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They fight like soldiers, they die like children : the global quest to… (2010)

by Romeo Dallaire

Other authors: Ishmael Beah (Foreword)

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The best parts of the book are the fictional accounts of the child soldier and the UN peacekeeper. The other parts while true are stylelistically at times flat. The last part could be a charge made to young people fifty years ago. But an introduction to Mr. Dallaire, a man prominent in Canada, but of whom I knew very little about and what he did. ( )
  charlie68 | Dec 15, 2013 |
Dallaire uses a blend of semi-fictionalized accounts, interviews, researched facts, and logic to make a compelling case for a global effort to stop using child soldiers. He analyses the recruitment,training or indoctrination, and uses of children as weapons, fighters, pack horses, spies, and sex slaves in military and guerrilla warfare around the globe. He also explores the complicated challenge of disarming, demobilizing, reintegrating and helping these children. The need for systemic, concentrated efforts is massive. What an impassioned plea for awareness and action. ( )
  HelenGress | Jun 3, 2013 |
Romeo Dallaire is very well-known in Canada. This retired Lieutenant-General was part of the United Nations peacekeeping force in Rwanda in the 90’s and is now an author, senator and humanitarian. In this book, he writes about his experiences with child soldiers and his continuing mission to eradicate this abhorrent practice.

There were a few aspects of the book that I did not like. Dallaire included a couple of fictional excerpts based on the experiences of a child soldier and a peacekeeper. These seemed out of place and I am surmising that Dallaire inserted them to help us better visualize the situation and share the feelings of the people involved. However, I have no doubts that any of the real-life stories he could tell us would be even more poignant and disturbing.

The chapters seem to oscillate between presentations of the cold hard facts and emotional appeals. The final chapter is a lengthy and impassioned plea to young people. Dallaire asks them not to give up hope but to consider what each of them can do to change the world for the better. Reading it made me realize that the entire book sounds much like a mix of conference presentations and inspirational speeches. I could imagine Dallaire making a huge impact speaking live, but something seems lost when his thoughts are put into writing. Also, there seemed to be an excessive amount of time spent on telling us what most of us already know or suspect, such as: humanitarian NGOs and the military have different points-of-view and have difficulty working together.

Despite these criticisms, I would still recommend this book, if only so that people spend some time contemplating this difficult and important issue that doesn’t get as much attention as it deserves in the media. It is particularly interesting to read about this problem from the point-of-view of a high-ranking military official. Usually, books about such issues are written by members of humanitarian organizations. It is not uncommon for civilians to think of military people as cold, aloof, and desensitized to the atrocities of war, but Dallaire does not fit this stereotype and shows, on the contrary, how devastating encounters with child soldiers are for adult peacekeepers. Indeed, it would be a very good thing if military leaders around the world looked at these issues as thoughtfully and comprehensively as he does. ( )
  mathgirl40 | Apr 12, 2012 |
As a military historian, I have studied war for decades, but nothing I’ve read prepared me for this book. Oh sure, I knew of the existence of child soldiers – probably the most widely known example of this perversion was the Hitler Youth who fought during World War II with a verbosity never seen before.

But what happens in other countries out of sight of the rest of the world makes their exploits seem tame in comparison. The measure of a general officer is usually based on how he faired in battles, but I think for Lieutenant-General Roméo A. Dallaire Ret. His greatest battle is still being fought.

His campaign to end the use of children in warfare is now worldwide as he tries to educate people on the cruel reality of how these children are abused along with the difficulties of reintegrating them into their population after the war.

Obviously, this book is a must for the military historian, but it should also be required reading for everyone else as well. If for no other reason than to act as a warning for mankind that cruelties beyond our imagination happen to those least able to protect themselves all over the world.

Thank you General, for fighting this battle. I hope and pray that you and those working with you are victorious.

Somehow, it seems fitting to write this review on a day when children in my part of the world are dealing with which present to open first as their biggest issue.

www.daniellittle.com ( )
1 vote Sturgeon | Dec 25, 2011 |
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 he explains the inadequate resources to rehabilitate former child soldiers. He details the work of the Child Soldier Initiative foundation and his work in getting military and humanitarian organizations to work collaboratively to prevent the use of children in war. He ends the book with a plea to the reader to become involved and he lists the many ways the public can help organizations fighting the use of child soldiers.

I found this book powerful because in addition to the raw facts, Lt-General Dallaire has chosen to include two fictional accounts to illustrate the issues surrounding the use of child soldiers. This first account is the story of a boy who is taken from his village after seeing his family murdered. It shows his transition from child to soldier and his eventual death at the hands of a U.N. soldier. The second story is told from the point of view of a U.N. soldier who kills an opponent during a skirmish with rebel forces only to realize that the "soldier" he shot is just a child. ( )
  imjustmea | May 15, 2011 |
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Romeo Dallaireprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Beah, IshmaelForewordsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Imagine yourself on a hillside in the chaotic throes of war, with a sea of innocents behind you whom you are tasked by duty, honour, mandate and ethics to protect.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0802779565, Hardcover)

As the leader of the ill-fated United Nations peacekeeping force in Rwanda, Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire came face-to-face with the horrifying reality of child soldiers during the genocide of 1994. Since then the incidence of child soldiers has proliferated in conflicts around the world: they are cheap, plentiful, expendable, with an incredible capacity, once drugged and brainwashed, for both loyalty and barbarism.
 
The dilemma of the adult soldier who faces them is poignantly expressed in this book's title: when children are shooting at you, they are soldiers, but as soon as they are wounded or killed, they are children once again. Believing that not one of us should tolerate a child being used in this fashion, Dallaire has made it his mission to end the use of child soldiers. Where Ishmael Beah's A Long Way Gone gave us wrenching testimony of the devastating experience of being a child soldier, Dallaire offers intellectually daring and enlightened approaches to the child soldier phenomenon, and insightful, empowering solutions to eradicate it.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:45:02 -0400)

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Traces the proliferation of child-soldier use throughout the world as well as international efforts to end the practice.

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