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Description de l’éditeur
THE NUMBER ONE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER
WINNER OF THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S AWARD
'Indisputably the best account of the whole terrible Rwandan genocide.' R. W. Johnson, Sunday Times
'Angry, accusatory and extremely moving.' Caroline Moorhead, Spectator
When Lieutenant General Roméo Dallaire received the call to serve as force commander of the UN mission to Rwanda, he thought he was heading off to Africa to help two warring parties achieve a peace both sides wanted. Instead, he and members of his small international force were caught up in a vortex of civil war and genocide. Dallaire left Rwanda a broken man; disillusioned, suicidal, and determined to tell his story.
An award-winning international sensation, Shake Hands with the Devil is a landmark contribution to the literature of war: a remarkable tale of a soldier's courage and an unforgettable portrait of modern warfare. It is also a stinging indictment of the petty bureaucrats who refused to give Dallaire the men and the operational freedom he needed to stop the killing. 'I know there is a God,' Dallaire writes, 'because in Rwanda I shook hands with the devil. I have seen him, I have smelled him and I have touched him. I know the devil exists and therefore I know there is a God.'
'Read Roméo Dallaire's profoundly sad and moving book.' Madeleine Albright, Washington Post
As former head of the late 1993 U.N. peacekeeping mission in Rwanda, Canadian general Dallaire's initial proposal called for 5,000 soldiers to permit orderly elections and the return of the refugees. Nothing like this number was supplied, and the result was an outright attempt at genocide against the Tutsis that nearly succeeded, with 800,000 dead over three months. The failure of the U.N.'s wealthier members to act as the tragedy unfolded obliged the author to leave military service to recover from PTSD (as well as the near breakdown of his family). While much of the account is a thickly described I-went-here, I went-there, I-met-X, I-said-this, one learns much more about the author's emotional states when making decisions than in a conventional military history, making this an important document of service one that has been awarded Canada's Governor General's Award. And his descriptions of Rwanda's unraveling are disturbing, to say the least ("I then noticed large piles of blue-black bodies heaped on the creek banks"). Dallaire's argument that Rwanda-like situations are fires that can be put out with a small force if caught early enough will certainly draw debate, but the book documents in horrifying detail what happens when no serious effort is made.