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When Lieutenant General Romeo 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.'
Romeo Dallaire joined the Canadian Army in 1964. A three star General, he served as Deputy Commander of the Canadian Army and later in the Ministry of Defence. In 1993 he was sent to Rwanda on a UN peace-helping mission; he was soon struggling to prevent one of modern history's most shocking events and the UN's famous failed mission: the genocide in Rwanda. General Dallaire was medically released from the armed forces in April 2000 due to posttraumatic stress disorder and is now special adviser to the Canadian government on war-affected children and the prohibition of small arms distribution. In January 2002, he received the inaugural Aegis Award for Genocide Prevention in London. The Rwandan genocide is one of the most shocking examples of political exploitation and ethnic cleansing in living memory. It has been immortalised in the films Hotel Rwanda and Shooting Dogs, and here in the words of a seasoned soldier.