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

Stephen Kinzer, Author Wiley $25.95 (380p) ISBN 978-0-470-12015-6

Kinzer (All the Shah’s Men ) has penned a hagiographic account of Rwandan president Paul Kagame, the Tutsi refugee who organized the Rwandan Military Front in 1994 and helped halt the genocide in Rwanda. Instead of settling scores, Kagame embarked on a program of reconciliation and reconstruction; Kinzer eloquently describes a physical and psychological recovery unmatched in Africa: a Rwanda whose people are “bubbling with a sense of unlimited possibility.” Kagame’s goal, modeled on the successes of “Asian tigers” like Singapore, aims to transform Rwanda into the continent’s first middle-income country in a single generation, eschewing foreign aid in favor of reliance on business-driven development. Kinzer does not conceal the bloody realities behind Kagame’s acquisition of power nor does he deny Kagame’s “rigorous, absolutist approach to governing.” Nevertheless, he is transparently trusting in Kagame’s capabilities and intentions, and while his eloquent prose invites optimism, a half-century of experience urges caution. (June)

Reviewed on: 04/21/2008
Release date: 06/01/2008
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