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Publisher's Summary

Benjamin, Alepho, and Benson were raised among the Dinka tribe of Sudan. Their world was an insulated, close-knit community of grass-roofed cottages, cattle herders, and tribal councils. The lions and pythons that prowled beyond the village fences were the greatest threat they knew.

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

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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Important History

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.



5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Amazing book!

Amazing and touching story highly recommend, just remember that the book is told from the point of view of 3 characters and it switches and can become kind of confusing but overall it's great!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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what's happening in the rest of the world

Any additional comments?

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jennifer
  • ROSCOE, IL, United States
  • 11-17-12

Makes you think about the world differently.

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Dawn
  • Stillwater, MN, United States
  • 11-29-11

Painful

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
  • julia
  • rancho sta marg, CA, United States
  • 11-22-10

Definitely NOT uplifting

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A MUST Read

I met and friended some "lost boys" from Sudan when I lived in Washington state and found their story inspiring and then had to read this book. Years later decided to listen to it, the story of what these young men went thru left me in awe! It is a wonderful book!

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The only book I have listened to 5 times!

Sobering account of the trauma of children in the midst of war. The best book I have found detailing the Lost Boys of Sudan.

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Tenacity, mental and physical strength

This book reveals a glimpse of the physical and emotional challenges you endures and conquered at such a young age. Through the familial lessons learned from your parents and communal experiences you were able to withstand atrocities no living being let alone a child should ever experience. Furthermore instead of internalizing and treating others in the same inhumane, immoral and compassion starved manner; you young men merged your power and truly exhibited being your brothers keeper. I had the pleasure of working with one of your country man and he too was one of The Lost Boys of Sudan. His stature and quiet peaceful ways was one to bestow and one evening he shared a small bit of his experience with me that prompted me to do more research. I was stunned, appalled and it moves me to action. Thank you so much for sharing.

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heart wrenching

poignant and vividly depicted tales of the real life struggles experienced by very young boys/men as they fled thier war torn country. well written and candid descriptions brought their horrible journey to life. I will not soon forget this writing.