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They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children: The Global Quest to Eradicate the Use of Child Soldiers
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They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children: The Global Quest to Eradicate the Use of Child Soldiers

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  994 Ratings  ·  79 Reviews
"The ultimate focus of the rest of my life is to eradicate the use of child soldiers and to eliminate even the thought of the use of children as instruments of war." —Roméo Dallaire

In conflicts around the world, there is an increasingly popular weapon system that requires negligible technology, is simple to sustain, has unlimited versatility and incredible capacity for bot
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 26th 2010 by Random House Canada
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Apr 04, 2011 rated it really liked it

I picked up this book on a whim while I was at the library one day. It was an amazing book that packed such a powerful message. You can tell that Dallaire has been quite affected by what he witnessed in Rwanda. Unlike so many others, Dallaire uses his anguish for the better and has begun a campaign to eradicate the use of child soldiers. He introduces the reader to the methods used by armies and militias to collect children and indoctrinate them into a combat role. While society normally views c

Mikey B.
Dec 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: africa, canada, journalism
An exacting, but depressing account, of the use of children as soldiers in military combat. Mr. Dallaire describes the recruitment phase – why child soldiers are used and the extreme brutality that they undergo.

Mr. Dallaire makes a strong point that once a child soldier “has been made” the damage done to he or she will never be undone. Remoulding an ex-child soldier to adjust back into society will be long-term work and involve excruciating psychological restructuring of the former child.

Mr. Dal
May 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book goes beyond calling attention to the plight of child soldiers as victims. What I learned, and what I want to remember is this:
The use of child soldiers is a weapons system where the child is only the most obvious victim. As a weapons system, it is as destructive to humanity as land mines and chemical weapons. In the same way that the world has moved to condemn and eradicate the use of these two, we must do the same with the use of child soldiers. As with slavery, apartheid, civil right
Mar 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
I read Shake Hands With the Devil a few years ago after we learned about the Rwandan genocide in social studies. I enjoyed it but most of it seemed very political from what I remember and hard to comprehend. Recently Romeo Dallaire came to our school and spoke about the genocide, child soldiers, and how the new generation has to make a difference. This is a great book if you're interested in helping change the lives of those currently living in poverty in Africa, and his methods of how to eradic ...more
May 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children is a book with a special personal connection for me. I received this book through a book signing at Politics and Prose in Washington DC, where I had the privilege to hear Romeo Dallaire speak about his experiences in Rwanda and in developing this project. As a conflict resolution student, I studied the Rwandan genocide and reconstruction, and was very familiar with Mr. Dallaire’s outreach efforts in promoting post-conflict sustainable peacemaking. ...more
Shonna Froebel
Nov 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: canadian
Stayed up late last night to finish this one as there is a waiting list for it at work. It is a heavy subject, but a very readable book. Dallaire writes in a very conversational style and the book is written like it is speaking to you directly. There are three sections where he has included a fictional child soldier and fictional UN peacekeeper to help show the feelings, and reality of the experiences.
He talks about the situations that create child soldiers, the community repercussions, the inte
Apr 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites, to-reread
This book has left me utterly confused and baffled.
If there's any stance I was 100% sure of, it's my stance against international intervention. "Stop interfering! Let people solve their own problems." These kinds of statements were my first reaction when encountering books/movies/news reports about African issues written by foreigners (i.e White people).
But after reading this I'm really not sure what I think anymore.

The book has made it obvious that the prevention of child soldiers, that fightin
Doriana Bisegna
Jun 08, 2013 rated it liked it
While this was a heavy subject and a very concerning one, I was totally immersed in Romeo Dallaire's crusade against child soldiers! It is hard to believe what goes on in the world but it is all too real and beyond anyone's comprehension. By countries banding together and by individuals standing up for children's lives and rights to have a childhood will we eradicate this senseless practice in these underdeveloped nations. This should not exist in the world and the fact that it does shows that w ...more
Dec 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
I'm about half way through this book. I want to keep on top of what Romeo Dallaire is doing, since he's a bit of a hero of mine. So far it's good; can't read too much of it at once, because it is hard on the psyche. He has included what I think is a very effective fictionalized account of a child soldier's life. I like that this is a former military general writing fiction about a little boy! What a lovely man.
Dec 14, 2011 rated it liked it
The author made some interesting points and presented child soldiers in a new way, and also had a chapter written toward young readers, advising them how they can help with the situation.
However it was extremely repetitive... it could have been cut in half and delivered the same message, but considering he's a peacekeeper and not an author, I'd say he did a great job at presenting a horrifying reality.
Jan 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Why do I always kick off the new year on a downer?

I hate to say it, but I kind of wimped out on this one after the first-hand account of being a child soldier (which is fictional but a composite of what I suspect it is like). I skimmed through the rest. Still, I'm convinced that this is a big problem that is for the most part ignored. Dallaire's experiences in Rwanda seem completely horrific.
3.5 stars

Romeo Dallaire was head of UNAMIR, the peacekeeping mission in Rwanda, just before the genocide in 1994. Since then, he has become involved in trying to stop the use of children as soldiers. This book looks at how and why children become soldiers, some as young as 7 or 8 years old, and offers ways to get this stopped. He also talks a lot about the group he has formed to try to stop it; his group is trying to get the military and humanitarian NGOs to work together. He has done a lot of r
Krys (Krys Reads)
Nov 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, 2013
“We [the international community] do not have a choice about whether or not to intervene; we have a fundamental responsibility to humanity to intervene ’in extremis’, even with force.”

After reading “A Long Way Gone” by Ishmael Beah, I became increasingly interested in the topic of the use and abuse of children as soldiers, and reading further into the eradication of this inhumane treatment of innocence. The glory of working in a book store is that anything will and can catch your eye while you’r
Jennifer Lucking
Romeo Dallaire's passion and expertise is so incredibly evident in this book. His humanitarian heart mixed with his military background provides a unique look at the issue of child soldiers. It took me quite a while to soak up this book. I didn't find the writing to be filled with unnecessary jargon, but the rawness and sincerity of his writing was a lot to take in; I could only read about a chapter at a time and over a long period of time.

It would benefit me to regularly re-read his last chapt
Mar 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book could be better with some more serious editing work and a little more attention to prose in the fiction chapters. At the end of the day it's not a huge detractor: Dallaire's strength is in his experiences and his knowledge, I can suffer his writing style.
Aug 07, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
An A+ high school research paper.
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Quite simply, this is challenging material - it is hard to read due to the tough issues it reviews and shocking examples given. Having once raised my rifle at a child and put him in my sights, and having been to Rwanda, I had some experience aiding my thoughts as I read. This is certainly a book every military leader should read as child soldiers are out there and we are not taught about the associated issues except on rare occasions. A subject without easy answers, I hope their use does not inc ...more
Jul 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
It is a coincidence that I started this book a couple of days before the Omar Khadr settlement was announced. Khadr is mentioned once in it (he was between being news at the time). He definitely qualified by international standards as a child soldier at the time of his capture and incarceration at Gitmo. This is not an easy read, but it is an important one. It took me around 7 years to get to reading it, since I bought it at a book-signing event by LGen. Dallaire. Children, boys and girls, are i ...more
Jul 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
The book is written more like a very lengthy academic paper. I found it to be wordy using many pages to say little and not really staying on topic with the titles of the chapters. He pauses to share two fictional stories about a child soldier and a peacekeeper. I wasnt impressed with either. The child story was pages of their imagination first with no warning at the start of that chapter what you were about to read."
Melissa Kiley
Jul 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I wanted to give this book a 3.5 star rating as it had some interesting and informative ideas about the making and rehabilitation of child soldiers, but was a bit repetitive at times. I rounded up as he is not a writer by trade. Although I didn't always agree with his ideas or opinions (for example, the idea of whom we should consider to be child soldiers), the book made me think and made me consider areas of this topic I hadn't before, such as the use of female child soldiers.
Sep 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
I really like Dallaire and his first work was absolutely fantastic but while this book covers an important topic at an important time, it unfortunately was not so well written and too concise.
Jan 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Romeo Dallaire was the commander of the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Rwanda in 1994. He witnessed the genocide of 800,000 Rwandans in the ethnic conflict between Hutus and Tutsi. His experiences spurred him into becoming an advocate for genocide prevention and for the eradication of child soldiers in conflicts around the world. His first experiences with child soldiers began during his tenure in the African Great Lakes region. In this book, he also mentions other areas with prevalent use of child ...more
Toni Osborne
Mar 02, 2011 rated it liked it

L.Gen. the Hon. Roméo Dallaire (Ret’d), was the commander of the UN mission to Rwanda, there he experienced first-hand the horrors committed during the 1994 genocide. In his memoirs “Shakes Hands with the Devil”, he highly criticised and exposed the failures of the international community. Mr. Dallaire is known to be a strong humanitarian, an advocate of human rights and has dedicated his life to the cause for which he has been recognized and has received numerous awards.

In his second book, he r
Heather N
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
heart wrenching, important
Jenna | Bookmark Your Thoughts
Jan 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
The ONLY reason this received a 4 star is because I am too emotional to give such a sad book a 5 realistically, it deserves a 5 star.

An emotionally difficult read yet completely worth the time, Dallaire takes readers into a world that most of us forgets exists and cannot imagine to comprehend.

Dallaire, a Lieutenant-General in the Canadian Forces, discusses the horrors during his experiences as a peacekeeper during the Rwanda Genocide from 1993 to 1994. These experiences are what led Da
Jan 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: current-affairs
I picked up this book at the library after reading the excerpt on the back stating that child soldiers should not be viewed strictly as victims, but as a weapon system. It aroused feelings of discomfort, and I decided to borrow it and read what a former UN-peacekeeping officer has to say.

He obviously was affected deeply by what he saw in Rwanda - children being used as weapons of genocide, and in the book he describes his experience and a little of the background history of child soldiers. Throu
Maria Elena
Mar 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Retired Lieutenant-General Roméo A. Dallaire gives a detailed description of the issues governments and NGOs face as they try to stop the use of child soldiers in conflicts around the world. Thanks to his military background and his first-hand experience with child soldiers during the Rwandan genocide, Lt-General Dallaire is able to give a clear account on how and why children are used in armed conflict. He says candidly that the key to stopping this epidemic of child soldiers is prevention as h ...more
Jul 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
"They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children: The Global Quest to Eradicate the Use of Child Soldiers","Romeo Dallaire"

"This was a compelling book which explained the recruitment and use of child soldiers in detail, and the horror of not only their victims but the life many child soldiers are forced to live. Physical and psychological abuse and drugs are frequently used to keep them in line, and describes the effects on their former communities. He also tells about the fate of girls abduct
Anne Maesaka
Nov 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Romeo Dallaire is a retired Lieutenant General of the Canadian Armed Forces. He was in charge of the UN Peacekeeping forces in the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. His first book Shake Hands with the Devil is an account of that mission in Rwanda. His first book is fabulous in my opinion. Showing the frustration of Lt. Dallaire in trying to keep civilians alive when his hands are tied by the U.N. This book looks at the use of child soldiers primarily in the African nations. Lt. Dallaire has now taken on t ...more
Feb 24, 2015 added it
This book was first I've read which used sections of fiction to bring to life the facts and history that make up the majority of the book. For two chapters Dellaire writes from the perspective of a child soldier, inventing an entire history of child including the names of family members and a vivid description of a first time experimenting with drugs. I think it was a thoughtful tool given the audience Dellaire is trying to speak to (namely anyone not already involved in action against the use o ...more
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Lieutenant-General The Honourable Roméo A. Dallaire, O.C., C.M.M., G.O.C, M.S.C., C.D., (Retired), Senator, has had a distinguished career in the Canadian military, achieving the rank of Lieutenant-General and becoming Assistant Deputy Minister (Human Resources) in the Department of National Defence in 1998. In 1994, General Dallaire commanded the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAM ...more
“Where you are born should not dictate your potential as a human being.” 33 likes
“The reason why we believe that change is possible is not because we are idealists but because we believe we have made it, so other people can make it as well.” 10 likes
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