A Soldier First

Front Cover
Harper Collins, 2009 - Sports & Recreation - 509 pages
5 Reviews

In the summer of 2008, General Rick Hillier retired 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, military leader since the second World War left a role in which he'd been as frank, unpredictable and resolutely apolitical as any of his predecessors.

Born and raised in Newfoundland, Hillier joined the military as a young man and quickly climbed the ranks. He played a significant role in such domestic challenges as the ice storm that paralyzed much of eastern Ontario and Quebec in 1998, and 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 icon.

In Afghanistan, Canada faced its first combat losses since the Korean War, with every casualty becoming front page news. A country formerly ambivalent, or even angry, about its role in the conflict suddenly became gripped by the drama unfolding not only in a war zone halfway around the world but in unfriendly conference rooms in Ottawa. There, as everywhere, Hillier pulled no punches, demanding more funding, more troops and more appreciation for the women and men fighting a war on foreign soil. This hard-hitting, honest account of Hillier's role--told in his own words--will be one of the most important books published in Canada this decade.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - EliYork - LibraryThing

Fast-paced read that covers Hillier's 35+ years in the Canadian Forces, from an adolescent itch through to his years as the Chief of Defence Staff. Hillier addresses a variety of topics through his ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - LynnB - LibraryThing

I've heard General HIllier speak several times and always walked away inspired as a Canadian, and to be a "leader", not a "manager". His memoir of his time in the Canadian Forces is equally inspiring ... Read full review


Three Between a Rock and a Hard Place 39
Eleven Fort Hood Texas 205
Twelve Back to Bosnia 223
Thirteen Friendly Fire 241
Fourteen Four Stars 261
Seventeen First Year on the Job 341
TwentyThree Time to Go 479

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About the author (2009)

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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