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

Romeo Dallaire
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 26 2010
"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 both loyalty and barbarism. In fact, there is no more complete end-to-end weapon system in the inventory of war-machines. What are these cheap, renewable, plentiful, sophisticated and expendable weapons? Children.

Roméo Dallaire was first confronted with child soldiers in unnamed villages on the tops of the thousand hills of Rwanda during the genocide of 1994. The dilemma of the adult soldier who faced them is beautifully expressed in his 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. In this book, he provides an intellectually daring and enlightening introduction to the child soldier phenomenon, as well as inspiring and concrete solutions to eradicate it.

Frequently Bought Together

They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children: The Global Quest to Eradicate the Use of Child Soldiers + Shake Hands With the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda
Price For Both: CDN$ 37.55


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Product Description

Quill & Quire

Roméo Dallaire came to global ­attention for his efforts to stop the Rwandan genocide while serving with the U.N. He also received enormous praise for his book on the subject, Shake Hands with the Devil, which won a 2004 Governor General’s Literary Award. Since retiring from the military a decade ago, Dallaire’s chief mission in life has been the fight to eradicate the use of child soldiers, a practice he first ­encountered in Rwanda. Dallaire argues that eliminating this scourge requires nothing short of a complete paradigm shift – we need to see these children not simply as victims of abuse but as “weapons systems.” His reasoning is straightforward: if children are indeed weapons systems, it should be possible to decommission them.

Dallaire portrays the making, training, and deployment of child soldiers in detail that is often painful to read. He enumerates the many reasons why children have become the weapons of choice in conflicts around the world, both by governments and criminal enterprises such as the drug trade. The worldwide proliferation of light weapons is partly to blame, as is the sheer plenitude of available recruits: overpopulation has made children a virtually limitless, self-renewing resource. Children are used as combatants, bait, cannon fodder, and even sex slaves. They are cheap to employ and easily replaced.

If Shake Hands with the Devil was an elegy, They Fight Like Soldiers is a call to ­action. Forced to look on as thousands ­perished in Rwanda, Dallaire is determined to make a tangible impact on a problem that affects more than 25 million children around the globe. He has already begun to do so through his role as leader of the Child Soldiers Initiative, a coalition of military members, ex-child soldiers, NGOs, and academics. Dallaire explains CSI’s mandate, why previous strategies failed, and how technology and the Internet can empower average citizens in the fight for change.

With his tremendous compassion, tenacity, and crusading spirit, Dallaire has earned the public’s respect and admiration in a way few Canadian public figures ever have. Given the heaviness of its subject, many will choose not to read this book. Yet the world ignored Dallaire once before, with terrible consequences. This time he deserves our full attention.

Review

NATIONAL BESTSELLER
A Globe and Mail Best Book
 
“A compelling, moving and insightful book that exposes the problem of child soldiers in all its dimensions. . . . The book is emblematic of Dallaire’s resolve, compassion and abiding commitment to justice. . . . Refreshingly sincere.”
 — Samantha Nutt, The Globe and Mail (Best Book)
 
“Gripping.”
 — Calgary Herald
 
“Discover for yourself the compassion that shines through in this book. . . . Heartbreaking and informative. . . . After all the horrors Dallaire has seen, his enthusiasm and optimism is a wonder. But it’s also infectious and refreshing.” 
 — The Gazette
 
“Painful but beautifully rendered.”
 — The Vancouver Sun
 
“As a documentation of the changing face of modern global warfare it is a must-read.” 
 — Telegraph-Journal

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Most helpful customer reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An unforgettable book! Nov. 4 2010
Format:Hardcover
Over four years ago, I read his first book "Shake Hands with the Devil" about his time during the genocide in Rwanda. That book alone has both haunted me and made me a whole person. It has no doubt changed me profoundly. Now with this new book, he uses his experience as a soldier and a humanitarian to writing a case study on the phenomenon of children being used as a weapons system. He goes into great details of how these kids are becoming a handy way for rouge leaders to fight their wars. In the end, he makes the case for these children and how we can all make a difference in these children lives. This is nothing short of a fearless, bold, tragic, and passionate clarion call on behalf of these children may it be child soldiers or war affected children. I urge everyone to read this extraordinary and unforgettable book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Cause March 30 2011
By Toni Osborne TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
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 reveals another important cause he is equally dedicated to: the fight to eradicate the use of child soldiers.

From the opening pages it is evident that Mr. Dallaire is very affected and still haunted by the memories of the Rwanda genocide. He relates how the life of a child is drastically altered when he is abducted, brainwashed and forced to act as a combatant in a rebel army. Some as young as nine are taken captive, drugged and forced to witness and in some cases even slaughter their own parents. Escape is not an option, if they manage to survive all they would find is the charred remains of their past. Their fate in camps is contingent on their will to survive. They are deprived of food and sleep, rendering them totally dependent on their captors for survival while undergoing a crude form of guerrilla tactics before they are often sacrificed in combat. The fate of young girls is even worse, they are not only trained as soldiers they are often used as sex slaves and their chance of a respectable marriage becomes a dream of the past and unthinkable. In post war, these children are so psychologically damaged they are rarely able to achieve a place in society.

Since 1994, the problem of child combatants has spread to many impoverish populations.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lieutenant-General Roméo A. Dallaire's Quest Dec 25 2011
Format:Hardcover
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.

[...]
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent service Jan. 9 2011
Format:Hardcover
Received book in plenty of time to give as Christmas gift. Easy to buy from Amazon and product exactly as described.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dallaire has been there May 6 2012
By Mec - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I empathize with some of the three-star reviewers. Dallaire's book shifts focus several times: from his experiences, to an (imaginary) child's point of view, to a clear-eyed look at the problem, to some of his work to fight the problem -- which is open-ended because nobody has come close to solving the problem of child soldiers. Specifically, it's a bit confusing whether the part told from a child's view is a real history of a specific person; or a composite history; or a gedanken story.

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.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An unforgettable book May 31 2011
By Booklover89 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Over four years ago, I read his first book "Shake Hands with the Devil" about his time during the genocide in Rwanda. That book alone has both haunted me and made me a whole person. It has no doubt changed me profoundly. Now with this new book, he uses his experience as a soldier and a humanitarian to writing a case study on the phenomenon of children being used as a weapons system. He goes into great details of how these kids are becoming a handy way for rouge leaders to fight their wars. In the end, he makes the case for these children and how we can all make a difference in these children lives. This is nothing short of a fearless, bold, tragic, and passionate clarion call on behalf of these children may it be child soldiers or war affected children. I urge everyone to read this extraordinary and unforgettable book!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Wonderful Book by the Amazing Romeo Dallaire June 17 2012
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
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 world. I love that he wrote the first chapter about his upbringing because this answered a lot of the questions that I had about his childhood and career as a military man. He writes in a way that everyone can easily understand. In a chapter, he writes from a child soldier's perspective and in another chapter he writes from a UN peacekeeper's perspective. Other chapters are wonderful. I enjoyed reading this book. Read it if you care about the well-being of child soldiers. If I remember correctly, a lot of the examples are African and they apply to child soldiers as a whole. This is definitely highly recommended.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars We Need to Be Aware June 6 2011
By Mike B - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
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. 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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking and Confronting Feb. 18 2014
By Bomb Man58 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
LTGEN (Ret'd) Romeo Dallaire has written a thought provoking and confronting book on the subject of the use of child soldiers by many non-state actors around the world. This book explores the widespread use of child soldiers, their recruitment, exploitation and the myriad of legal, moral and psychological consequences of that exploitation.

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.

Gen Dallaire does not pull any punches in his book as he talks about the experiences and atrocities that these child soldiers commit on hapless communities in various parts of the world and their psychological end state after such experiences. It is real 'in your face' stuff.

I was drawn to this book as it addresses a number of very confronting issues that the world must consider, together also those countries that undertake peacekeeping operations around the world. The questions raised are many, including the subject of shooting these children in combat situations and the likely fall out on peacekeepers who are confronted with killing what they thought was an adult combatant, only to discover they had in fact shot dead a fourteen year old girl dressed to look like a soldier (for example) and also the question of should these children be held accountable for their deeds in legal proceedings such as those under taken by the ICC-the international criminal court, that prosecutes human rights and war crimes in post conflict situations. The book describes how these children are sometimes forced to kill families and relatives so that they have nothing to return to, if they did escape or survive their ordeal.

The reader will also gain an insight into the work of Canada's Child Soldier Initiative as it attempts to address the issues of eradication of child soldier use and abuse, the DDR reforms addressing child soldiers, the question of peacekeepers facing child soldiers in battle and also the attempts to deconstruct these children and give them a future free from violence, abuse and exploitation.

In summary a very thought provoking and confronting book that examines a very real issue of today's world, well worth the read and to those of you that do read it, please consider advancing the cause of eradication and outlawing the use of children as soldiers in any form of conflict. Well done, Romeo Dallaire!
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