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They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky: The Story of Three Lost Boys from Sudan Paperback – June 12, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; New edition edition (June 12, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586483889
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586483883
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,146 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Raised by Sudan's Dinka tribe, the Deng brothers and their cousin Benjamin were all under the age of seven when they left their homes after terrifying attacks on their villages during the Sudanese civil war. In 2001, the three were relocated to the U.S. from Kenya's Kakuma refugee camp as part of an international refugee relief program. Arriving in this country, they immediately began to fill composition books with the memoirs of chaos and culture shock collected here. Well written, often poetic essays by Benson, Alepho and Benjamin, who are now San Diego residents in their mid-20s, are arranged in alternating chapters and recall their childhood experiences, their treacherous trek and their education in the camp ("People were learning under trees"). Other pieces remember the rampant disease and famine among refugees, and the tremendous hardship of day-to-day living ("Refugee life was like being devoured by wild animals"). When the boys arrived in America, Benson, upon seeing a Wal-Mart for the first time, remarked, "This is like a king's palace." Although some readers may wish for more commentary on what life in America is like for these transplants, this collection is moving in its depictions of unbelievable courage.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From 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; one would have liked a map of the boys’ journey. Yet all agree that this group memoir is moving and ultimately inspirational.

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Customer Reviews

The book is very well written and takes you on this journey that these boys made.
J. Grimes
After reading this fantastic story, you will be amazed at the indomitable human spirit, and the will to survive, even among young children.
Michael McCafferty
They Poured Fire On Us From The Sky is the story of three young Sudanese men-"Lost Boys"-and their story of life as a refugee.
Breanne Thornton

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 54 people found the following review helpful By The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers on August 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover
In a land where family life was everything and the most fearsome thing was a prowling hyena or lion, fire suddenly exploded from the sky. THEY POURED FIRE ON US FROM THE SKY is the vivid description of the war in southern Sudan as seen through the eyes of three little boys, Benson, Benjamin and Alephonsion - who suddenly became homeless orphans and were forced to trek across Sudan to Kenya and Ethiopia without food or water. No longer having a father to frighten away the animals or a mother to prepare food, these five-year-old boys had to figure out how to survive. In addition to the horrors brought on by nature in the form of heat, no water, no food, hunting animals, biting snakes and insects, they soon discovered that people were not very nice to boys traveling alone. Frequently their food, clothing and blankets were taken from them or they were beaten and driven away. Even their own soldiers mistreated them and they found that after surviving so much and traveling so far, they were not exactly welcome in Kenya or Ethiopia. But survive they did to come to the United States to begin life anew.

This gut-wrenching book is a real page-turner and I found myself unable to put it down, even when the stories brought tears and indescribable anger. It was a real eye-opener to read of United Nations aid gone astray as locals took the best for themselves and left the refugees starving. There were, of course, the good people who helped the refugees with food and transportation and even lost their jobs because of it. If you never believed that war could change ordinary people into selfish monsters, then this is the book for you.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Quilterkat on August 6, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a book that I was afraid would be too painful to read. Most of us will never have the experience that these 3 young men and their "brothers" have had. But it is not about pain and sorrow. It is ultimately about Hope, Family, Education and their faith in God to get them through. This is a book that will surprise you, engage you and enrage you. Thank you , Judy Bernstein and everyone who knew this story needed to be told!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By SAK on June 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found this to be a great read. Thoughtful and poignant, I got a sense of what it is to be a small child caught up in the devestation of a country at war. Several times I paused in my reading to take in parts of their story. I was emotionally touched. I was so taken by the book that I read it in two sittings. This is a great book for adults and teens - a personalization of a war in a faraway place written by three young men who now call America home. You will come to care deeply about these three little boys and understand the saying, "When two elephants fight, it is the grass that gets trampled".
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Roslyn Carrington on September 6, 2006
Format: Paperback
I usually read for fun, just to have a few laughs or to enjoy a good story, and then I put the book down. This book is not like that. It will penetrate your soul and stay with you long after you're done with it. It will change your concept of childhood and innocence. These children did not grow up watching Sesame Street.

The richness of the language, and the sensitiivity with which these boys describe how they survived experiences that would break an adult, just blows me away. And having had the privilege to follow their careers since arriving in America, I am astounded by how far they have come and the wonderful things that they are doing with the precious gift of life they have managed to escape with.

I think that any book club interested in a truly powerful novel should pick this book. There's endless room in it for discussion and interpretation, and I promise you, when you are done reading it you will look at the world with different eyes. There's a discussion guide on their website, by the way, and it's really stimulating.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Dave Elliott on September 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
As a former NFL player, I thought I was tough. But when I read what these young boys overcame, it made me appreciate what life is really about. A friend recommended the book and after I started it, I couldn't put it down until I finished it the next morning. Their triumph over all odds is uplifting. After the tragic events of recent days, this is a must read for all to learn about the strength of the human spirit.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By S. Riley on September 5, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I can not believe that I knew nothing of the war in Sudan before reading this book. This is something everyone should know. These boys endured so much at such a young age. The book really makes you take a second look at your own perspective on life. It is easy to read; You can put it down and pick it back up again at any time. (Although I doubt you would want to put it down.)
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Amy K. Kestler on February 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This eye-opening book is truly one that leaves the reader thinking about just how precious life and family are and how strong the will to survive can be. This true story of three boy's lives during this tragic and seemingly impossible situation (that unfortunately still exists today) left me in awe. I was struck by their solid familial bonds, strength of heart, and amazing fortitude to live. Though at times the story is incredibly sad and upsetting, in all it is wonderfully inspirational and a great read for adolescents through adults.
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