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God Grew Tired of Us: The Heartbreaking, Inspiring Story of a Lost Boy of Sudan [Kindle Edition]

John Bul Dau , Michael S. Sweeney
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)

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Book Description

"Lost Boy" John Bul Dau’s harrowing experience surviving the brutal horrors of Sudanese civil war and his adjustment to life in modern America is chronicled in this inspiring memoir and featured in an award-winning documentary film of the same name. Movingly written, the book traces Dau’s journey through hunger, exhaustion, terror, and violence as he fled his homeland, dodging ambushes, massacres and attacks by wild animals. His tortuous, 14-year journey began in 1987, when he was just 13, and took him on a 1,000-mile walk, barefoot, to Ethiopia, back to Sudan, then to a refugee camp in Kenya, where he lived with thousands of other Lost Boys. In 2001, at the age of 27, he immigrated to the United States. With touching humor, Dau recounts the shock of his tribal culture colliding with life in America. He shares the joy of reuniting with his family and the challenges of making a new life for himself while never forgetting the other Lost Boys he left behind.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Just 13 in 1987 when he was driven from his village and separated from his family in the raging civil war in southern Sudan, John Bul Dau spent years in refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya, until in 2001 he came to the U.S. as one of 4,000 Lost Boys of Sudan. His memoir is the subject of a new, award-winning documentary film. Like Deng's They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky (2005), this is a stark, first-person account of trauma and survival. Dau tells it quietly, in fast, simple prose true to the young teen's viewpoint. He's funny about the culture shock in America and honest about his years in the camp, even the fact that, trauma notwithstanding, he liked being tabbed as a leader. Although appreciative of this country and the chance for work and college, he never denies his connections to Africa. Unforgettable photos document his reunion--after 19 years--with family he did not know were alive. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


"This earnest, heart-on-the-sleeve memoir reinforces the preciousness of all human life and should serve as a reality check for the rest of world." —Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

"This is a memoir of terror, triumph and humour as Bul Dau adapts to his new life, learning along the way that differences can be bridged peacefully." —Windsor Star (Ontario)

"One sweetly funny moment in this book occurs when Dau meets a nice guy named Brad, who turns out to be the film’s producer, Brad Pitt." —Times-Picayune (New Orleans)

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • File Size: 965 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: National Geographic; Reprint edition (January 22, 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0011UGMAA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #227,392 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tale to rival Anne Frank's; and now a movie! February 2, 2007
Wow! I can't believe there isn't more buzz and more sales of this book considering what a powerful life-changing tale John Bul Dau has to tell. As far as a window to what a human soul can endure and a confirmation of faith in the unflappable power of the human spirit to overcome horrid adversity just to survive, Bul Dau's "God Grew Tired of Us: A Memoir," has to rank right up there with "Left to Tell," by Immaculee Ilibagiza and Anne Frank's Hiding Place Diary.

After reading this book, you can even rush out to the theater and catch the Oscar deserving "God Grew Tired Of Us," documentary about John, Panther, and Daniel plight of coming to America. The movie and the book are ultimately tales of redemption and hope and how new beginnings in new countries can be a life catalyst. But be warned, the book is not for the faint of heart and placid of wills. It will gently urge you to do something, anything to turn the tide in the Darfur region of Sudan, where genocide on a massive scale has been perpetrated by the current government while the international community largely looks on unaffected and unacting.

John's voice though doesn't reach to such global assumptions and is never preachy. It is a simple tale of tragedy on a holocaust-like scale every bit as terrible as Rwanda's civil war. John escapes to Kukuma refugee camp and eventually finds his way with two of his best friends and fellow "lost boys," to a New York Syracuse apartment and the difficult process of transitioning to a new life and new culture begins.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A "must read"... March 30, 2007
God Grew Tired of Us is one of the most powerful books I've read. It had my attention from the first page and I didn't want to put it down. John Bul Dau is such an incredible inspiration... you can't read this book and not be profoundly affected by his astonishing determination, leadership and desire to never give up. His description of his experience coming to the U.S. really makes me appreciate what we have. We so often forget how lucky we are and how it's so silly to get upset at the little things in life that are minor inconveniences to us. Hopefully this book will open your mind and your heart. I strongly encourage you to read it and pass it on.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So very touching.. March 19, 2007
By J. Shea
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book makes the struggles in my life seem so minute. The torturous childhood this man had would make any normal person die simply to end the pain of everyday life. And yet he has found his way to a better place. As a longtime member of Law Enforcement as well as current Military, I have seen my fair share of misery and poverty. The struggles in our country as bad as they can get and I have seen, do not even compare to what this man and his fellow brothers endured for years. As I read this book I asked myself to take a long look at my life and see how I can do better or more to help others. I did not want to, but his life makes you see that nothing is so bad being a teenager walking naked in the middle of Africa for hundreds of miles on a journey taking months, only to find his life in even more danger and having to leave again.

Lots of people look up to the rich and famous, rock stars, models, actors or even the President as people they would like to meet. John Dau is at the top of my list of whom I would like to meet. Simply for me to tell him that I am sorry. Sorry that while I was a teenager hanging out at the mall eating when and what I wanted with no worries other than my bicycle might be stolen; he was starving, thirsty, dirty, naked, no shoes, no soap. no toothbrush... No family, no knowledge of if his family was even alive. He had NOTHING! While I was relatively safe begging my parents to buy me more of this and more of that all of which was so important to me to have then. Now I would have given up everything to John had I known of the situation.

Now I know, and feel ashamed. Thank you John for telling us your story and getting the information out to the world. I will find a way that my help is needed and contribute to help ensure others do not have to go through what you did.

John, I am so glad that you did not grow tired of God.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars from sudan to syracuse November 14, 2007
When you consider that John Bul Dau started the first grade when he was eighteen, scratching his first A-B-C's in the dusty ground of a refugee camp, his memoir is inspiring by any measure. It's hard to imagine anyone surviving what Dau describes, much less flourishing once he had the opportunity. By the time he started copying books from the refugee camp library, learned English and Swahili in order to understand the instruction, passed the Kenyan high school exam, then made it to Syracuse, New York, he had wandered upwards of a thousand miles over fourteen years from his bucolic village in southern Sudan.

Sudan is not only the largest country in Africa, and one of the most complex (572 tribes that speak 114 languages), it's also one of the most war-torn. The Darfur genocide in western Sudan rightly grabs our attention, but for twenty-five years civil war raged in the southern part of the country. The "white" Arab and Muslim government in Khartoum has tried to impose strict Islam as the state religion for the entire country, but the black and Christian south rebelled. In 2005 a Comprehensive Peace Agreement was reached.

When the Khartoum government bombed Dau's village of Duk Payuel in 1987, he fled with thousands of other displaced Sudanese. He was thirteen years old. Rape, disease, pillage, daily burials, wild animals, famine (they sometimes ate mud and drank urine), government troops, and hostile tribes did not prevent Dau and some 265,000 Sudanese from reaching refugee camps in Ethiopia to the east. Most of them were young boys and a few men, as women and girls could hardly survive, and so they became known as the "Lost Boys of Sudan." When Ethiopian troops started slaughtering them, the refugees trekked 500 miles south to safety in Kenya. By then Dau was eighteen.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars but amazing.
Simply written, very matter of fact, but amazing.
Published 1 day ago by KarenMD
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent,
John Bul Dau paints a clear picture of the trials and hardships of the lost boys and all those who suffer similar plights. Read more
Published 11 days ago by Laura Munson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A moving and inspirational story.
Published 2 months ago by Virginia
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Breathtaking and brutal. Unbelievable story of and by a child soldier. A must read!
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible
This is the second book I have read on the Lost Boys as a result of the movie "The Good Lie". John's story is a well told exposition of the difficult trials of the country, the... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Grndmaofn8
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating read.
I was captivated by this book as John described his journey and those with him. I am recommending it to my friends.
Published 5 months ago by Rebecca J. Walters
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful story. I've used this for my children to ...
Such a deep, wonderful story. I've used this for my children to learn from. Thank you.
Published 6 months ago by r. mccampbell
4.0 out of 5 stars A tremendous story of human struggle. John Dau has ...
A tremendous story of human struggle. John Dau has given face and personality to the hard cold news print and come to symbolize the beauty and meaning of liberty we westerners... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Jeff F.
3.0 out of 5 stars Amazing story but quality misrepresented
The memoir itself is an unforgettable story of survival against near-impossible odds. The quality of the book, however, was misrepresented. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Heather G. Wertz
3.0 out of 5 stars A Memoir or a Documentary
This book is far more than a memoir and a little less. While it contains the personal recollections and anecdotes that make memoirs readable it leans far to much toward the... Read more
Published on March 5, 2013 by Steve
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