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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For evil to succeed good men do nothing
Dallaire accepted a mission to Rawanda and entered hell, though at the time he did not know this. The book is a roler coaster of emotions as Dallaire and his UN heroes are constantly let down, exploited and undermined as they risk their lives daily to save others. Dallaire was badly let down and has suffred hugely because of it - finally, having a nervous breakdown. The...
Published on 30 Dec 2006 by Gazza

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6 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too Long
This book was extremely tedious to read and just went on and on and on. The writer could have cut it in half but just piled on too much military jargon and diplomatic speak that was repetitive. The story told of the genocide is extremely sad and powerful and some of the horror described in this book will live in your mind for a very long time. Pictures could have been...
Published on 28 Aug 2009 by Garren Hews


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For evil to succeed good men do nothing, 30 Dec 2006
This review is from: Shake Hands With The Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda (Paperback)
Dallaire accepted a mission to Rawanda and entered hell, though at the time he did not know this. The book is a roler coaster of emotions as Dallaire and his UN heroes are constantly let down, exploited and undermined as they risk their lives daily to save others. Dallaire was badly let down and has suffred hugely because of it - finally, having a nervous breakdown. The book, is how I suspect Dallaire is, truthful with no agenda; knowing right from wrong and not interested in point scoring just trying to help people (in this case understand what happened). Dallaire's honesty is such that he does not paint himself as a saint but shows his own imperfections - that we all have. He was a brave man who others, for political reasons (not least the French)sort to discredit.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it and feel guilty, 31 May 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Shake Hands With The Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda (Paperback)
Absolutely terrifying! Nothing less can be described when it comes to narrowing down the content of this tale by a soldier of the UN. Having had close contact with people who have actually been through this holocaust I was astonished at the reactions of the world! Or rather the lack of response or interest in hundreds of thousands being killed, mutilated, raped, tortured and even God cannot describe what other horrors...General Dallaire has gone through hell himself being there and having seen it all, and as a member of a world community, who did not care at all what went on at that time it is an indictment which strikes deeply. Rwanda was only third or fourth in priority of the UN missions and the grievances and daily hardships the few brave men and women of the UN mission in Rwanda had to cope with did not receive a fraction of the credits from the superiors in the UN and from the world that they deserved. Sad but true, and this story cannot be told by anyone who has not been there, it is extraordinaryly told with passion, strength and a sense of details that can only make the reader weep from the heart.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Revolutionary Read, 15 Sep 2005
This review is from: Shake Hands With The Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda (Paperback)
This book provides a first hand account of the tragedy in Rwanda in the 1990's. I must admit that before reading, I had only a sketchy understanding of what took place largely influenced by memories of the media coverage at the time.
Reading was tough as Dellaire records the terrible suffering of the Rwandan people during a time when the rest of the world chose not to be interested in a small African country with no strategic or economic value. As a consequence over 800,000 Rwandans died at the hands of various militias in just 100 days.
If Dallaire would have been given the requested resources for his peace keeping mission the genocide could have been prevented. Instead the UN proved to be an ineffective and bureaucratic shambles and the major world powers showed themselves to be shamelessly self interested and ignorant.
How Dallaire continues to cope after witnessing such devastation I don't know but having the conviction to document his experience is great testiment to this remarkable soldier.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A redemption of our inhumanity..., 23 Feb 2006
This review is from: Shake Hands With The Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda (Paperback)
In our lifetime we only read a few books that truly redefine how we see the world and our fellow human beings – the very worst behaviours imaginable on one side and the highest levels of courage on the other. This must be one such book.
Read it and be appalled how we can sit in our cosy homes and, in ignorance maybe, allow such barbarity to go on. What is worse, we let our governments dither and debate the legal niceties of what is meant by “genocide”. We in the so-called civilised West should hang our heads in shame that we allowed this to happen, while each country insisting it was someone’s else responsibility to sort it out. The book is unsentimental yet so very painful. Nearly every page punches you emotionally.
Romeo Dallaire, having put his life on the line in Rwanda, now puts his story to print as a testimony to man’s inhumanity but shows us in that in these extreme circumstances, there are some few individuals who are worthy of our greatest respect and gratitude. These few reclaim some semblance of pride we might hope to see in ourselves.
No book has ever made me cry – this one did.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest, 16 July 2008
By 
J. R. Skelton (Devon, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Shake Hands With The Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda (Paperback)
I worked in Rwanda at the time of the genocide and then again more recently. Whatever he thinks of himself, (and in this book Romeo Dallaire is pretty, and unfairly, critical of some of his own limitations) he is thought of as a hero by the majority of Rwandans today as along with Phillipe Gaillard of the IRC, he was one of the few whites of any importance who remained in Rwanda during the attrocities. This book gives a real, but at times unintentional insight into the complete failures of the UN. Whereas Linda Melville's excellent book 'A People Betrayed' concentrates on the history of the machinations and politics, Dallaire tells it how it was, at the time, - on the ground. If he had a ghost writer, they could've make the writing slightly less amateurish, but the editor has done a great job with no irrelevances or other distractions. It is a great book to understand the problems, and to gain some hope for this country. Though not as detailed as some other commentaries, such as that by Phillip Gourevitch, you get a real sense of 'now' in the book. Amazing, as Dallaire poignantly says it took him over ten years to be sufficiently 'stable' to sit and write the book.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Stunning Indictment of Almost everyone, 7 Mar 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Shake Hands With The Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda (Paperback)
A truly stunning book.
Well written, with a clarity that never loses the reader in the complexities of the major events and players.
A powerful critique of the way self interest in the world works and how common hummanity is usually the last consideration in such situations.
It has always been my view that those who seek power are always the very least qualified to posess it - if a concern for fellow human beings is your main yardstick - this only confirms that view.
A powerful argument for a more autonomous and powerful UN - with a standing - large, military force at its disposal.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A difficult subject well treated, 8 Jan 2004
By A Customer
For many reasons, this book had to be written. Not only was it said to be theraputic for the man destroyed by his mission in Rwanda, it strikes me that it is necessary for the broader public to revisit this moment in history with the kind of detail put forward here. Although this account gives less insight to the history that made the genocide possible than other books, such as "We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families" by Philip Gourevitch, it forces the reader to confront the assumptions generally made about UN missions, and about how the UN operates in general. It is difficult to deal with the subject matter as one reads it, but the style makes even the details and names easy to grasp. It is worth the effort to comprehend the horror, if only to join M. Dallaire in saying "never again".
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do the powerful countries make the UN a farce?, 5 July 2004
"Shake Hands With the Devil" by General Dallaire is a sobering account on how we in the West view sub-Saharan Africans as something less than human - we learn that the US military equals 85,000 Rwandan lives with one American life. With virtually no international support but given the impossible task of resolving the civil war in Rwanda with his limited number of UN soldiers and supplies, General Dallaire cannot prevent the ensuing genocide, even as the world ignores all the deaths. He clearly exposes the fraud in our belief in universal human rights, when he gives the example that the killing of 100 Rwandan mountain gorillas will provoke more outrage in the world than the massacre of 800,000 Africans. General Dallaire poignantly rages at all the horror that occurred: finding corpses that move because they are alive with maggots; sun-bleached bones of women who lie on their backs with their leg bones still bent and spread apart after being raped to death; European governments selling arms and harbouring the génocidaires who are responsible for the killings; soldiers of military forces from developed nations who openly denigrate the people whom they are supposed to be aiding, and who vandalize the minimal infrastructure that exists. If nothing else, this book should evoke shame and anger in us all for our common hypocrisy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A riveting book by a Canadian hero, 5 Sep 2012
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This review is from: Shake Hands With The Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda (Paperback)
Although the savagery of the 100-day Rwanda genocide in 1994 tempts one to consign it as something that could only have occurred on the Dark Continent, the underlying problems that set it in motion could have existed anywhere where attitudes had been allowed to become so polarized, people feared so much for their security, and the situation allowed to so degrade.
Romeo Dallaire and his modest team on the ground were able to sniff out fairly early who the bad guys were and what they were up to, but somehow nobody outside Rwanda really seemed to want to know. The French, who had previously mentored and supported the baddies, and still furtively maintained some advisors among them, overtly (I choose my word carefully) caught on too late, towards the end, when they put into action operation Turquoise to try to protect their retreating protégés. Belgium, who had once ruled the country, had the best equipped troops on the ground but fled at first blood. Most other nations, even those present in Rwanda, failed their duties, with the notable exception of Ghana and Tunisia whose troops exhibited such bravery and professionalism. It is a damning account of how elements of the large institution that is the United Nations managed to work nine to five in every sense of the term while the Tutsi population was being slaughtered by an astonishing ten thousand a day. Such attitudes might yet be explicable if the UN had been overwhelmed with resources, but Romeo Dallaire never ceases to describe the poor and often shoddy resources at his disposal, and this would make you think that more people in New York and elsewhere, as well as politicians closer to the epicentre, would have stood up to be counted with better result.
And then you realise that it may not be as simple as that. If every UN commander on the ground were to have the resources that he felt he needed, his troops would be much more likely to get drawn into the fray and become another belligerent. It is made clear that this risk was foremost in the minds of those in New York. Fortunately, in stating his case, Dallaire avoids this becoming a trap. He shows that he never asked for excessively large means to do his job, and instead refers to a number of specific missed opportunities that could have critically altered the course of events that followed. Too many of the misses appear due to inadequate decision making by the UN at critical times rather than resources. I started this book expecting it to be a condemnation of Kofi Annan and his team, who proved to be excessively cautious and unprepared to make the necessary moves when these opportunities arose. Dallaire chooses to avoid this, but why on earth did Annan not go to Rwanda himself? Why on earth did no-one at the UN get the sack?
Dallaire seems to belatedly wake up to the potential role of the media in helping his situation. It may be simply due to the way that he structured his book, but key items such the evil RGF propaganda radio station, RTLM, and on the other side the positive help he got from Mark Thomson of the BBC and the publicity-savvy Bernard Kouchner, only appear half way through the story, once the killings had already been going on for weeks. Impossible to understand is why the RTLM radio that influenced the genocide so much was allowed to continue. It urged Hutus to seek out Tutsis; at one time it even encouraged the assassination of Dallaire himself. Dallaire briefly explains how he personally did not have the means to jam or destroy it, but surely its transmissions were being listened to by countries on the UN Security Council, especially France and America. They did nothing until the body count reached 800,000, perhaps more, by which stage even one of the Americans calculatingly hinted that his country might have accepted the loss of 10 of their (absent) peacekeepers' lives. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda has since gone to work to nail the direct culprits. Certain key people outside Rwanda decided not to follow through, even though they must have been aware of what was happening. For the sake of the future they should be asked to account for their inaction; making apologies is not enough.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very disturbing, 3 Mar 2012
By 
cjrsedgwick "chris4fingers" (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Shake Hands With The Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda (Paperback)
Lt Gen Dallaire has written a remarkably good account of the time he was in command of the UN forces in Rwanda. The book focuses mainly on the meetings he had with all the politicians and combatants from all countries including Rwanda and the UN. It is his record of events from his perspective in theater during 93/94 and I found it shocking from all angles. His brief accounts of the actual genocide are enough to leave me feeling empty and dumbfounded. The book leaves more questions than it answers although the General's' conclusions should not be ignored. I was in my own hell at the time and am now ready to learn. This is just the beginning for me. I want to know it all. If you have any kind of opinion on the UN and it's abilities as the worlds police then this book will alert you to it's misgivings. If you're a dictator and want to commit your own genocide this book is the instruction manual. To Lt Gen Dallaire, I salute you sir. Thank you for writing this book.
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Shake Hands With The Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda
Shake Hands With The Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda by Romeo Dallaire (Paperback - 3 Feb 2005)
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