A Thousand Hills

I’ve just finished Stephen Kinzer’s new book A Thousand Hills: Rwanda’s Rebirth and the Man Who Dreamed It. I recommend it to anyone who wants an introduction to the country’s recent past and the dilemmas it faces today. I was skeptical at first; there are many good books on Rwanda already and I had heard Kinzer discussing the book on the NPR show On Point and he seemed so enthralled with Kagame I feared his portrait of the Rwandan leader would be overly glossy. But in fact Kinzer lays out all the questions and criticisms even if he himself comes down on the side of being a Kagame fan. Mostly I was impressed by Kinzer’s ability to synthesize all the complicated layers of the story in such an accessible and emotionally honest way. I was in Rwanda twice last year and still have a head full of questions about so many aspects of the genocide and its aftermath. Kinzer’s contribution and especially the fuller portrait of Paul Kagame is really helpful.

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