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A Thousand Hills: Rwanda's Rebirth and the Man Who Dreamed It
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A Thousand Hills: Rwanda's Rebirth and the Man Who Dreamed It

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  360 ratings  ·  56 reviews
"A Thousand Hills: Rwanda's Rebirth and the Man Who Dreamed It" is the story of Paul Kagame, a refugee who, after a generation of exile, found his way home. Learn about President Kagame, who strives to make Rwanda the first middle-income country in Africa, in a single generation. In this adventurous tale, learn about Kagame's early fascination with Che Guevara and James Bo ...more
ebook, 400 pages
Published May 4th 2009 by John Wiley & Sons (first published 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,051)
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Libby
"The central figure in Rwanda's rebirth, Paul Kagame, emerged during the first decade of the twenty-first century as one of the most intriguing figures in Africa" (pg. 3). "He preaches a doctrine of security, guided reconciliation, honest governance, and, above all, self-reliance" (pg. 3). Three distinct parts comprise Stephen Kinzer's book, "A Thousand Hills:" colonial rule, genocide, and reconciliation. Rwanda's current status rests in that of reconciliation. The genocides have been dated as f ...more
Julie
This book has opened my mind possibly more than any other book! Partly due to my extreme ignorance on Rwanda but also due to Kinzer's well-researched, well-written style. Not only did I learn about Rwanda, the genocide, Paul Kangame and his part in the rebirth of Rwanda, but I also learned about how specific world leaders, countries, the U.N. and even the Catholic Church played a part in the genocide. More and more I lament the lack of world news that we are given in the U.S. (without having to ...more
Marialyce
This was such a powerful, moving novel that particularly focused on Paul Kigame and his ability to pull Rwanda away from its horrible past of genocide and endeavor to propel it into the most successful country in Africa.

The atrocities that this country has suffered, while many including the USA under Clinton, allowed to happen are beyond belief and would fill anyone with rage and hatred. Amazingly, the surviving Rwandans, many of them refugees, are diligently working on building their country as
...more
Booknblues
A Thousand Hills
By Stephen Kinzer
5 stars
pp 380

For years I've known about the Rwandan Genocide but haven't really understood the forces that brought it about. I now have Stephen Kinzer to thank for a more thorough understanding of it as well as the development of the country since 1994 and the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame.

Kinzer deftly investigates the history of Rwanda and the forces which divided the Hutu and Tutsi people from colonial times under Belgium. He chronicles Paul Kagame's life
...more
Adrienne
Oct 10, 2008 Adrienne rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Fascinating. Although the title of the book implies a larger focus on the current president Paul Kagame (the man who dreamed it), the story follows his life basically only to illustrate Rwanda's history. I was looking for a book on Rwanda that would give me just the right kind of information--not too much detail, but enough for me to get a complete picture of what has gone on. I also wanted something modern that would inform me of the state of Rwanda now. (Honestly, I thought, I want a book that ...more
Rex
I only read it, because a friend of mine who is involved in humanitarian efforts in Rwanda gave it to me. I was expecting something dry and boring, but I was delightfully surprised as I found myself tearing through its pages. It gave a clear overview of the history of the conflicts that led to the 1994 genocide, and it highlighted the flaws of supposedly humanitarian efforts that only proved counter-productive.
K. Euler
This is a well-written history of the men who came to shape Rwanda. The last few chapters focus more exclusively on Kagame's role, but the early chapters that dissect the genocide paint pictures of those in leadership roles.

The origins of the genocide are traced to Rwanda's colonial heritage. Germany lost control over her colony because of World War I, and Belgium took over control. The Belgians instituted the racial classification system that helped spur racial violence and mandated each citiz
...more
Lashelle Hill
I could not put this book down. An excellent book regarding the life of President Kagame.
Michelle Ng
I have the utmost respect for President Kagame. He not only brilliantly ended the war, stopped the genocide, and he brought development to Rwanda in such a short period of time. I can't help weeping reading parts of the book, especially when the book talked about how President Kagame pleaded the UN and the outside world for help, yet no one came running. And the helpless General Dallaire who also pleaded the UN but was not authorized to do anything whatsoever but to merely look on. And also how ...more
Marcia Call
This is the story of Paul Kagame's life, vision, and challenges. I learned much, much more about Kagame than I knew from reading other books about Rwanda, Congo, and the genocide. The knowledge is welcome. He has succeeded in rebuilding the country in spite of critics. Although many undervalue stability as progress -- the peace and security the RPF offers the countryside is the hallmark of his leadership efforts, that criticism comes from corners of the globe that have not lived in war-wracked c ...more
Jill
I saw Stephen Kinzer talk a couple of times at my school. He was really interesting. I came across his latest book in my school library, and decided to read it. The way that he writes is very easy to understand, and the story kept me interested. I understand that Mr. Kinzer spent many hours with Paul Kagame, the president of Rwanda, and therefore he has a personal opinion of the man. The one thing that made me a bit uncomfortable with this book though, was that I was able to feel the bias toward ...more
William
This is written as a popular biography / the author's story about his introduction and relationship with Rwanda. I enjoy the latter part of the story as well as the amazing, truly remarkable story of Paul Kagame.

Paul Kagame is the man who has lead Rwanda from the genocide (of which the author discusses extensively how this is the main reference point for most international interest in Rwanda) into relative economic prosperity, even to the point where it may become a model of development. In Uga
...more
Nmdb22
A very readable history of Rwanda beginning in precolonial times, and up to the present. It reads like a novel. The author had extensive access to Paul Kagame, the leader of the RPF and current president of Rwanda, and the reader gets the impression of Kagame as a very intelligent, strategic thinker kind of person, committed to building and developing a modern Rwanda. Great book.
Chris
This book is more about Paul Kagame than Rwanda. Kagame is a remarkable man but I'm left wondering if what he is building will all come falling down. He is no Nelson Mandela. I see the same pattern of violence coming again due to his authoritarian leadership and stifling of dissent. His plan or Vision 2020 is in effect and his final term as president under the constitution will expire in 2017. He has been in power since 1995 or so. Will he become another Mugabe? This book is really hagiography. ...more
Chris Nsanzimana
A well-researched account of Rwanda's tragic history, especially that of President Kagame, who, from a refugee camp, dreamed of having a country of his own, of going back to his motherland; in the end Kagame-who was now an experienced fighter/warrior-led an army which stopped a genocide and liberate a people from a bad leadership.
Max
Well-written book on Rwanda's recent history, with Paul Kagame at the center of the book's narrative.

The first part of the book is a history of the roots of the genocide and then the genocide itself. I don't have a great knowledge of Rwanda's history, but this history seemed fairly superficial. It seemed to be presented with a heavy pro-Tutsi slant. Nevertheless, it made for interesting and compelling reading and I quite enjoyed it.

The book's second half described the post-genocide reconstruct
...more
Tanveer
When I eventually make it to Rwanda (and I will), it will be because I read this book. Lot has been said about Rwandan genocide (Hotel Rwanda, We Wish to Inform You, etc.) but this is the first book that first summarizes all the horrific events and then the second half of the book is all about the current state of things and reconciliation.

Most importantly, the history is told from the point of view of current president Paul Kagame. In the states we have Barack Obama. If Obama is Elvis, then Ka
...more
Mlg
A thoughtful retelling of the Rwandan genocide. I found the reconciliation and the gacaca's the most interesting parts. The author had unprecedented access to Rwanda's current leader, Kagame and although he offered both sides, I think he is most sympathetic to him. The fact that Paul Rusesabagina and Allison Des Forges were very opposed to Kagame, makes me suspicious of him, although no one can deny that he has led Rwanda to prosperity. I was surprised to learn how involved the French were in a ...more
Anand
A very moving book. The author has tried to paint a balanced picture of the current situation in Rwanda, along with details of the past. I wish the country and Paul Kagame very best in their fight against poverty and under-development.

Some of my previous impressions changed while some others got reinforced by this book. For eg., what ever little respect I had for the French Government is completely gone. Their role in the Rwandan genocide proves that the colonial 'powers' still mess around with
...more
Kerry Zukus
A fantastic overview of Rwanda, from its roots, through its horrid genocide, through to today, where it has demonstrated one of the greatest turnarounds in any nation's history. A must-read.
Dr. Cathi
I really liked how President Kagame's comments are interjected throughout the book commenting on what the author just wrote. Very good read and I look forward to a trip there in 2015.
Bob Uva
Jul 15, 2008 Bob Uva rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in human nature
Being my first book on Rwanda, I learned a lot about not just the incredible transformation that President Paul Kagame is orchestrating in that country, but enough about its twentieth century history to understand the damage done by the colonial powers, Belgium and France. Throughout the book are candid quotes from Kagame explaining his view of what Rwanda needs to become a developed nation. Kinzer also covers some of the backlash to the authoritarianism of the Rwanda government, although he gen ...more
Wai-kit Ng
Unfortunately, for most of the world, the word Rwanda brings only one word association - genocide. That's 1994. 20 years ago. Must say that this book opened my eyes to the history before and the recovery after that tumultuous event. And to a leader Paul Kagame - which had world's split opinion if he was/is a strong leader needed to bring Rwanda towards a better future, or a dictator that suppresses freedom and human rights under the veil of keeping ethnic tensions in check. Whatever, it seems li ...more
Christine
What I liked most about this book was the story of forgiveness. Amazing. Rwanda's genocide was a horror beyond imagination. Today people are living side by side with people who murdered their family members. It's a stunning thing that is happening over there. On occasion you hear a remarkable story about forgiveness, but it's easy to ignore when it's only one person. When the power of forgiveness is affecting an entire nation, it's more difficult to ignore and much more difficult to believe you ...more
Jennifer
A great overview of the recent hirstory of Rwanda, the horrors of the genocide and the efforts of this country to manage life after the unthinkable. This book is a particularly intrguing memoir as it includes a number of passages directly from the guerilla leader turned President, Paul Kagame, where he speaks about how he saw specific situtations and what he was thinking as events were unfolding.

This book took some of the fear out of going to Rwanda and created an excitement about being in the m
...more
Patrick Slavin
It's always dangerous when a writer falls in love with his/her subject -- and I hesitate to label Kinzer with this because he is such a pro -- but that is my lone criticism of this excellent book about contemporary Rwanda, it is too adoring of President Kagame. Not to be read if you want a comprehensive history of the genocide - this is more of a biography of Kagame and his rise to power. The author's deep and warm connection to Rwanda comes through splendidly and the book is expertly written an ...more
Jrohde
super book - really details the modern history of this tragic scene that Kagame has so skillfully reversed. Inspiring.

On further reflection, I realize this is a very pro-Kagame account, but that does not detract from its interest and overall validity. Just many today see his heavy hand in Rwanda as a perpetuation of the war atrocities. Personally, his positions seem reasonable to me and a heavy hand necessary to avoid repercussions of the worst genocide since WWII
Al Berg
The story of how Paul Kagame and the RPF took control of Rwanda during the 1994 genocide is a lot more complicated than many people believe. The author seems to treat the controversial Kagame pretty even handedly, highlighting how he has led Rwanda out of the darkness of genocide but also pointing out some of the policies which have drawn criticism. I would really recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand the recent history of Rwanda and the region.
Megan
You must read this! Kinzer's writing is interesting, insightful, and honest and about a country most of us know little about. Thinking about Rwanda forces you to think about human nature, imperialism, evil, forgiveness, freedom vs. security- there is so much in this book. While learning about the tragedy of Rwanda is difficult at times, it was important to me to also get into the political nuances that I never thought about or understood before.
Lana
This book covers history and politics leading up to the genocide, the genocide, and events since as the country tries to recover. If you don't want to read all the political stuff (even though he does make it very readable) at least check it out of the library and read chapter 15, p.253-279 and p.315 -322. It is inspiring to see how people can move forward after such incredible violence and tragedy.
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Stephen Kinzer is an award-winning foreign correspondent who has covered more than 50 countries on five continents. His articles and books have led the Washington Post to place him "among the best in popular foreign policy storytelling." (source)
More about Stephen Kinzer...
All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq Crescent and Star: Turkey Between Two Worlds The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles & Their Secret World War Reset: Iran, Turkey, and America's Future

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