems endured by the Canadian Forces under previous governments and the power hungry civil servants who even todaty, attempt to thwart any change at any level just so they can maintain their privileged positions "at the trough".
It laid bare his true greatness as a Commander, both tactically, and as a caring, compassionate human being.
A great read, and I would highly recommend it.
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