Jenna's Reviews > An Ordinary Man: An Autobiography

An Ordinary Man by Paul Rusesabagina
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Nov 16, 09


Edmund Burke said, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

All over Rwanda, good men made their choices. Some joined the tide of evil, succumbing to the collective madness that overcame so many Hutus. Others did nothing. And many good men stood against evil, sheltering Tutsi refugees in their homes or churches, and died for their trouble.

Paul Rusesabagina chose to stand against evil, armed with a stash of good liquor and the proverbial "little black book" -- his containing notes on the many influential people he had met over the years of his career managing high-class hotels in Kigali, Rwanda. Rusesabagina worked his network for all it was worth, sitting down for civilized conversations over drinks with military and government leaders in a position to protect Rusesabagina's hotel -- and the 1000+ Tutsi refugees inside -- from the wholesale slaughter that consumed the rest of the country.

And amazingly, it worked. Not a single Tutsi under his care was murdered. Not one.

The book is well-written and a heartbreaking read, although in places I wished for more detail, especially in the latter third of the book, where there seemed to be somewhat less thoughtful analysis of the political context than in the early chapters. But this is a personal tale, not a scholarly book of history -- and I especially appreciate the selected bibliography at the end that recommends other works on the subject for further reading.
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