Book #45: Shake Hands With the Devil

Romeo Dallaire, Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda, (2003), 562p

It has taken me twenty odd years of reading to be able to define why I read.

I read to escape.  I read to entertain myself, escape from reality, and maybe unwind a bit. So, reading dark and harrowing non-fiction tales grate on me. I don’t really read to inform myself or for historical reasons.

I think that is one of the reasons I have had such a hard time finishing this book for my book club meeting on Friday. It haunts me. It is not a book I look forward to picking up before bedtime, in fear of nightmares. Yes, these horrible things happened. And yes, we need to know what happened in hopes of NEVER repeating such atrocities. But this is not a feel good, bedtime read.

But I finished it.

I’m really not going to go into many details about it. It’s sad and heartbreaking, told through such intense academic language with countless names and military terminology. Thank goodness for the glossary at the back. I’m just going to sum this book up by saying that the world as a whole failed the Rwandan people. Badly. And are we really learning from our mistakes? Likely not.

Yes, this is a Debbie Downer post, but it was a Debbie Downer book. I was in a mental slump for nearly two weeks as I was reading this book. That’s how long it took me to read it because it was so content dense and I had to be careful when I read it.

2015 Reading Challenge: this could be classified as so many. But it shall be called “a book set in a different country”.