Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Soldier First: Bullets, Bureaucrats and the Politics of War” as Want to Read:
A Soldier First: Bullets, Bureaucrats and the Politics of War
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  188 Ratings  ·  20 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
ebook, 528 pages
Published June 1st 2010 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 2009)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Soldier First, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Soldier First

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Aug 31, 2010 Bryce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent chronicle of the life and ideologies of one of Canada's finest soldiers. Gen. Rick Hillier details the myriad of political incompetencies that once plagued the Canadian Military system, and he documents the leadership role he undertook in overhauling the flawed 'peacemaker' system to make Canada one of the most respected combat forces in Afghanistan.

Written with the systematic and tactical insight of a military General, and combined with the flair of a grassroots, blue-collar Newfie
Arlene Walker
Oct 20, 2012 Arlene Walker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really liked it! The title says it all..A Soldier First and a soldier to the end. He really stood up for his troops and always had their best interest at heart. He understood his men and women so well; he knew what motivated them, how to train them, and always got to the crux of the matter when discussing issues. He always stood up for what he believed was right for the troops and for our country. What a wonderful Canadian he is! We were so fortunate to have him as the leader of our armed forces ...more
Dec 17, 2016 Brentman99 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book quite interesting. As a retired Canadian Army officer, I was impacted by much of what Hillier had to say. I recall wrestling with trying to do my job and come up with ways to "make things right" for soldiers, but they got done in the end. I think he did a lot of things right and set the stage for Walt N who followed him.

I missed serving under General Hillier a couple of times and wish I had.

I enjoyed the insight he provided and think that it is a worthwhile read for someone wh
Mar 29, 2016 Laurie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, military
Okay, i'm giving up on this one. There are just too many other books I'm interested in at the moment. I've made it halfway through this book and have enjoyed what I did read of it. Not the best written book, and a little dry at times, but it's a good insight behind the scenes. I remember hearing in the news about some of the items he discussed. It was interesting to hear the other side of the story. Sounds like the soldiers to be under his command were lucky to have served with him.
Bernie May
Oct 02, 2012 Bernie May rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Ever run an 85,000 person company? Neither have I, but I got lots of insight on how it's done. Personal leadership, vision, and hard work. If you want to see what it looks like read this book.

(And if you want to learn more about leadership, read biographies. It's the best way.)
Excellent! I don't really know any other way to describe this book.

General Hillier, is straight talking down to earth Newfoundlander who single handily raised the morale amongst the troops he commanded. He was not afraid to get his boots dirty in order to get the job done!
Apr 02, 2011 Bill rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bill by: a gift from my daughter and her boyfriend
An easy read, interesting because I served in the Canadian Forces during the same time frame as General Hillier, mind you my experiences are somewhat different. Still, I recognize the issues he highlights. Not my favourite biography, but still interesting.
Neil Mudde
Interesting, although not a book, which grips your attention very political, and revealing will plow on at a chapter at a time pace
Aug 11, 2011 Jennifer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A good read and an inside look at the Canadian army. But Hillier obviously found his calling as a general, not as an author :)
Feb 03, 2013 Christine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent!! Rick hiller grew up in a newfoundland Outport next to my hometown Community so was an interesting read for me!!
Mar 23, 2010 Lawrence rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent. A little slow moving at first, but the positivity and passion make up for it. Definitely worth the read.
Apr 22, 2014 Kfj rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Feb 17, 2010 Martha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
great look at politics of Canadian Forces
Brian Forbes
May 10, 2012 Brian Forbes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: military
Excellent insight into the General the soldiers loved ... we will not see his like again for some time. Unfortunately, he ruffled feathers in Ottawa ... too bad, they needed ruffling.
Feb 11, 2016 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read!

This is a great look into the CAF and what it takes to lead such a massive public entity. Very enjoyable.
Sep 29, 2011 Sherri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just started, and it's awesome!

This book was amazing and one I think Canadians really should read!
William Vandervelden
One of the most respected officers in the Canadian Forces. I have always admired General Hillier. The book is fantastic. It gives you an officers point of view on how the CF operates.
Megan rated it liked it
Apr 11, 2013
Carl Douglas Smith
Carl Douglas Smith rated it it was amazing
Apr 04, 2017
Ken Goedecke
Ken Goedecke rated it really liked it
Jan 14, 2014
Rhea Stobbs
Rhea Stobbs rated it really liked it
Mar 01, 2016
Mike rated it really liked it
Jan 12, 2015
Brad Coombs
Brad Coombs rated it liked it
Dec 05, 2013
Zach Muttart
Zach Muttart rated it really liked it
Feb 09, 2017
Jessica Walker
Jessica Walker rated it really liked it
Nov 30, 2009
Louis rated it really liked it
Nov 21, 2011
Andrew Janes
Andrew Janes rated it it was amazing
Jul 28, 2011
Regina Oginski
Regina Oginski rated it really liked it
Oct 20, 2015
MJ rated it really liked it
Aug 09, 2012
Sarah rated it it was amazing
Nov 13, 2010
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Cornered: Hijinks, Highlights, Late Night and Insights
  • Fifteen Days: Stories of Bravery, Friendship, Life and Death from Inside the New Canadian Army
  • Unflinching: The Making of a Canadian Sniper
  • Redefining Success: Still Making Mistakes
  • The Regiment: The Real Story of the SAS
  • They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children: The Global Quest to Eradicate the Use of Child Soldiers
  • Decisions
  • The Phantom Major
  • The Taliban Don't Wave
  • The Dogs Are Eating Them Now: Our War in Afghanistan
  • At the Sharp End: Canadians Fighting the Great War, 1914-1916, Volume 1
  • The Perfect Kill: 21 Laws for Assassins
  • Comrade J
  • Cold Hard Truth: On Business, Money & Life
  • Rick Mercer Report: The Book
  • Shift Work
  • Driven: How To Succeed In Business And In Life
  • The Right Man: The Surprise Presidency of George W. Bush

Share This Book