A Soldier First: Bullets, Bureaucrats and the Politics of War Paperback – Jul 15 2011
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From the Back Cover
Canada’s most popular military leader since the Second World War tells his own story about our soldiers at war.
In the summer of 2008, General Rick Hillier resigned his command as Chief of the Defence Staff of the Canadian Forces. You could almost hear the sigh of relief in Ottawa as Canada’s most popular, and most controversial, leader since the Second World War left a role in which he’d been as frank-speaking, as unpredictable, and as resolutely apolitical as any military leader this country has ever seen.
Born and raised in Newfoundland, Hillier joined the military as a young man and quickly climbed the ranks. He played a significant role in domestic challenges, such as the 1998 ice story that paralyzed much of eastern Ontario and Quebec, and he quickly became a player on the international scene, commanding an American corps in Texas and a multinational NATO task force in Bosnia-Herzegovina. But it was his role as General Rick Hillier, Canada’s Chief of the Defence Staff, that defined him as a Canadian public figure. In Afghanistan, Canada faced its first combat losses since the Korean War and every casualty suddenly became front-page news. A country formerly ambivalent or even angry about its role in the conflict suddenly became gripped by the drama playing out not only in the war zone of a country half-way around the world, but in the unfriendly conference rooms in the country’s capital as Hillier pulled no punches, demanding more funding and more troops and more appreciation for the women and men fighting a war on foreign soil.
A Soldier First is a hard-hitting, frank account of Hillier’s role in his own words. The man who never backed down from the Taliban or Canada’s top political leaders tells all in what will be one of the most important books to come out of this country this decade.
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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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
w w w . generalhillier . com
Been very successful, but this reading has made me a more complete leader of people
Most recent customer reviews
a very god book by the commander of the Canadian armed forcesPublished 15 months ago by Napoleonic Gamer
Amazing book and, enjoyed to read it and would highly recommended itPublished 20 months ago by Martin Knoepfel
General, Sir you are a hero in our time. Our CF was so very fortunate to have you dedicate so much of your life and passion to it.Published on Oct. 17 2010 by C.L.
Here is an outstanding book on the present state of the Canadian military as seen through the eyes of one of its former leading generals, Rick Hillier. Read morePublished on Jan. 16 2010 by Ian Gordon Malcomson
I purchased this book as a gift so I can't comment on the book itself. I can, however let consumers know that the book was damaged during shipping. Read morePublished on Jan. 2 2010 by Michellebennett