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God Grew Tired of Us: A Memoir

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  2,854 ratings  ·  253 reviews
This unforgettable book is the first-person account of a miracle--indeed, a whole series of miracles. A tale of suffering, tragedy, and sorrow redeemed by indomitable resolve and a stubborn refusal to despair, it's set in a Sudan shadowed by unrelenting war and ruthless violence, yet illuminated by faith, generosity, and steadfast commitment to the human spirit's finest in ...more
Hardcover, 287 pages
Published January 16th 2007 by National Geographic Society
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 ·  2,854 ratings  ·  253 reviews

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Jan 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A profound, moving, and inspiring real life account of a refugee from the Holocaust against Black South Sudanese by Khartoum's Islamist-Arab regime, which has resulted in the deaths of literally millions, and his resettlement in the USA.

John Bul Dau tells of his life in a village in South Sudan, the horrors he experienced and witnessed beginning in 1987, at the age of 14, when his village was destroyed and he fled naked across thousands of miles of desert and African Savannah. He describes the f
Feb 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
I have some really mixed opinions here. Take a quick look at the general tone of ratings and reviews on this book, and you will arrive at the unmistakable conclusion that this is a profoundly moving book. I agree wholeheartedly. The story of the Lost Boys of Sudan is powerful and tragic, and this first-person retelling of those events carries a moral weight that can't easily be denied. What fuels my mixed response is the close-mindedness that occupies the latter parts of the book.

The first half
Mar 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bio-auto-bio
This is the amazing journey of John Bul Dau, one of the Lost Boys of the Sudan. He, along with tens of thousands of other children (mostly boys) was dispossessed during the civil war of the mid-1980s and became a "wanderer in the desert" for the better part of 15 years -- hungry, thirsty, often fearing for his life, living each day as if it would be his last. I cannot imagine being able to survive such a life -- let alone survive it with integrity and joy. It's the "joy" of it that truly has me ...more
Americans have so much, but they insist on seeing the glass as half empty instead of half full. To extend the metaphor a bit, when I lived in Kakuma I didn't even have a glass (p. 228).

John Bul Dau was chased from his home in south Sudan in 1987 and walked to and lived in refugee camps first in Ethiopia and then Kenya. In August 2001, he immigrated to the US, where he later brought his younger sister and mother. In God Grew Tired of Us, Bul Dau weaves together his observations and cultural mispe
Mar 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
Having been friends with a 'Lost Boy' who didn't talk about his past, I enjoyed reading John's memoir because it gave me a feel for the similar events which brought my friend to Utah.

I also liked his perspective on the USA as a whole. So many of us take our freedom for granted and fail to accept responsibility for our success or lack there of. Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in what is wrong and forget how many great people live here who freely give of their time, talents, and money to he
Caitlin M
Feb 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: form1-shelf
After reading God Grew tired of Us by John Bul Dau, the reader comes to understand that great help can come from the most foreign of places and that a difficult childhood does not mean that a person won't succeed in life. This book was a memoir of John Bul Dau's life as a lost boy. There were not any other major characters, just a few friends he made on his journeys. He was a part of the Dinka tribe in Sudan, and when the Djellabas attacked his village in 1987, he was forced to flee from his hom ...more
Apr 09, 2013 rated it liked it

In God Grew Tired of us by John Bul Dau John wants to reconnect with his family after leaving Africa because of the wars but, it is too dangerous to turn back so, he waits until he is in the United States and has the resources to connect with his family. One way this book was very different than most was the action or the cause took place at the beginning and the rest of the book was effects. the weakness of this book was it was never interesting enough I didn't want to put it down, or at least
Sheila Callahan
Feb 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I had seen Christopher Quinn's wonderful documentary about the Lost Boys of Sudan and remember clearly the scenes of one group's arrival in Syracuse, NY, where volunteers took them to a grocery store for the first time, showed them how to flip a light switch, use a stove and all the other wonders that we take for granted in our modern world, so I was a little reluctant to read this memoir, thinking it would be redundant. Boy, was I wrong. John Dau's account begins the night his village was attac ...more
Feb 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Roni by: Maureen Keene (my boss)
This is an amazing story of one of the Lost Boys of Sudan. It is amazing that things like this are still happening. It was an eye opener for me. There is a large population of Sudanese refugees in the Denver area. A family was recently baptized into my ward that fled the Sudan and Egypt. I was the mother's visiting teacher and the girls I got to know in Young Women's. I never really talked about the pain that they had to go through to get to America, but I was glad that I was aware of what they ...more
Kristine Rier
Jun 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
There are so many wonderful stories and lessons to be extracted and appreciated from this memoir. The story of the tribes from the south of Sudan (now Southern Sudan), their customs, people, and political oppression; a beautiful account of the spirit and power of America's immigrants; and, an appraisal of what can be done to improve our world.

I'm very happy this book was chosen as my school's community-read and look forward to infusing the author's messages in my classroom. Especially excited t
Apr 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
LOVED this book. I had no idea the recent history of Sudan. So it was enlightening plus I was amazed at the John's attitude and abilities throughout. This is his autobiography of that time of his life. I am glad I bought this one as it is one I will love having on my bookshelf.
Feb 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
An amazing story. I had the privilege of meeting him and hearing him speak- what a great spirit. Some books deserve to be read not because the authors are great writers but because the story is worth knowing. This is one of those.
Winter Sophia Rose
Dec 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Heartbreaking, Life Changing, Inspiring, Uplifting, Fascinating, Touching Eye Opener! An Outstanding, Powerful Read! I Loved It!
Jun 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: finished
Very interesting and thought provoking.
Its a kind of biography of John.
John is from Sudan.In his childhood at his 11th year or so,his village was bombed by Muslim militants and he ran for his life.Its all about his journey to save his life till he reached America as a refugee and established his living hood.

The story would move our heart..It just shows of the contrast..When he ran for the life,he was around 11yrs..1981..ethnic warfare started spreading Sudan completely.His village was bombed and
Dec 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book is one of the best books I've ever read. Two summers ago, in summer school, there were a couple students who had come to the US from Sudan. One of these youngsters was having a very hard time from all she had seen and adjusting to this new home and culture. I had previously heard of the Lost Boys, but never really heard much. I started researching a little and reading about this part of the world. I rented the movie documentary of the same title, but reading John's story was even more ...more
Jul 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
An excellent book by one of the Lost Boys of Sudan. It begins when John is just 12 and his village is attacked. He is fortunate to escape with his life but spends years escaping to safe spots and survives horrendous conditions. Eventually John makes his way to the United States where he now lives and runs the John Dau Sudan Foundation to help others in Sudan. It is evident from the book that Mr. Dau loves his new country, but loves his Dinka heritage as well. He has praise for America and Americ ...more
Mar 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
John Bul Dau, a Lost Boy, has an amazing if traumatic story to tell in God Grew Tired of Us. It is also, sadly, not a unique story. We read of John's war-torn Sudanese history and how he escaped multiple times from extremist militias, found temporary safe-havens, exercised leadership, and finally acquired sanctuary in the USA. Thanks to the help of the brilliant author and journalist Mike Sweeney, I have been reminded once again about how incredibly fortunate I am to have been born into my own s ...more
May 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This story will break your heart and inspire you. It's unbelievable what these lost boys of Sudan go through....and the capacity for destruction and expression of love and compassion humans are capable of. I walked away from reading John's story with a resolve to think differently about my own strengths and inspired by John's forward way of thinking. His will and strength of family and culture are what I believe pulled him through his unvbelievable trauma. It is a testimony to the human spirit a ...more
Jun 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellently written autobiography of John Bul Dau, one of the Lost Boys of Sudan. His experiences as a refugee, his struggles in America, and his eventual triumphs make for an riveting story. I have used this book, and the Movie based on this book in my classroom as part of a unit on the Lost Boys. My students are riveted and really develop a desire to take action and to try and help other refugees after learning about John Bul Dau and the other Lost Boys.
Jul 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
An excellent read about the lost boys of Sudan. I was skeptical at first, but really enjoyed the story as well as learning about another culture. I learned that hard things are still happening all over the world today, even though most of the time I am oblivious to a lot of it.
Feb 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The story of one of the Lost Boys of Sudan- heartbreaking and inspirational- John Bul Dau's story has impacted me in many ways. I appreciated the opinion of the US from an outsider, and how different our culture is from how he grew up. I think everyone should read this book.
Tom Carrico
Feb 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir

God Grew Tired of Us
By John Bul Dau with Michael S. Sweeney

(Note: John Bul Dau’s God Grew Tired of Us has been selected by the Lynchburg Public Library for 2010’s “Lynchburg Reads” program. There will be book discussions and other public programs offered this spring and Mr. Dau will speak at Randolph College on April 21 at 8:00 P.M. Mr. Dau’s appearance is being funded by The Friends of the Lynchburg Public Library, The Holocaust Education Foundation of Central Virginia and Randolph College.)

Emmy Bylsma
Jun 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
God Grew Tired of Us is a very descriptive book and it feels as though you are actively seeing events through John's eyes. The detail makes a great impact on the book as a whole because you than understand the severity of the poverty and war that John and all the Lost Boys experience. It is heartwarming to read about the organizations and caring individuals who offer their time and donations to the refugees. This book is very informal and you can learn about the effects of globalization between ...more
Meghan Watson
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Pages: 304

Summary: The book, God Grew Tired of Us, is focused on the perspective of a young Dinka boy named John Bu Dau living in Sudan. It is a true story that takes place in the 1980s during the Sudan Civil War. John and his Dinka village were forced to leave by the Arabs one night, and his journey continued from there. Leaving all of his belongings and family, he didn't know where to go or what to do. John and some other people from his village make the treacherous journey to Ethiopia, where
Marcy prager
Mar 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I heard about this book from NPR. It is the story of John Bul Dau, a lost boy from Sudan. Interwined is the history of the wars between the north and south of Sudan to provide a comprehensive understanding as to what takes place within the story. Also included are the quotes from the "friends" of John Bul Dau, both Duk Payuel, his childhood home in Sudan, in the surrounding countries where the lost boys stayed for periods of time, and in America, where John Bul Dau presently lives and prospers. ...more
Davis Aujourd'hui
Oct 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing tale of the lost boys of Sudan told by a remarkable survivor of the carnage that swept through his homeland. It is a story of the strength of the human spirit. It is truly inspirational.

As the author of a spiritually-themed novel, I am always on the outlook for books that provide food for my soul. This one certainly did it for me! It is an amazing journey of a thirteen year-old boy who loses his family when he has to escape from the ravages of civil war. Following that he ends
Rock Angel
this review pertain to the movie (documentary) by the same name.

The movie got a 4.5 star rating. If I go along with that, then the book "What's the What" (another Sudanese autobio) should get about 40 stars.

To be fair, "God" focused on the Sudanese boys' American life, spending only about 10-15 min on their Sudanese history, whereas "What" spent >3/4 on Valentino Achak Deng's Sudanese days; and that the latter book is almost twice as long as the first.

Still, for a documentary, "God" advocated i
Rachel N
Apr 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Remarkable story. It's hard to give a star rating to such a heart wrenching story. I feel like it forces me to rate the quality of writing as though it was meant for my entertainment. But such a book is not "entertaining." It's a story that must be told and must be heard. In the West, we have NO IDEA of the hardships suffered in war-torn countries like the Sudan. No Idea.

With that said, I would have to give God Grew Tired of Us a 3 for quality of writing, but the story itself - John Bul Dau's a
May 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
I must say a tear came to my eye more than once as i read this book. Quite amazing what some people must endure for freedom. Not to mention the staggering power of human will.
What i appreciated most of all about this book came at the end. I really appreciated Dau's perspective on America-- our strengths and weaknesses, where we have gone astray, and the results. I won't go into specifics-- its better as an end to the book...
Overall, i thought this read was very thought-provoking. Quite saddenin
May 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book was yet another wonderfully written memoir about the genocide/war in Sudan, specifically about the Lost Boys. To learn about the Dinka tribe's culture and traditions and beliefs was lovely. I had no idea that most are Christian, and so this was refreshing to read about because John referenced the bible several times. Previous books I've read about genocide have not been about Christian tribes, but have been just as educational and interesting to read nonetheless, from a different persp ...more
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John Dau is a survivor of a 14-year journey from his home village in Duk County, Sudan in 1987 to his arrival in Syracuse, New York in 2001. As a young boy he fled Sudanese government troops and eventually arrived at the Kukuma refugee camp in Kenya in 1992. During this journey of more than 1,000 miles, he led thousands of younger children through violence and starvation. Selected to come to Syrac ...more

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