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

4.19  ·  Rating Details ·  5,766 Ratings  ·  557 Reviews
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.

Paperback, 334 pages
Published June 13th 2006 by PublicAffairs (first published June 1st 2005)
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Apr 07, 2008 Mandy rated it it was amazing
I could not put this book down! I was somewhat familiar with the Lost Boys of Sudan, but nothing could really prepare me for the childlike perspective of this book. I had to do more than one "reality check" while reading - reminding myself that these are just little kids going through these experiences! And that they are safe and many years have passed.

Despite the emotional and physical tragedy that these boys went through, their resilience is inspiring. It adds perspective to my own life.
Apr 19, 2011 Martianngray rated it really liked it
I remember about 4 years ago one of my co-workers telling me the incredible story of a boy she had just gone on a date with. He was one of the "lost boys from Sudan." I remember how she told me how he and thousands of little boys crossed the desert of Sudan to arrive in Ethiopia or Kenya for safety. How they fought off crocs and alligators and had little food and water and no parents. These boys were only around the ages of 4 and up. I was really embarrassed to admit to her that I had never hear ...more
Jul 14, 2014 Chrissie rated it liked it
I highly recommend this book. I think everyone should read it even if you are already knowledgeable about the Second Sudanese Civil War and the plight of "The Lost Boys of Sudan". This term continues to be used, now for the children fleeing the ethnic violence following independence of South Sudan in 2011. I believe you get a fuller, more comprehensive view by following the personal accounts presented in this book than through news reportage. Why? Because the numbers, the figures and the events ...more
Sep 06, 2009 Karen rated it it was amazing
My awareness of the situation in Sudan was raised when I saw "G-d grew tired of us". Now, I cannot learn enough about the people of Sudan and the heroic efforts of the Lost boys and girls. I think some of the similarities to the Holocaust resonate with me. Like the cruelty, inhumanity, and oppression of innocent people. This book is a first hand account of three Lost boys and their escape from Sudan and immigration to the USA. Their innocence and spirit is inspiring. At times I was so saddened a ...more
Jan 01, 2016 Christina rated it it was amazing
An incredibly riveting read about the human costs of war and the realities faced by refugees who are violently uprooted from their homes. And for what? Greedy governments and corrupt officials protecting foreign interest in oil fields! The memories of The Lost Boys (and girls) of Sudan will surely haunt me for a while to come. It will at least make me think twice about where the things I purchase are coming from.

"We'd laugh and joke like that. We had to have humor. It is human nature. No matter
Victoria Berardi
Apr 08, 2013 Victoria Berardi rated it really liked it
After reading They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky, I had to give myself a reality check because the book was so powerful and moving. The book fills you with so many emotions while reading: Joy, sorrow, amazement, hope, and compassion for each of the three young authors who wrote this book. It was amazing to see what not just people but young children were capable of during a tragic time. They went years without seeing families, clinging only to the hope of that maybe there parents and brothers w ...more
Mar 24, 2013 Meghan rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Meghan by: B&N front table
"My favorite song was the one below. To sing it, the teacher stood in front of the children who were organized into groups representing continents or countries. The teacher began the song by asking the question. "Who are you?"

One group of children would answer, "We are the Africans."

"And you?"

"We are the Asians."

"And you?"

"We are the Americans."

"And you?"

"We are the Australians."

"And you?"

"We are the Europeans."

"And you?"

"We are the Arabians."

"Forget those names. We are all the children of God."
Michael Gerald
Apr 28, 2016 Michael Gerald rated it really liked it
If you are in a cozy part of a library or on a warm, soft bed while reading this, you have a lot to thank for.

This is the story of three boys from Sudan who were displaced from their homes and their families by the forces of President Omar al Bashir (wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes).

Forced to flee to Southern Sudan (now the newest state of South Sudan, but also riven by civil war) where they were bombed and pursued by Sudanese government forces and also conscripted by S
May 06, 2010 Hayes rated it really liked it
Charming, harrowing, innocent and shocking all at the same time. This is the story of three of the thousands of Lost Boys of Sudan, told in their own words. Their stories begin when they are small things, growing up together in Sudan, living a harmonious and traditional life.

" The Dinka lifestyle centres on their cattle: the people's roles within the groups, their belief systems and the rituals they practice, all reflect this. " (Photo and text from the blog: Saharan Vibe)

The three boys take tur
Aug 19, 2009 brook rated it liked it
This book gives a very literal look through children's eyes into the conflict in the Sudan in the 1980s and 90s. If you would like a bit of material to counter radical Islam's claims of "American imperialism," here's the story of the jallabah (N. Sudanese muslims) and their attack on the oil-rich south, including the wholesale rape and extermination of local tribes, and southern rebel groups' efforts to fight back. The subject matter gets a 5, as I admit I knew nothing about this conflict (other ...more
John Manyok
Apr 20, 2011 John Manyok rated it it was amazing
when I began to read this book, it vividly brought back those mysterious and memories of the atrocities and disaster that affected million of southern Sudanese including young people so call "lost boys/girls from Sudan" . fortunately, I'm one of those who were lucky to reach to United State but a lot of colleagues didn't make it.I think the book play a huge part of reminiscing the terrible life that a child was exposed to at earlier age not knowing the world around him.and the struggling in refu ...more
May 25, 2013 Marion rated it it was amazing
This is a very compelling book. Children who survive against all odds and terrifying conditions. A book everyone should read to create understanding. Hearing the survivors speak in person in Huntington Beach was very exciting for me.
Thing Two
This story is very similar to Dave Egger's fictionalized biography of Valentino Deng What is the What. Eggers got a lot of flack from the media for the fictionalization part of that book, and yet, these three men tell almost the exact story Deng does.

It's almost overwhelming for me to read this story about a part of East Africa after recently finishing a similarly horrific tale from West Africa, The Devil That Danced on the Water: A Daughter's Quest. Reza Aslan cries foul when the media labels
Mohamed Hagi
Jun 18, 2011 Mohamed Hagi rated it it was amazing
I thought this book was especially interesting because it not only captured the political genocide that was happening in Darfur, but also how the southern civilians were being targeted. In the 1980s, when their villages in southern Sudan were attacked by troops from the cruel government in the north, thousands of young boys fled into the wilderness as their parents had told them to do, to avoid capture and death. Five and seven year olds, Benson, Alephonsion, and Benjamin crossed a thousand mile ...more
Vannessa Anderson
The author painted a vivid picture of how dangerous the fundamentalist jihad is! The fundamentalist jihad flooded Sudan with troops and told the residents they had the choice of converting to Islam or death. The fundamentalist jihad forced an estimated twenty thousand boys between the ages of five and eleven years to flee from Sudan leaving their families behind. The boys traveled thousands of miles, barefoot, to safety in Kenyan refugee camps via dangerous avenues that many didn’t survive.

In 19
Radhiya Bryant
Apr 18, 2013 Radhiya Bryant rated it really liked it
This book is about three boys named Alepho, Ajak and Benson also known as the Lost Boys from Sudan. They were very young when Arab horsemen came to their village to destroy and attack it. At one point they were all separated from each other but were later reunited. As much as they tried to escape the war they eventually ended up as child soldiers. This book is about their personal experiences becoming child soldiers and escaping the war.

One lesson that everyone can learn from reading this book i
Caitlin M
Feb 21, 2014 Caitlin M rated it it was amazing
Shelves: form1-shelf
They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky by Benson Deng, Alephonsion Deng, and Benjamin Ajak had a theme of how, even in the darkest of times, hope always prevails. This book is the story of three Sudanese boys, told by each of them in turn. The Sudanese Civil War displaced thousands of young boys who became known as the Lost Boys. The authors, Benjamin, Benson, and Alephosion, were Lost Boys themselves. Crossing multiple countries with rough landscapes, they experience death, illness, and starvation ...more
Jul 06, 2009 Sarah rated it really liked it
This is the story of three young boys and their survival amidst the Second Sudanese Civil War written by the boys when they were young men. It is written in a very matter-of-fact manner which makes it seem all the more childlike. This book, while not exceptionally graphic, is not for the faint of heart, but it is an excellent story made all the more engaging by the fact that it's true. My only criticism is that I would have liked the book to continue a little more in depth as they were immigrati ...more
May 25, 2011 Christi rated it really liked it
Wow, a bit overwhelming. Some things are just really hard to understand...people can be very cruel when basic needs are not met and we don't consider what others might feel if we were in their shoes.
I am so proud of the human soul, that it has the capacity to rise out of the filth of bad treatment and say "look at me, I am worth something, I will try again".
I'm glad I read this even though it was hard.
It was not as graphic as it could have been. I was proud of the boys sweet innocence in descri
3 little boys will teach you some powerful lessons. And leave you feeling pretty stupid for complaining about a lot of things. I'm not saying anything to spoil this book for anyone interested in reading it. This is a powerful and painful book. You will hate humanity and be in awe of the power of the human spirit. I will definitely worry and complain a lot less thanks to this book. It has left quite an impression on me. I recommend it to anyone and everyone.
Nico N
Nov 20, 2014 Nico N rated it it was amazing
Shelves: war
In They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky, two brothers, Benson and Alepho Deng and their cousin, Benjamin Ajak, recount the story of war coming to their villages in Sudan and of their flight to Ethiopia and then to Kakuma, the refugee camp in Kenya, and finally to America. So many parts were so difficult to read as I pictured these tiny boys fleeing for their lives, separated from their families and all they'd known and making the long, torturous walk to…where? Often, they didn't even know where t ...more
Jul 20, 2015 Beth rated it really liked it
I ordered this book after reading BOOK LOVE and Penny Kittle suggested it for a classroom. I think it will be a wonderful addition to the NF part of my library. The book is raw but real. I can't imagine going through what the young boys endured during this sad time in the world's history.
Bookmarks Magazine

Many of the reviews simply summarize the book and plight of the "Lost Boys of Sudan," as if the reviewers were too awestruck by the story to criticize its telling. Critics describe the narrative as "numbing," "surreal," "amazing," "harrowing," and "haunting." Details of scrambling for food, crossing crocodile-inhabited rivers, suffering injuries, and joining the rebel movement against their will abound. One would have enjoyed reading more about the boys' culture shock upon arriving in America; o

Steven Langdon
Mar 27, 2016 Steven Langdon rated it really liked it
Among the recent tragic cases of violent internal conflict in African countries, the terrible assault of the government of Sudan on the peoples in the south of that country is amongst the most brutal. Driven to control massive oil resources and motivated by religious conflict between the Islamic north and the Christian south, well-armed government forces eliminated villages, destroyed infrastructure and devastated social conditions throughout southern Sudan. A faction-ridden guerilla force, the ...more
Jan 20, 2016 Jess rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, 2016
I saw this book on a recent trip to Strand bookstore and I immediately picked it up and knew it would be one of those books. The type of book that captivates, horrifies you, and makes you feel hope-- all at once. The story of these boys was almost hard to believe. Trekking across Africa while just 5 years old and witnessing death and famine and bombs. I don't want to give anything away but there is an uplifting aspect to their story. The boys desire to learn and how their circumstances didn't ch ...more
Literary Mama
From "Essential Reading: From a Child's Point of View" by Literary Mama staff:

In considering another story of complex struggles in postcolonial Africa, Managing Editor Karna Converse points to the power of survivor tales: "News reports, even those written by Pulitzer prize-winning writers, can't tell the story of the Lost Boys of Sudan (or the story of any group of people displaced from their homeland) as well as the individuals themselves. They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky: The True Story of
Dec 02, 2014 Deepa rated it really liked it
Shelves: form-ii
I read the memoir They Poured Fire on us from the Sky by Benjamin Ajak, Benson Deng, and Alephonsion Deng. It takes place between 1987 and 1989 in Sudan. It is about three young boys who were a part of a group of children called the “Lost Boys” who journeyed across Sudan to escape the Civil War occurring during that time period. The three boys: Benjamin, Benson, and Alepho struggled to survive the harsh conditions of the wild and there were many who journeyed with them that died before they reac ...more
Deborah Gray
Sep 01, 2014 Deborah Gray rated it really liked it
This was an extraordinary story, an almost unbelievably shocking account of the relentless suffering endured by these innocent young boys. It is an important book filled with raw, unfiltered accounts from the boys' own recollections. I really can't understand the few who call it "repetitious" and "boring", as if it was fiction to be spiced up with a few well placed distractions. This was the reality of these little boys' lives, year after year, camp after camp, mile after grueling mile. There ar ...more
Winter Sophia Rose
Mar 12, 2015 Winter Sophia Rose rated it it was amazing
Inspiring, Uplifting, Heartbreaking & Touching! An Outstanding Read! I Loved It!
Jan 24, 2014 Joey rated it really liked it
The book that I read was They Poured Fire on us From the Sky. The story is about 3 boys who are evicted from their homes in southern Sudan due to a war with the Muslims. Throughout the book, I frequently found myself completely absorbed in the story, due to the nature of how it’s written. The book is written by 3 boys, and it is apparent that English is not their first language, which adds to the quality of the book. in the story, the write it how they saw it than, which really shows how differe ...more
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“We’d never handled guns so when we saw a person handle it and it went bang, we knew that thing killed. We called it the harmful stick. We learned quickly that if somebody points the stick at you, you die.” 1 likes
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