Top critical review
Not the most compelling read
Reviewed in the United States on August 1, 2018
I really hate to give a mediocre review to this book because of the disrespect it implies to the author who tried to do something great and noble for people not his own, but unfortunately, Dallaire is not the most compelling writer I've come across. In the end, I had to agree with other reviewers who found his tedious, meticulous accounting of the minutiae of this operation hard to follow and endure, something that might have been prevented by hiring a ghostwriter. Specifically, the author bandies about too many difficult names of individuals who played some part in the tragedy, names and acronyms that are well-known to him but completely unfamiliar to the reader. If you do attempt to read this book, you might do well to refer often to the helpful glossary at the end.
I can save you a long, torturous slog through the administrative details and endless frustrations he recounts by just summarizing the contents thusly: -- Spoiler alert!-- Dallaire is a Canadian military officer who had the acute misfortune of leading the so-called U.N. peacekeeping operation in Rwanda in 1994. As history duly records, this operation resulted in utter failure due primarily to the rampant corruption, double-dealing, and bureaucratic bungling of the auspicious agency in question and the failure of the countries of the Security Council like France and the United States to provide him with the material support, the manpower, and the political tools he needed to prevent the horrific genocide that resulted in spite of the best efforts of Dallaire and other, decent individuals like him.
The book is basically a memoir that was designed for and, I hope, succeeds in helping the author exorcise the real demons of PTSD that, for all of his trouble and many sacrifices he was left with by these traumatic events. But an interesting, engaging narrative it is not. In the end, this book and tales like it sadly serve as object lessons that prove the cliche, "No good deed goes unpunished." Or, as I warn others, "Don't be a hero and try to help anyone. If something in this world is broken, it's usually because people above your pay grade want it to be."