Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Escape from Slavery: The True Story of My Ten Years in Captivity and My Journey to Freedom in America” as Want to Read:
Escape from Slavery: The True Story of My Ten Years in Captivity and My Journey to Freedom in America
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Escape from Slavery: The True Story of My Ten Years in Captivity and My Journey to Freedom in America

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  443 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
In this groundbreaking modern slave narrative, Francis Bok shares his remarkable story with grace, honesty, and a wisdom gained from surviving ten years in captivity.

May, 1986: Selling his mother's eggs and peanuts near his village in southern Sudan, seven year old Francis Bok's life was shattered when Arab raiders on horseback, armed with rifles and long knives, burst int
ebook, 288 pages
Published April 1st 2007 by St. Martin's Press (first published 2003)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Escape from Slavery, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Escape from Slavery

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Sabrina Rutter
This book will break your heart. This lets you look inside the mind of a child slave. The whole time I read about his time in slavery I wished I could reach out and pull him into the loving comfort of a warm lap and squeeze him with tender snuggles, like all children need. I will never forget this mans story.
Natalie Wickham
The first-person account of Francis Bok, who was captured from the market town of Nyamlell at the age of seven and forced into slavery in North Sudan. Some friends of mine who are also good friends of Francis’ lent me this book after telling me a little bit about his story. It was every bit as interesting and eye-opening as they indicated. The culture of Sudan depicted throughout the book stands in stark contrast to the American culture in which I’ve grown up. It is hard to even comprehend the r ...more
Linden Weng
For my English class, we had to create a "Found Poem", a poem using words found throughout the book. This is my poem.

It was late afternoon
under a tree.
I was excited to get my trading career started.
Then, smoke.
In the village.
Something had happened back in the village.
The Murahaliin were coming!
People ran away.
I could not find my way.
Men entered the market place.
With guns in their hands.
I raced away, but I stopped abruptly.
A man grabbed me.
An Arab grabbed me.
My mother trusted me
she expected me ho
Aug 16, 2007 Elise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's a challenging narrative of the current-day slave trade in Africa. No light read, but very good.
Margaret Sankey
Bok was a seven year old Dinka villager in the South Sudan when a raid by Arab Muslims from the north left his family murdered and him packed off in a donkey caravan to serve the next decade as a slave to pastoral nomads as a shepherd. His escape, and the subsequent time in refugee camps and Cairo being process through the INS and UN emigration system is mind-boggling for westerners with bureaucratic experience (and reminds me strongly of Dom Jean's excellent training exercise for the Lutheran S ...more
Apr 25, 2009 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story of a Sudanese Dinka boy who was captured and enslaved for 10 years, then jailed for speaking out after he escaped. His story, including how he came to be in the US and working for an anti-slavery organization is easy to read, enlightening, and horrifying.

I will say, though, that his discussion of the history and politics of Sudan at the end are a radical shift in writing style, and so likely to put people off a bit. But as most of us (myself included) know little about African history
Jan 11, 2017 Cat_Lady rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You have to admire how much he preserved, this book is emotional, captivating and motivating because you get to see how much he fought to get to where he is today. This book captures how much he fought in the hands of the people who stole him, abused him and tried to take away his spirit.
Regina Lindsey
During the "invisible" civil war in Sudan two million southern Sudanese have been killed and 4.4. million displaced. Women and children not casualties of the war often ended up as slaves. One of those slaves was a seven year old Dinka boy, Francis Piol Bol Buk (Francis Bok).

For the first seven years of Bok's life, Bok learned a strong work ethic that earned him the nickname "twelve men", was a quick study, and received encouragement from father. Bok was told repeatedly that he would one day do s
Nov 11, 2013 Cat. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is how this book begins: "I have told the story many times about that day in 1986, when my mother sent me to the market to sell eggs and peanuts: the day I became a slave."

This is how it ends: "Finally, I want to thank God for blessing me and guiding me in the worst of times and the best of times." (Acknowledgements)

Here is a boy, age 7, who was suddenly and brutally removed from his family, his town and his culture, kidnapped by northern Sudanese raiders and enslaved for 10 years. He esc
Sep 08, 2011 Chol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book talk about a lost boy who have been missing from his home for ten years. Francis Bok loved his mom and dad so much that he will do anything for them. His dad use to take him to his friend and say that this kid is very good kid his dad say so. one day his mom told him you will go with other older girls and sell stuff but if u sell anything give money to the older girl.Francis was so happy that his mom trusted him to go out. So they went to the shop and sell stuff, then he saw people run ...more
Sep 03, 2014 Jayda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this book Francis bok tells a tale about his excruciating childhood/life in slavery and how he escaped it. This is one of the best (and most important) books ive ever read. in the begining he goes on to tell the reader how great his life was before he was captured. This really helped build character, and show the reader that slavery happened to everyday people who lived their lives just like you and me. He also goes into great detail about his culture and just talks about the Dinka people in ...more
Oct 10, 2009 Theresa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Theresa by: My son
Francis Bok spent his early childhood as a happy member of a Sudanese Dinka family. He took great pride that his father felt he would someday grow up and do great things. At the age of 7, Francis was allowed for the first time to go to the market to sell his family's goods. His mother put him in the care of 2 other children. Little did he know that this would be the last time he would ever see his family again. He was captured at the market and was bound in slavery for the next ten years.

This b
Sep 14, 2008 Cara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I currently owe CSU $100 for this book since my dog chewed it pretty good. Still readable, but missing half it's hard back cover unless I can find another with the same ISBN number.

I read this with my Honors middle school students. It's a pretty simple read, but provocative. Reminds us that there is still slavery in the world today. Piol is a Dinka who was captured when he was six in southern Sudan and worked for his Arab master for ten years in northern Sudan. Check out his website at iabolish.
Sep 20, 2016 Mj rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I first got to college, each student was given a book and the promise that the author would come and speak to the class later in the year. My freshman class was given Francis Bok's fascinating memoir Escape From Slavery.

It challenged my notion of slavery (That's something from the past! No one still participates in that barbaric practice!), while humanizing the victims. When I finally got to see Bok speak, I was in awe at his strength and his amazing story.

It also opened up an entire world
Jul 09, 2011 Teresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I'm grateful that this strong brave man wrote his story out , it's important that people hear this kind of thing. This one will open your eyes and is an important read. Yes its written simplistically with swaths of explanation about America that I skipped over since i'm from Philadelphia, but,like Americans tend to forget, there are other people in the world who may not know this stuff. In terms of the writing style, English is this mans third language cut him some damn slack (besides the simple ...more
Molly Sargent
Jan 02, 2012 Molly Sargent rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an incredible story of courage, faith, and determination. To think that a seven-year-old boy could be kidnapped from his village in 1986 and be kept as a slave for 10 years is difficult to grasp in this modern day, yet this is exactly what happened to Francis Bok. While the Sudanese government was vehemently denying that slavery even existed in Sudan, thousands of women and children, primarily of the Dinka people, were being stolen each year as part of the ongoing civil war there. That t ...more
Michael Connolly
In the Sudan, the southerners are black Christians and the northerners are white, Arab Muslims. Francis Bok, a Dinka living in the south, was stolen into slavery by white Arab marauders from the northern part of Sudan. He was brought back up to the north to work as a sheep herder. He was treated harshly, but not cruelly. He was an involuntary, poorly paid, servant, selected because of his poverty, race and religion. He was not treated as badly as the women in the memoirs I have read by women gro ...more
The story of Francis Bok's life is an amazing one, which he has shared before many audiences in person and retells here. Bok grew up in southern Sudan before he was kidnapped and forced into slavery at age seven. He managed to escape ten years later only to be enslaved by the police he went to for help for two more months. Eventually, with some surprising help, he ends up making it to America as a UN refugee. Soon he is working with anti-slavery groups, telling his story, raising awareness and h ...more
Re'gene Thompson
This book was very touching. It was about a young boy from Sudan being enslaved after a raid in his village, He was in captivity for ten years. The people who enslaved him and lots of others were Arab raiders who killed hundreds of people of his village. He survived the ten years of struggle and hardship to make it to America. He then became a Captivist and joined an anti-slavery group and was very sucessful. He was one of the very few slaves that lived to tell his story. I thought is was a very ...more
May 28, 2013 Margo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: slavery
I was shocked when I realized this boy probably ended up in the same country as some of his ancestors as the Arabs in the north have been enslaving and selling the black people in the south of Sudan for hundreds of years. Yet, you find black people in the U.S.proud to be Muslim, thought it was Muslims who had sold them into slavery and forced their religion on them as well. What a travesty to think the same thing is happening today in the "modern" world. Glad this young man is in a better place ...more
Feb 12, 2008 Brian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Think slavery ended hundreds of years ago? Think again. This is the story of a Dinka man from southern Sudan who was captured as a young child and forced into slavery by Arab Northern Sudanese folks. He escaped and made it to America and now is an anti-slavery activist working to make sure this never happens to anyone else ever again.
Jun 11, 2008 justjenn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I highly recommend this book to anyone. I never even imagined that slavery like this exists today. It opened my eyes to another world and culture, and the hatred and ignorance that is very real for some people. I also marveled at the triumphant spirit of the author. A terrible, and wonderful story of survival.
Nov 21, 2013 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once again a book that amazes me of the human will to live and the strength that people find within to do and be great in spite of extreme trials. This book is along the lines of Left to Tell, but not quite as graphic. Excellent and would highly recommend it.
Jul 22, 2009 Micki rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Incredible story, but the book ends up very political and was hard for me to follow the country/slavery history and political struggles. Although I know this is a very important part of the book, I had a hard time following the author at the end.
4-5 star for the experience of reading about this topic. Doesn't help islamfobia. I am not sure how current this topic is and what is happening at the moment in Sudan about slavery and not knowing makes me even more sad.
Jun 18, 2008 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an amazing book. I highly recommend it. It is amazing to learn that slavery happens today, now in our world. This opened my eyes and I learned a lot from his honest perspective on his life story.
Jan 14, 2009 Kathy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
This is an amazing book. I wasn't much aware of this topic before reading this autobiography, and it completely opened my eyes to modern slavery. It's also a good primer to the various conflicts still raging within the Sudan.
Jun 14, 2008 Kristi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was suggested during my social justice class. It is hard to believe slavery still takes place. It is unbelievable that Francis was able to survive slavery for ten years. His parents gave him a good foundation and his desire to return to his parents kept him alive.
Aug 16, 2011 Lori rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
True story of Francis Bok who was kidnapped at age seven in 1986 and spent ten years in slavery in Sudan before he successfully escaped and was eventually granted passage to America. He speaks for millions of slaves in nearly every nation, including our own.
Aug 20, 2008 Ramonita rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great story.... The fact that it is a true story makes it amazing and hard to believe.

If you are interested in learning about someone who went through modern day slavery.. this is the book for you.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Enslaved: True Stories of Modern Day Slavery
  • The Graves Are Not Yet Full: Race, Tribe and Power in the Heart of Africa
  • Over a Thousand Hills I Walk with You
  • Notes from the Hyena's Belly: An Ethiopian Boyhood
  • Singing Away the Hunger: The Autobiography of an African Woman
  • Freedom: The Sequel to Slave
  • Girl Soldier: A Story of Hope for Northern Uganda's Children
  • Not On Our Watch: The Mission to End Genocide in Darfur and Beyond
  • Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy
  • The Brother: The Untold Story of Atomic Spy David Greenglass and How He Sent His Sister, Ethel Rosenberg, to the Electric Chair
  • This Voice in My Heart: A Runner's Memoir of Genocide, Faith, and Forgiveness
  • The Devil Came on Horseback: Bearing Witness to the Genocide in Darfur
  • Red Dirt: Growing Up Okie
  • When She Was White: The True Story of a Family Divided by Race
  • My Fathers' Daughter
  • The Price of Stones: Building a School for My Village
  • A World Made New: Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • Slave Girl

Share This Book