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The Lost Boys of Sudan: An American Story of the Refugee Experience Hardcover – March, 2005


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 261 pages
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press; 1st edition (March 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 082032499X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0820324999
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,152,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In 2001, four young men, having fled the Sudanese civil war that has raged for more than 20 years, left East African refugee camps to begin a new life in the modern sprawl of Atlanta. Bixler, a reporter for the AtlantaJournal-Constitution, covered their emigration for the paper, and here recounts their extraordinary stories. Thousands of young men, displaced by the war and separated from their families, have come to be called the "Lost Boys" of Sudan after Peter Pan's orphans. Selected by the State Department for resettlement in the U.S., Jacob, Peter, Daniel and Marko had not seen a light switch before their arrival. Bixler chronicles their earnest attempts at cultural orientation and their intimate relationships with volunteers who donated time and money. While lively and even entertaining, the book does not simply tug heartstrings with touching anecdotes. A recurring theme is the émigrés' intense struggle for a basic education; they and other refugees "could not understand why the government seemed to have brought them without a plan for their education." The book does not ignore the pitfalls and politics of refugee resettlement, which are especially complicated since 9/11, but Bixler's perspective is optimistic. He also provides essential background, including a crash course on U.S. refugee policy and a short history of Sudan. (Mar. 14)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In 2000, in a historically unprecedented gesture, the federal government resettled 3,800 young men unaccompanied by parents and with no family in the U.S. when it opened its doors to those who were called the Lost Boys of Sudan. Uprooted by the civil war that had ravaged Sudan, the boys were forced to wander, dodging bullets and wild animals. Jacob Magot, Peter Anyang, Daniel Khoch, and Marko Ayii were among 150 youth who were eventually resettled in Atlanta. Bixler, a reporter with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, follows the progress of the four young men as they adjust to life in modern America, learning to use kitchen appliances, take public transportation, and look for work. Bixler chronicles their struggles to overcome loneliness and to come to terms with the brutality of their past, as well as their frustrations with job hunting and the growing suspicion of foreigners post-9/11. Assisted by myriad volunteers and social-service providers, the four realize their dreams of education and make lives for themselves. An inspiring story of determination and faith. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

At first the book was difficult to read due to the sadness of the author's childhood.
R. Barrington
The results of their labors however, as chronicled by Bixler, are both amazing and truly inspiring to us all.
Joan Hecht
It is inspiring to read how The Lost Boys of Sudan started their journey and numerous challenges.
elisha kipchumba

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 25, 2005
Format: Hardcover
In 1983, while the rest of the world looked away, a civil war broke out in Sudan between the Islamic controlled government in the north and the people of the south who were Christians or animists. This conflict would eventually result in the deaths of hundreds of thousands, more than five million people driven from their homes and would would force two million Sudanese to seek refuge in neighboring countries. Among these refugees was a group of at least 20,000 children aged 7 to 17 years of age who were separated from their families and forced to make their way alone over hundreds of miles of an unforgiving wilderness until they finally arrived at the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Northwest Kenya where the United Nations Committee for refugees created a sanctuary for "The Lost Boys of Sudan." By that time, more than half were lost to starvation, disease, attacks by wild animals, and bandits.

I first met the Lost Boys in Kakuma in February 1998, while on an inspection tour for the U.S. Department of State. I was amazed by their story and was even more amazed by their dedication to each other and to making the best of their existence at Kakuma. Even though there were food shortages in the camp. They asked if they could get more books and teachers because both were in short supply and education was the most important thing in their lives. I learned that they were still at risk in Kakuma and that hardly a week went by without one or more of the boys being kidnapped and forced to fight in the civil war. These were children to whom fate had dealt a cruel hand but who were adaptable enough to survive. As there was no future for them in Kakuma, I made the decision to recommend that they be resettled in the United States.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Joan Hecht on June 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The story of the Lost Boys of Sudan is like no other story ever told. It is a story about thousands of young children, particularly young boys, who became separated from their families due to the long running civil war between the North and South of Sudan. In all, these children walked over a thousand miles across the wilds of Africa in search of safe refuge. Their journey was a long and arduous one filled with suffering and horrors beyond ones imagination.

Through the skilled style of Atlanta journalist Mark Bixler, "The Lost Boys of Sudan" weaves their story with that of other refugees and immigrants who have also settled in our country, while never trivializing their incredible plight. And although "The Lost Boys of Sudan" focuses on four young men living in Atlanta Georgia, their stories are similar to those of approximately 3800 other Lost Boys who have resettled in various cities across the US. Like those in Atlanta, they too have had to come to grips with the fascinating sights and wonders of this strange land called America, while attempting to blend within our society. For the first time in their lives they are forced to work full time jobs in order to support themselves and those they left behind, while also attending school. The task of surviving in this strange and foreign land has proven difficult at best. The results of their labors however, as chronicled by Bixler, are both amazing and truly inspiring to us all.

Joan Hecht

Author of "The Journey of the Lost Boys"
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Clint Schnekloth on January 22, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The Lost Boys of Sudan: An American Story of the Refugee Experience, by Mark Bixler. The University of Georgia Press, 2005. Pp. 261.

The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God (Leviticus 19:34)

Imagine a cluster of tall, thin Sudanese young men waiting in an airport in Washington D.C. They are all wearing the same sweatshirt. They have spent the past four or five years of their life in refugee camps in Ethiopia. This is their first time traveling by air, seeing the U.S., eating chocolate. They are separated from their parents by war or death. They seem, as Mark Bixler remarks, "to have been plucked from another era and dropped into the hustle and bustle of contemporary America" (96). They anticipate another flight to Atlanta, Georgia, where they will begin a life they have been anticipating for some time- hard work in the hopes of saving up money, passing the GRE, attending college, and making a new life.

And it just so happens that other boys like them, also from the Sudan, have been featured on the CBS program 60 Minutes II and in The New York Times Magazine. On CBS you learn that these young men are committed to hard work so they can receive an education. Bob Simon in the 60 Minutes interview asks one young man how many hours he wants to work. The answer: Sixteen hours a day. Why? The answer: I need to have money so that I can go to school. In the New York Times, we see these opening words: This is snow. This is a can opener. This is a life free from terror." These are untypical, sympathetic men entering what is for them a strange new world.
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