Paul Rusesabagina biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Paul Rusesabagina
Photo: Paul Glass

Paul Rusesabagina

Paul Rusesabagina Biography

Paul Rusesabagina is the former general manager of the Mille Collines Hotel in Kigali, Rwanda. He grew up on a farm in the town of Murama about 50 miles south of the capital. He was educated at the Faculty of Theology in Cameroon and studied hotel management at Kenya Utalii College in Nairobi.

In 1984, Rusesabagina became assistant general manager of the Belgian-owned Mille Collines. In November 1992, he was promoted to general manager of the nearby Diplomat Hotel. Confronting killers with a combination of diplomacy, flattery, and deception, Paul Rusesabagina managed to shelter more than 1,200 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in his hotel, while homicidal mobs raged outside with machetes during the Rwandan genocide. Finally, threatened with harm for his role in shielding 1,268 Tutsis and moderate Hutu from near-certain death over 100 days during the Rwandan genocide, he sought asylum in Belgium and found work driving a taxicab.

An Ordinary Man is his autobiography, telling the story of the life that was made famous by Oscar-nominated Don Cheadle in the film Hotel Rwanda. Bringing the reader inside the hotel during those 100 days, relate the anguish of those who saw loved ones hacked to pieces, and describe Rusesabagina's ambivalence at pouring the Scotch and lighting the cigars of killers in the Swimming Pool bar, even as he was trying to cram as many refugees as possible inside the guest rooms upstairs. The book explores Rusesabagina's inner life as he discusses the racial complexity within his own life (he is a Hutu married to a Tutsi) and his complete enstrangement from the madness that surrounded him during the genocide.

Rusesabagina now owns a trucking company operating in Zambia and lives with his wife Tatiana and their four children in a suburb of Brussels.



This bio was last updated on 05/30/2016. We try to keep BookBrowse's biographies both up to date and accurate, but with many thousands of lives to keep track of it's a tough task. So, please help us - if the information about this author is out of date or inaccurate, and you know of a more complete source, please let us know. Authors and publishers: If you wish to make changes to a bio, send the complete biography as you would like it displayed so that we can replace the old with the new.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Interview

An interview with Paul Rusesabagina about the Rwandan genocide and his memoir, An Ordinary Man

Your book suggests that you did nothing extraordinary: "I was doing the job I was entrusted to do by the Sabena Corporation—that was my greatest and only pride in the matter." Do you think you are understating the exceptional courageousness and intelligence of your work during the genocide?

Not at all. If I was able to save lives, it was only because I had some useful tools at my disposal. I had a five-story building in which to hide people. I had a cooler full of beer and wine with which to bribe the killers. I had some cash to spread around when alcohol wouldn't work. And I had ten years worth of friendship with some of the perpetrators of the killings. So they knew who I was and were willing to listen to my line of reasoning. Anybody else with this kind of advantage could have done what I did.


You describe standing on the hotel's roof at dawn and preparing for your likely death. What effect did moments like that have on your decisions at the time, and how have they affected your life since the genocide?

They made me realize just how short life is, and how precious the small pleasures of life can be. I regretted not spending more time appreciating the little things in my ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Books by this Author

Books by Paul Rusesabagina at BookBrowse
An Ordinary Man jacket
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Paul Rusesabagina but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born in Nigeria in 1977. She is from Abba, in Anambra State, but grew up in the university town of Nsukka where she attended primary and secondary schools and briefly studied Medicine and ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    An Ordinary Man

    Try:
    Half of a Yellow Sun
    by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

  • Uwem Akpan

    Uwem Akpan

    Uwem Akpan was born in Ikot Akpan Eda in southern Nigeria. After studying philosophy and English at Creighton and Gonzaga universities, he studied theology for three years at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa. He was ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    An Ordinary Man

    Try:
    Say You're One of Them
    by Uwem Akpan

We recommend 17 similar authors

View all 17 Readalikes

Non-members can see 2 results. Become a member
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Incendiaries
    The Incendiaries
    by R O. Kwon
    Phoebe Lin, the glamorous but tortured heroine of The Incendiaries, is convinced she has no room for...
  • Book Jacket: Your Duck Is My Duck
    Your Duck Is My Duck
    by Deborah Eisenberg
    In this collection of six short stories, Deborah Eisenberg presents characters confronting limits ...
  • Book Jacket: Unsheltered
    Unsheltered
    by Barbara Kingsolver
    Willa Knox's house is falling down. She recently inherited a Victorian residence in Vineland, ...
  • Book Jacket: Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree
    Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree
    by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani
    Ya Ta, the main character in Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani's novel, Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree, ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Code Girls
by Liza Mundy

The riveting story of the USA's courageous and accomplished WWII female American code breakers.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Kennedy Debutante
    by Kerri Maher

    "An engrossing tale of family, faith and love in the life of one remarkable woman." - Booklist
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Gone So Long

Andre Dubus III's First Novel in a Decade

A masterpiece of thrilling tension and heartrending empathy.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

G H E Rope A H Will H H

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.