A Soldier First: Bullets, Bureaucrats and the Politics of War

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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2010-10-05
  • Publisher: Harpercollins
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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.

Author Biography

General Rick Hillier enlisted in the Canadian Forces in 1973. In May 2003, he 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; he stepped down in the summer of 2008. He is also the author of Leadership. Hillier lives in Ottawa with his wife, Joyce.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Prologue: Breakfast with the PMp. 1
Newfoundland Daysp. 15
Basic Trainingp. 33
Between a Rock and a Hard Placep. 39
Tanks, but No Tanksp. 51
Striking It Rich in Fort Knoxp. 67
Germanyp. 87
Decade of Darknessp. 107
Bosniap. 133
A Flood of Affectionp. 165
Thawing the Icep. 183
Fort Hood, Texasp. 205
Back to Bosniap. 223
Friendly Firep. 241
Four Starsp. 261
Kabulp. 283
Chief of the Defence Staffp. 319
First Year on the Jobp. 341
Recruiting the Nationp. 363
Defensive Manoeuvresp. 387
Making Canada Smallp. 411
Highway of Heroesp. 429
Final Daysp. 457
Time to Gop. 479
Postscriptp. 499
Indexp. 511
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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