Book Review: “Waiting for First Light: My Ongoing Battle with PTSD”

Author: Lieutenant-General (retd) The Honorable Roméo A. Dallaire, O.C., C.M.M., G.O.Q., M.S.C., C.D., L.O.M. (U.S.), B.ésS., LL.D. (Hon.), D.Sc.Mil (Hon.), D.U.
Toronto: Random House Canada, 2016
Review: Col. (retd) Russ Mann


Trauma can consume but it can also transform.

In his most recent work, retired General, former senator and best-selling author Roméo Dallaire brutally reveals the dark demons that haunt his nights and the desire to do good that fuels his days.

Waiting for First Light: My Ongoing Battle with PTSD is an intensely personal account that invites readers to stop and consider the magnitude of evil that surrounds the author’s tortured soul. General Dallaire is once again reaching out to the public to appeal to their sense of humanity, as he once did from Rwanda, only this time he offers an account of his own journey rather than that of the Rwandan population. He leaves nothing to the reader’s imagination in describing the terrible price that he, his friends and family have paid in the decades following the horrendous atrocities of the Rwandan genocide. The author reveals more about post-traumatic stress and its constant presence in his life than any account to date.

Those of us who journey with post-traumatic stress cannot ignore the pain and the constant struggle to channel the energy to inspire us, as it has General Dallaire, rather than bring us down. Readers seeking to understand post-traumatic stress are offered the gift of insight by a man who has channelled so much of his energy into work to create understanding, to contribute to a more humanitarian world and to call to action those who can make a difference in the lives of others. In the process, he lays bare his soul and grabs the soul of the reader, refusing to let go.

Did you know…

  • In 2016, one in seven surveyed Veterans in Canada (14%) reported living with post-traumatic stress.1
  • In 2013, 5.3% of Regular Forces members reported having experienced symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder in the past year (8.8% of women, 4.7% of men).2

So many who are exposed to trauma cannot help but be effected, and the reader should consider that a man so deeply injured has given so much, contributed so much to shape and influence a better world than the one he found. If he can accomplish this much despite his wounds, imagine and try to understand how much other Veterans, first responders and those exposed to trauma could contribute if we only give them the space, support and understanding needed for them to channel their energy as General Dallaire has done.



  1. Veterans Affairs Canada, “Life After Service Survey 2016 Executive Summary,” Life After Service Survey 2016 (n.d.), page last updated June 23, 2017. Link:
  2. Caryn Pearson, Mark Zamorski and Teresa Janz, “Mental Health of the Canadian Armed Forces,” Health at a Glance, Statistics Canada catalogue no. 82-624-X (November 25, 2014). Link:
Scroll to Top