50 Years, 50 Books: The Soldiers' General

Posted: Wednesday, March 30, 2022


As a way to celebrate our anniversary, Acquisitions Editor Randy Schmidt reached out to fifty UBC Press authors and asked them to talk about their favourite UBC Press book. This is what we heard.

Written by J.L. Granatstein

Book cover for The Soldiers' General

The UBC Press series, Studies in Canadian Military History, is without question one of the most successful examples of Canadian academic publishing. I had some role in getting the series started when I was director and CEO of the Canadian War Museum (CWM) from 1998 to 2000, and the first of the present 55 volumes(!) appeared in 2003. UBC Press and the CWM have created a splendid record of cooperation and scholarship in a field of Canadian history that is not as present in our universities as it should be. Dr. Delaney’s study of General Bert Hoffmeister began as a doctoral dissertation like many other volumes in the series. His 2005 book was splendidly written and massively researched, and because Delaney was himself an infantry officer, The Soldiers’ General knowledgably demonstrated how strong leadership and an understanding of terrain, tactics, and weaponry can help soldiers achieve great things. An intelligent and charismatic leader, Hoffmeister was a fearless, lead-from-the-front general officer and almost certainly this nation’s most successful commander of the Second World War. Delaney’s study instantly became a classic – our finest military biography. As important, The Soldiers’ General established Delaney as the very best of the new generation of military historians, and his many subsequent publications have confirmed his standing. This is a superb book by a scholar who has taken his rightful place in the front rank of the Canadian historical profession.

J.L. Granatstein served in the Canadian army and then taught Canadian history for thirty years. He is an Officer in the Order of Canada, was director and CEO of the Canadian War Museum, and writes on Canadian military history, politics, and foreign and defence policy. Among his many publications are Canada 1957–67 (McClelland and Stewart, 1986), Canada’s War: The Politics of the Mackenzie King Government, 1939–1945 (University of Toronto Press, 1990), The Generals: The Canadian Army's Senior Commanders in the Second World War (University of Calgary Press, 2005), The Oxford Companion to Canadian Military History (Oxford University Press, 2010), Broken Promises: A History of Conscription in Canada (Rock’s Mills Press, 2015), and Canada 1919 (UBC Press, 2020).

Posted in 50Years50Books
Posted by Megan M.
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