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4.12  ·  Rating details ·  57 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
Two portraits flank the doors leading into Canada's House of Commons: Sir Robert Borden to the left and W.L.M. King to the right. While each man appears flatteringly stern, wise, and charismatic, it is the portrait plaques that are of particular interest. Borden's caption reads: "World War I War Leader, 1914–1918," while King's caption is similar: "World War II War Leader, ...more
Hardcover, 480 pages
Published September 25th 2012 by Allen Lane
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Bernie Charbonneau
Dec 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Every Canadian
Another fascinating read by one of Canada’s better historians. Mr. Cook does an admirable job of comparing these two Canadian figures who were thrust into situations that at the time seemed an impossible situation. Of course it is always easy to criticize events after the occurrence and to blast decisions made at such times but Cook does a good job of portraying these two titans during a crises without influencing the reader into a bias of whether the leader’s decisions were right or wrong. I, m ...more
Steve Davis
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Fascinating look at Canada's Prime Ministers during WWI and WWII. Mr. Cook writes in a highly readable style that makes history come alive.
After reading many books about Canadians at war on the front lines and the home front it was interesting to read about the politics behind it. Prime Ministers Borden and MacKenzie King are very different people with different leadership styles yet both were tasks with the job of governing our nation during the biggest conflicts in our history. Borden was someone I knew little about. I found him quite fascinating, how he took a strong stance during the war over such controversial issues like cons ...more
Aug 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. Tim Cook, in his book "Warlords", compares the Canadian Prime Ministers, Robert Borden and William Lyon Mackenzie King, who had to govern and hold the country together, during the First and Second World Wars. Not only did they deal with supplying troops to help win the wars, but they helped Canada grow from a colony to become the independent nation she is today. Income tax, conscription, aid and benefits for returning veterans, the baby bonus and world wi ...more
Maurice Tougas
Jul 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Tim Cooks is Canada's preeminent war historian, but this is my first attempt at reading on of his books. I'm happy to say, it did not disappoint. Cook paints vivid portraits of Canada during the two World Wars, and the men who led her — Sir Robert Borden during WWI, and William Lyon Mackenzie King during WWII. Cook is not just a skilled and meticulous historian, but a fine writer as well (believe me, these two traits do not always go hand-in-hand in Canadian history). Borden and King were two va ...more
Aug 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
'Warlords' is an interesting and worthwhile read. Partly through the first part, I was reminded, in the best way, of Barbara Tuchman’s 'Guns of August', which I have treasured as the gold standard of writing about the history of wars in the last century. 'Warlords' has the same economical, dispassionate style, a style ideally suited to the subject matter of Canada’s Borden and Mackenzie King. In trying to do justice to both of these Prime Ministers, Tim Cook succeeds better with Borden than with ...more
Daniel Kukwa
Mar 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I don't necessarily agree with the author's evaluation of Canadian wartime Prime Ministers Borden & Mackenzie fact, I could spend hours arguing with him about their value as Canadian war leaders, and (especially with Borden) the terrible domestic legacy bequeathed to the nation, once the guns were silent. That said, I burned through this magnificent, concise, and beautifully researched volume in a single day. It's one of the best works of Canadian history I have read in some time, ...more
H Wesselius
Nov 18, 2012 rated it did not like it
Admittedly I didn't finish the book. There's far too many books on my list to waste time on a book which did not hold my interest. His biography on Borden was mere boilerplate history which could've been written by anyone and hence I quit before starting the King section of the book.

I was impressed enough with his Madman and Butcher biographies on Hughes and Currie to read Warlords as long as I did. However, its just not worth it.
Dec 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, canadiana, wwi, wwii
Interesting book that presents the two prime ministers who appear on our $50 and $100 bills. Cook tries to give a more nuanced view of Mackenzie King, although I'm still left with the impression that he was a ditherer and not a likeable person, although he did manage to keep the country united during the Second World War.
Aug 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Interesting read if you want to know more about Canadian history. Wasn't sure if i would enjoy it at first but found that i did.
Scott Neigh
Reviewed here.
Oct 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing

Like all Tim Cook books, intersting, fresh, sympathetic, excellent.
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Mar 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
A fascinating double history of two Prime Ministers in WW1 (Borden) and WW2 (Mackenzie King). These political histories give needed home front context to the stories at the front of the war fighters that Cook and Mark Zuehlke detail very well.
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Tim Cook (born 1971 in Ottawa) is a Canadian military historian and author. A First World War historian at the Canadian War Museum and a part-time history professor at Carleton University, he has also published several books about the military history of Canada during World War I.

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