The Soldiers' General
320 pages, 6 x 9
32 b&w photos and illustrations, 15 maps
Release Date:01 Jan 2006
Release Date:27 Apr 2005
Release Date:01 Oct 2007

The Soldiers' General

Bert Hoffmeister at War

UBC Press

Self-doubt so plagued him that he suffered a nervous breakdown even before fighting his first combat action. But, by the end of the Second World War, Bert Hoffmeister had exorcised his anxieties, risen from Captain to Major-General, and won more awards than any Canadian officer in the war. Fighting from the invasion of Sicily in July 1943 to the final victory in Europe in May 1945, this native Vancouverite earned a reputation as a fearless commander on the battlefield – one who led from the front, one well loved by those he led. How did he do it?

The Soldiers’ General explains, in eloquent and accessible prose, how Hoffmeister conducted his business as a military commander. With an astute analytical eye, Delaney carefully dissects Hoffmeister’s numerous battles to reveal how he managed and how he led, how he directed and how he inspired. An exemplary leader, Hoffmeister stood out among his contemporaries, not so much for his technical ability to move the chess pieces well; there were plenty who could do that. Rather, Bert Hoffmeister was exceptional for his ability to get the chess pieces to move themselves.

The most comprehensive study of any Canadian military commander to date, The Soldiers’ General will appeal as much to the student of military history as it will to anyone in search of a good story.


  • 2007, Winner - C.P. Stacey Award for scholarly work in Canadian Military History
Douglas E. Delaney is an assistant professor of History at the Royal Military College of Canada, and Infantry Officer (Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry).


1 Looking at Command

2 A Young Man before the War

3 The Years of Company Command and Personal Turmoil

4 Battalion Command: Training For War

5 Battalion Command: The Battlefield Test

6 Brigade Command

7 Division Command and the Liri Valley

8 The Lessons From Liri

9 Gothic Line to the End in Italy

10 Northwest Europe and After

11 Hoffmeister and Command




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