They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky: The Story of Three Lost Boys from Sudan [NOOK Book]

Overview


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 ...

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They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky: The Story of Three Lost Boys from Sudan

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Overview


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.

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Editorial Reviews

Emily Wax Washington Post Book World 8/21/05
"In this tender and lyrical story, the world of... Africa's most desperate children-running away from war...is vividly evoked."
Publishers Weekly
Raised by Sudan's Dinka tribe, the Deng brothers and their cousin Benjamin were all under the age of seven when they left their homes after terrifying attacks on their villages during the Sudanese civil war. In 2001, the three were relocated to the U.S. from Kenya's Kakuma refugee camp as part of an international refugee relief program. Arriving in this country, they immediately began to fill composition books with the memoirs of chaos and culture shock collected here. Well written, often poetic essays by Benson, Alepho and Benjamin, who are now San Diego residents in their mid-20s, are arranged in alternating chapters and recall their childhood experiences, their treacherous trek and their education in the camp ("People were learning under trees"). Other pieces remember the rampant disease and famine among refugees, and the tremendous hardship of day-to-day living ("Refugee life was like being devoured by wild animals"). When the boys arrived in America, Benson, upon seeing a Wal-Mart for the first time, remarked, "This is like a king's palace." Although some readers may wish for more commentary on what life in America is like for these transplants, this collection is moving in its depictions of unbelievable courage. Agent, Joni Evans at William Morris. (June 13) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Three "lost boys" of Sudan remember lives lived far away from the torrents of history. The boys, now young men in their mid-20s, were members of the Dinka tribe, pastoralists who live in the south of the Sudan. The Dinka and their Nuer cousins, whom Benson Deng characterizes as "the tallest and blackest people in Africa," excited much jealousy among the Arab rulers of the Sudan-rulers who, by Deng's account, wanted the fertile lands between the Blue Nile and White Nile for themselves and, in the bargain, demanded that the Dinka convert to Islam. It was not an attractive offer; "as cattle keepers," Benson adds, "we didn't have time to be meditating with the Qu'ran five times a day." Soon government planes came to bomb Dinka villages whose inhabitants tried to fight back with spears; when better-armed rebel soldiers arrived, they guided the survivors to refugee camps in Ethiopia, where, Benson recounts, food and medicine were in constant shortage and "many of the boys got sick and died from eating grass soups, but it was often all we had." Over the next decade, the boys moved among refugee and rebel camps in Kenya and along the Sudanese border, a life that, Alephonsion writes, "was like being devoured by wild animals." That was little better than being one of the rebel soldiers, Benson adds: Once they strapped on AK-47s, they were controlled as tightly as dogs and sent off to die. Finally, their plight to come to the attention of international relief organizations, and thereafter private American efforts, brought the three boys to the U.S., "the land of many gorgeous goods" and of promises that, one hopes, are being kept. Well-meaning, and valuable as a document of the refugee experience.The boys' narrative, however, would have been better served by a commentary explaining the ongoing Sudanese crisis and otherwise adding more depth to this child's-eye view of events.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781586485474
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs
  • Publication date: 6/13/2006
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 102,425
  • File size: 441 KB

Meet the Author


Alephonsion and Benson Deng, and their cousin Benjamin Ajak were relocated from the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya to the United States as part of an international refugee relief program. They arrived in 2001. Now all in their mid-twenties, Benjamin, Benson, and Alephonsion live in San Diego, California.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 26 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 26 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2009

    Eye-opening, endearing, what tenacity these young boys had!

    I read this for a book club. I probably would have never chosen this book on my own, but I'm glad I read it. We were all amazed at the tenacity and fortitude of these young boys. As a mother, I can't imagine what it must have been like to need to send your children away, hopefully to safety, knowing that you would most likely never see them again. It was hard to keep the names straight, but it didn't take long to figure out that it just wasn't necessary - it was just one long story of misery, a bit of hope, and then dashed hopes, over and over again. I think it's important to know that there are innocent young people in our world who are victims of political tumult.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Coffee and Books

    Barnes and Noble is such a great place to go to have coffee and enjoy a great book. The atmosphere is inviting to talk wiht friends or listen to music as you enjoy reading. The availability of Wi-Fi is a definite plus.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 13, 2011

    Riveting!

    Changed me forever

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 24, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Very moving

    Before reading this book, I didn't know very much about the conflict in Sudan. The three personal accounts are very emotional. I think that people everywhere should read it, especially teenagers.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2008

    One of the Best

    I've studied a lot on the crisis on Darfur and in Southern Sudan, and this is one of the best memoirs I have read. The stories of these three boys are extremely moving and truly move the heart.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2008

    Can't forget

    I read this book over a year ago and I still can't stop thinking about it from time to time - especially in today's times when Africa's troubles continue to go on. It shows how this world needs to focus on humanitarian issues and quit sticking our heads in the sand. I recommend this book to anyone who asks me what they should read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2008

    Great story!

    Having worked with families from Sudan, I was glad to read this book. I loved the cultural perspective as well as the honesty and candor of the stories written in the book. What a great read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2007

    Inspirational

    It really gives you a visual of what you can even imagine. My heart goes out to everyone in African and everywhere there is war.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2013

    I remember in 10th grade we were told to do u book report from a

    I remember in 10th grade we were told to do u book report from a selected amount of books. I was the last one to choose nd this book was the only one left. Best book i have ever read. I recommend this book to everyone. Incredible book. Extremely moving.

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  • Posted November 28, 2011

    Must check this book out!!!!!

    The story is about three boys from Sudan named Benson Deng, Alephonsion Deng, Benjamin Ajak. Alepho considered himself a impolite as a child but his brother Benson was a charming polite young boy. The boys mother was there fathers third wife and she was probably the most respected woman in there village, her outstanding cooking and great wine entertained the village. The boys father was considered the strongest and bravest man in the village because one point in the story he had killed a lion with his bare two hands. The story is mainly about these boys trying to escape and find there family members after they get attacked by the Murhaliliin,these people are rebels against there country leader so they cause problems within the country. The messages that were implied in this book is that you should be greatful for the life we have because these three boys lost family, friends, and there homes. The major things that were likable about the book is that it always had something new going on and it never got boring. The other thing I really liked was that they described everything well and the story never got confusing. The dislikes I had about the book were it had a lot of information you had to remember in order to know whats going on in the book. People should read this book because it honistly changes your prospective on what how you see things in the world. It also informs you on whats happening in Sudan and why its going threw such a struggle.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    ¿They Poured Fire on us From the Sky¿ is a book about three of the Lost Boys from the Sudan War. The story goes with three young boys (Alephonsion Deng, Benson Deng, and Benjamin Ajak) on their journeys through the Sudan wars. The boys go through many hardships; thirst, hunger, and even death of ones close to them. This book really illustrates the pain these boys had to go through traveling from town to town, to escape the cruelty that was the Sudan War. Major themes of this book were loss and loneliness. Loss is really an obvious theme for a book about war, but this book puts it in the perspective of three young boys, which makes the pain of their loss much more real. These boys mention many times how they feel lonely, and how they miss their families. Throughout the book they lose the each other, which inflicts a lot of worry and loneliness on the boys. What I really liked about this book was the realness of the issues the boys were going through. The fact that it¿s told through three young boy¿s perspective, it makes the story more relatable, and really tugs on your heartstrings. The boys get under your skin and really make you feel the pain they went through. If I had to pick one thing I didn¿t like about this book, it would be how they skip around with who is telling the story, one chapter it¿s Alephosion, then Benson, then Benjamin. It makes it hard to keep track of what is going on in each boy¿s life. If you are looking for a powerful true story of perseverance and fighting for your life, this is the book for you. This book really makes you thankful for everything you have. These boys have lost everything they had; they had to flee in an effort to save their lives resulting in nothing. Out of a 10 I would rate this book a 9.5. This is one of my favorite books I have ever read, and I highly recommend it to anyone!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2011

    Dont know

    My mom said this was a good book and that i should read it but i already have the book but i havent actually syarted to read the book yet. I hope that someone else has read this book and could tell me about it But ot looks like an awesome book

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  • Posted November 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Engaging

    It was astonishing, the idea of my walking across the city let alone the country of Sudan like these young men have is inconceivable. Not to mention the odds of survival that they faced, whether it be with the city dwellers trying to take advantage of them, or wild animals of the jungle trying to have them for lunch. Hard to put down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2011

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    Posted November 23, 2008

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    Posted December 1, 2011

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    Posted September 2, 2010

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    Posted February 13, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2009

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    Posted July 14, 2009

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