All that changed the night the government-armed Murahiliin began attacking their villages. Amid the chaos, screams, conflagration, and gunfire, five-year-old Benson and seven-year-old Benjamin fled into the dark night. Two years later, Alepho, age seven, was forced to do the same. Across the Southern Sudan, over the next five years, thousands of other boys did likewise, joining this stream of child refugees that became known as the Lost Boys. Their journey would take them over one thousand miles across a war-ravaged country, through landmine-sown paths, crocodile-infested waters, and grotesque extremes of hunger, thirst, and disease. The refugee camps they eventually filtered through offered little respite from the brutality they were fleeing.
In They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky, Alepho, Benson, and Benjamin, by turn, recount their experiences along this unthinkable journey. They vividly recall the family, friends, and tribal world they left far behind them and their desperate efforts to keep track of one another. This is a captivating memoir of Sudan and a powerful portrait of war as seen through the eyes of children. And it is, in the end, an inspiring and unforgettable tribute to the tenacity of even the youngest human spirits.
©2005 Alephonsion Deng, Benson Deng, Benjamin Ajak, Judy A. Bernstein; (P)2009 PublicAffairs
"In this tender and lyrical story, the world of some of Africa's most desperate children - running away from war and toward life - is vividly evoked. . . .The result is one of the most riveting stories ever told of African childhoods - and a stirring tale of courage." (Washington Post Book World)
This should be required reading for all high school students. We all need to wake up and realize the world is not so big that we can hide under our flag forever. Terrorism is a growing menace.
Book Blogger and Planetary Defense Commander
I think books like this are important to show people that atrocities still happen in modern times. If enough people were aware of such things, maybe in the future they would say "don't let there be another (Sudan, Rwanda, etc.)"
This book shows you what it was like to be a refugee by providing stories from 3 survivors. There are cases of surprising kindness and pointless cruelty, and many small details that caused me to imagine myself in the refugees' situations. While there is no actual discussion of the "history", I feel that the stories do a fairly good job giving the overall picture of the situation in Southern Sudan at that time.
I only had a couple of minor problems with the book. The story switched among the accounts of the 3 boys frequently, and this combined with my broken up listening during commutes and the fact that the boys' paths sometimes intersected, made it hard for me to distinguish between the three as individuals, even though each had their own narrator. One of the narrators has a strong African accent, which some people might have trouble understanding, but I felt it really added to the listening experience. One of the American narrators (at least on my audio device) made a sharp whistling noise every time he pronounced an "s".
Other audible books with stories of people surviving and escaping horrible situations include Long Way Gone about Sierra Leone and Nothing to Envy about North Korea. Going a little further back in history is The Rape of Nanking, but that one has a lot more victim stories than survivors, so it's really hard to stomach.
Well ... I didn't expect this book to be uplifting, and it wasn't. It was also exceptionally slow. Nevertheless, it's a story that needed to be told, and I am glad I listened to it. However, the narrator can enhance the book or make it torture to listen to. In this case, one of the several narrators was excruciating to listen to. The narrator who reads the story of one of the boys, Benson, has a whining nasal drawl while at the same time sounding as though he has a mouthful of marbles. Truly insufferable after the first hour or so.
I'm not sure if I'd need to listen to the book again. I remember it well enough. And it's a sad/triumphant story. There are parts I never want to hear again.
It's also read by people with certain accents that didn't allow me to speed up my reading pace, since I was concentrating on what they were saying.
Some of the specific tragedies they described are burned in my memory forever, and I choose not to revisit. I did expect some horrors and sadness, so I'm not upset. These types of books remind me why I am so happy to be healthy, safe and free.
I have not.
The same as the book's tagline. The stories of 3 lost boys from Sudan. I wasn't aware when I began that the term "Lost Boys" was not the Author's word choice, but a well-known term for those who escape.
Thank you for this book. It hurts you heart in the right way.
While the stories seem extremely scattered and far between in the beginning, hold tight. They begin to shorten and intertwine and make so much more sense later. Be patient :)
This book is a collection of stories that together provide insight into the terrible situation in Sudan. It is a little difficult to keep everybody straight at first, but the different narrators help with that after a while.
It is such a horrific story of real tragedy that it was painful to listen to. It could have been the best book written, but the reality of the events were very disturbing.
After listening to this story I was so awe inspired by the fortitude of these young men and the experiances they lived thru. My heart ached with the losses they experianced at such a very young ages. Thank you to all the lost boys for sharing your story.
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