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An Ordinary Man: The True Story Behind Hotel Rwanda Paperback – 2 Apr 2007


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An Ordinary Man: The True Story Behind Hotel Rwanda + Shake Hands With The Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda + We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families
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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; New edition edition (2 April 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074758558X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747585589
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 240,192 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

`A fascinating book ... by an ordinary man, about ordinary people,
the kind of daring it takes to survive, and most of all the courage it
takes to endure' -- Sunday Telegraph

`He recounts the ordeal with a narrative tension worthy of a
superior thriller ... compelling ... harrowing' -- Observer

`Here is a memoir that incontrovertibly matters ... he displays in
this account a candour and clear-sightedness that are remarkable' -- Christopher Hart, Sunday Times

`Part memoir, part polemic, part social history, An Ordinary Man
is a deeply impressive work' -- Scotland on Sunday

`Read this book. It will humble and inspire you' -- Daily Mail

From the Publisher

An Ordinary Man will aim to become a classic of tolerance
literature, on the level of Schindler's List and Long Walk to Freedom by
Nelson Mandela

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By G. L. Haggett VINE VOICE on 24 May 2007
Format: Paperback
One man's story of his experience during the Rwanda genocide of 1994, notable for the author's dignity and humility in the face of insufferably daunting events. He encapsulates his attitude in the quotation I have used for this review.

While he pulls no punches in portraying the harrowing nature of the events, he is at great pains at all times to stress that he was only one of many who were putting themselves at risk in order to protect their fellow man. He is particularly good on the almost casual way in which the hideous and the horrific can very soon be accepted as the norm. The clarity of the writing style turns subject matter which could have been very offputting into a very readable examination of the nature of humankind. An important, moving book.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Nick on 31 May 2006
Format: Hardcover
I saw Hotel Rwanda last year and thought it was an amazing film, it was no surprise that Don Cheadle and Sophie Okenado both received Oscar nominations or that Paul Rusesabagina was referred to as an African Oscar Schindler.

This book is a welcome addition to the film as it gives Paul's back story. His childhood outside Kigali and early experience of ethnic hatred in the 50's when his father hid Tutsi refugees in their village. As a young man he trained to be a clergyman, but abandoned that when he fell in love later becoming a hotel manager. The story of the siege at the Mille Collines hotel is powerfully told with the tension and heart in mouth feeling I experienced while watching the film.

The benefit of the book over the film comes with bringing Paul's story up to date. The telling of his life now in Belgium with his own children and his nieces whose parents were murdered in the genocide. Rusesabagina himself is never boastful when recounting his actions considering them that of any decent person or an Ordinary Man.

In the same way as the Schindler story and that of Primo Levi - An Ordinary Man is a book that should be read by everyone as a reminder of the worst and best that humanity is capable of.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By D. Lane on 14 Jun. 2006
Format: Hardcover
You like me are probably drawn to this book from watching the film 'Hotel Rwanda' which highlighted the plight of the many Rwandan's who suffered at the hands of their neighbours and once close friends, but perhaps more sickening the European community at large by their failure to intervene. I was very touched by the nature of this book, it's delivery fairly objective in what, let's face it, was an emotionally terrifying and charged time - being calm and with an understated eloquence wasn't what I expected. Don't get me wrong, the descriptions of the violence aren't shyed away from and are doubly shocking for their detail, it is the understanding of human nature and the wisdom of Mr Rusesabagina that permeates the writing and gives the sense of calm.

There are many lessons to be learned from the book and it delivers them up plentifully and masterfully one of which shows that situations that force you to face your own mortality crystallise those things around you into simple rules/principles. There is a revealing of the 'truth' in the relations of things; your choices are limited and you operate on the basis of the most basic pragmatism - the preservation of life. The complications our lives have are born out of choice and the luxury associated with it built up in layers and are in the most simple illusions - our wants and needs confused.

The points made in the book echo an understanding of humanity and demonstrate a refreshing show of common sense and self reliance providing great lessons for those receptive to it. It is also good at revealing the psychology of a people and how it is built by their culture and social practice and how it can be exploited by the powers in government - in this case to disastrous consequences! ( actually in most cases - eventually!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By KareNina on 27 July 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Paul Rusesabagina starts his moving account of that bloody spring in 1994 with a brief overview of Rwandese history, the impact of colonialism, and the dynamic of the hutu-tutsi coexistence which has been typical of the Rwandese social fabric. His account is genuine and insightful, and really helps bring context to the terrible events of those 100 days in 1994. It is all too easy to dismiss this tragedy as pure ethnic rivalry and anger of a few african tribes. This book clarifies how the events escalated and how the power of words and propaganda propelled a situation into unimaginable human cruelty and horror. "An Ordinary Man" is probably the most insightful of all books I've read on the Rwandese genocide. It underlines the danger of misunderstanding this conflict and its context, since this tragedy can recur, in Rwanda or elsewhere, if lessons aren't learned. A genuine, beautifully written and humbling account of all the worst and the best mankind is capable of.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Miss Smiff on 14 Jun. 2006
Format: Hardcover
Paul Rusesabagina's book should compulsary reading for all.

It is a true and frank account of the evil that can be bread into the thoughts of otherwise sane and ordinary people and how the mind can be twisted over time.

Paul's account is a graphic insight into life as a Tutsi or a Hutu helping out the Tutsi's back in the days of the Genocide.

Paul's inherant ability to talk 'would-be' killers out of slaughtering the innocent inhabitants of the hotel des Mille Collines shows us that amongst absolute madness, comes humanity.

Yet Paul is still unassuming throughout the attrocities of 1994. he is "Just a Hotel Manager" and yet this unassuming man saved the lives of 1,268 people in those 100 days of bloodshed.

Please, read this book.
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