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They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children: The Global Quest to Eradicate the Use of Child Soldiers Hardcover – May 24, 2011
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“[An] impassioned call for action…. Dallaire's troubling book, written out of evident frustration over the world's failure to act…. [is] a blunt, angry cry: ‘What has humanity created?'” ―Kirkus Reviews
“Drawing on 15 years' experience and research, Dallaire explores the wrenching dilemma consisting of the reluctance to shoot children though they are armed and the guilt and horror attendant on killing them.” ―Vanessa Bush, Booklist
About the Author
Lieutenant-General The Honorable Roméo Dallaire (Retired) served thirty-five years with the Canadian Armed Forces, and now sits in the Canadian Senate. He founded and leads the Child Soldiers Initiative in association with the Centre for Foreign Policy Studies at Dalhousie University. He has received numerous honors and awards, including induction as an Officer of the Order of Canada and as an Officer of the Legion of Merit of the United States, the highest military decoration available to foreigners. His book, Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda, won the Governor General's Literary Award in Canada, has been acclaimed around the world, and has been turned into an Emmy Award-winning documentary as well as a feature film.
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Top Customer Reviews
Nevertheless, I'm giving this book five stars. A book is about something. This book is about child soldiers in the Great Lakes section of Central Africa and other African countries. Dallaire has served in UN forces in this area and has experiences with child soldiers on and off the battlefield.
So, even though the style falls short in my eyes, there is plenty of substance -- easily worth one's time and attention.
In the beginning, the author examines his own youth and transition from boyhood to adolescent through to his cadet ship and graduation into the Canadian military as an example of his moral and psychological development and experiences in life. To contrast that transition through life, he then visits the experiences of boys and girls who are often forcibly taken from their families to become child soldiers and the distortion of their childhood into a horrific journey through drug induced rituals and murder to being trained to become a killing machine. Dallaire uses the term 'weapons system' to describe these children when they emerge to undertake their work.
In his book he examines how children are 'recruited' or more correctly, forced, into becoming a child soldier; their training and their experiences as a child soldier. He also then takes the reader through how to 'unmake' these children that do survive and are either captured or manage to escape with their lives and emerge into a civilised society.
The author then relates his own experiences with child soldiers when he was appointed as the UN Force Commander of UNAMIR-the United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda-just prior to the Rwandan genocide and his subsequent work with the Child Soldier Initiative in his native Canada.Read more ›
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. Dallaire also makes the case that young girls are also part of this recruitment process and their abuse is likely more debilitating than that for boys. How can these children ever hope to be accepted back into the culture that they were so viciously abducted from? Their lives are a shamble - they have had no schooling, they likely don't know their age, their parents and relatives, if they are still alive, are probably in a refugee camp.
The best solution is to stop the recruitment and the author outlines steps being taken. There would seem to be some progress and at least with this book (along with a few others) the world is becoming aware of this grievous issue.
This is a sad book - a child soldier is indicative of a "failed state" - a society in disarray. I found the book a little awkward at the beginning, but after 100 pages the persuasiveness and passion of the Mr. Dallaire overwhelms. Of the two short stories, I found the second one better.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Its been a while since I last read this book, but I remember feeling that this is a great book. As he said in his title, he wants to stop the use of child soldiers around the... Read morePublished on June 17, 2012 by Drassie
I have great respect for this man, and his genuine efforts to bring this horrible practice to the attention of the Western world. Read morePublished on March 6, 2012 by Shirley G.