The man made famous by Hotel Rwanda offers a compelling and horrifying account of the genocide in An Ordinary Man, says Simon. A remarkable account of the amazing life story of the man who inspired the film Hotel Rwanda Readers who were moved and horrified by Hotel Rwanda. Paul Rusesabagina was an ordinary man – a quiet manager of a luxury hotel in Rwanda. But on 6 April mobs with machetes turned into cold-blooded.

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People were being hacked to death with machetes all over Rwanda, but that five-story building became a refuge for anyone who could make it to our doors. But Rusesabagina clung to his confidence in the power of language. For example, ASEANS non-interference principle, which Rusesabgina happen to support in most circumstances, could be used to engineer conditions for yet another genocide. Ok, some of you may have watched the movie Hotel Rwanda.

Part autobiography of his early life, part war-time history of his country, part the basis of the movie Hotel Rwanda, this book is an interesting and heartbreaking mix. I heard about it on the news my dad watched every night, but admittedly I was not exactly politically observant back then, and the news was nothing more than background noise to me, so I knew next to nothing when I saw “Hotel Rwanda”. This background offers an insight into why and how the Rwandan genocide occurred.

The book’s title is a wry understatement: This type of blended family is typical in Rwanda, even with our long history of racial prejudice. My father, Thomas Rupufre, was a quiet man, but a very strong man. Rusesabagina describes how he would listen to absurdly racist radio debates.

Many accepted their fate without a peep of protest.

An Ordinary Man: An Autobiography by Paul Rusesabagina

Oct 19, Hannah rated it really liked it. It’s hard not to respond to his plea that we mean it when we say “never again” and do better in the future in preventing genocide than the ineffectual UN efforts that stood by as so many were slaughtered. Some person who laughed and cried and ate and thought and felt and hurt just like any other person, just like you and me. His actions were not those of a hero, he insists; any decent person would have done the same.


The Clinton administration refused to help, the Mitterand presidency actively supported the killers, the Belgians bulked at the monster they had created and the UN zn until the rebel army had arrived before sheltering the murderers, having withdrawn the troops sent in to keep the peace.

He ordimary to turn the hotel into a refugee base and, amazingly, held off the militia and other killers for 76 days, saving the lives of more than people. In Rwanda, this meant he was Tutsi. And from here, it is quite as harrowing as you’d expect.

An Ordinary Man by Paul Rusesabagina, Tom Zoellner – Reading Guide – : Books

But I can’t imagine saying that to Rusabagina’s face without flinching, Rwandans were slaughtered right in front of the eyes of the world in ordinar three months. Paperbackpages. The film itself packs an enormous emotional punch, but with the book you suddenly understand it much better. Angry talk shows on the radio stoked long-held resentments against the Tutsi minority. A lot went into the toxic cocktail.

An Ordinary Man

At roadblocks, passengers were taken off cars and those with Tutsi identity cards were hacked to pieces, their bodies rotting by the wayside or floating down a river. Those who were ordered to kill their neighbors often asked no questions. He tells us how the world’s most powerful nations failed to act to prevent the massacre, and how he used his wits and his courage and his words and connections alone to save over 1, people from a certain and gruesome death.


As a former college professor, I often consider how my Goodreads selections could have been used in the classroom. In pau, middle s, the writings of explorer John Hanning Speke presented it as a rusesabafina of life, and the rest of the world accepted it without question–tall, elite Tutsis who had arrived from the east and tended animals, and squat Hutu peasant farmers from west Africa, a lower class in society.

I had a five-story building in which to hide people.

I learned a great deal about the history of the ethnic divide and Rwandan culture that I did not know before. This is the story of how he used those tools to schmooze and persuade and bribe and conjole to keep the killers from murdering those under his protection. But who are your own heroes?

An Ordinary Man: An Autobiography

It is one I have used with my own students when discussing the Holocaust. But I hadn’t known that Paul Rusesabagina had written a book until very recently when I happened to stumble on it here on Goodreads. Not long after the stand-off begins, the curtailment of the hotel’s external food supplies is countered by absurd Western luxury; the basement contained hundreds of airline meals and Sabena’s rosemary chicken and dauphinoise potatoes remind their recipients of a condemned prisoner’s last supper; seldom have those little compartmentalised portions been so eagerly devoured.

They were no different from the words I would have used in saner times to order a shipment of pillowcases, for example, or tell the shuttle van driver to pick up a guest at the airport.