"Hotel Rwanda" is a great movie. It tells us plenty about what happened in Rwanda in 1994, a year in which ten percent of the nation's population died, including most of the minority Tutsi population. Most were slaughtered by the majority Hutus, with machetes.
This book has an appendix that includes the entire screenplay of the movie. And it has a very interesting transcript of a PBS show about the genocide called "The Triumph of Evil." In addition, it discusses the making of the movie.
I've never been in Rwanda, so let me say what questions I had that I hoped this book (and the movie) might shed some light on:
1) Fear. I think the movie is excellent at showing the constant fear on the part of the Tutsis. But what about the killers? Were they scared? I couldn't tell. It was awfully difficult for me to comprehend what would make people go out and massacre their neighbors with machetes.
2) Betrayal. The movie does explain that it would have taken relatively little effort for outside troops to stop the slaughter. And it shows some of the politics that appear to have prevented this. But betrayal was not only by the United Nations, France, and a variety of other Western nations. There was also betrayal by the Catholic church, given that most of the killers and most of the victims were Catholics. We don't see much of that. But the book tells us that many Tutsis tried to seek refuge in the churches only to be killed in them.
3) Ugliness. I was curious about appearances in such times. Some folks say that people who are perceived to be ugly, grubby, impoverished, or disheveled are easier to see as dehumanized, putting them at greater risk in slaughters. And we see a hint of this in the movie, when Paul Rusesabagina says "this is not a refugee camp. The Interahamwe believe that the Mille Collines is a four star Sabena hotel. That is the only thing that is keeping us alive."
I agree that the question of just which people were allowed into the Mille Collines is interesting. It was a matter of life and death for most of them. But I don't think this is critical to the story.
One last point. The book makes it clear that one of the biggest differences between the movie and real life is the blood. Considering that hundreds of thousands of people were killed with machetes, I can believe that. And I'm glad that the movie left out some of the realism here.
I know that many people will be suspicious of a book and movie about such a political issue. But this movie and book got me to look more deeply into the history of what did happen in Rwanda. I think it is worth recommending on that basis alone.