Books

Why Stephen Lewis calls Shake Hands with the Devil by Roméo Dallaire an 'astonishingly powerful' book

"The horrific Rwandan saga has always had a grip on my interests and emotions, and I can't imagine a more evocative narrative than that rendered by General Dallaire," says Lewis.
Stephen Lewis believes Shake Hands With the Devil, Roméo Dallaire's first-hand account of the Rwandan genocide, deserves to be on the Great Canadian Reading List. (Vintage Canada/Codie McLachlan/Canadian Press)

July 1, 2017 marks 150 years since Confederation in Canada. CBC Books is creating the great Canadian reading list — a list of 150 books curated by you. 

Stephen Lewis adds Shake Hands With the Devil by Roméo Dallaire to the reading list.

"Except for the obvious conflict of interest, I would have chosen a book by my daughter-in-law, Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything. However, I'm equally committed to Roméo Dallaire's astonishingly powerful Shake Hands With the Devil, his personal story of the Rwandan genocide. The horrific Rwandan saga has always had a grip on my interests and emotions, and I can't imagine a more evocative narrative than that rendered by General Dallaire. He was, of course, the head of the UN peacekeeping forces during the genocide, and the betrayal by the UN that he experienced is one of the memorable incarnations of human folly and human courage. The folly belonged to the United Nations, the courage to Roméo Dallaire. The book will forever be, for me, a testament to the worst and the best of the human condition."

Stephen Lewis is an internationally-renown humanitarian, academic and former Canadian politician. He served as the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa from 2001 to 2006. In 2003, he was appointed a Companion to the Order of Canada. He is the co-founder of the Stephen Lewis Foundation in Canada and AIDS-Free World in the U.S. He was a panellist on Canada Reads in 2014.

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