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The Lost Boys Of Sudan: An American Story Of The Refugee Experience Hardcover – March 14, 2005
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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.
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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Having obtained a degree in African studies in the 1990s, I was well aware of the issues facing Sudan and the history of the civil wars in the country. Many times material I read about Africa is erroneous to some degree in its reporting of events. Bixler gets things right in "The Lost Boys of Sudan." Additionally, he does a nice job of weaving historical context into the story he tells of the young men from Sudan. I was expecting a couple of introductory chapters that would serve as a mini history lesson, but Bixler chose not to go that route. Instead, he took the time to skillfully give historical context as it was merited in the story of the "Lost Boys."
The actual story of the four young men is compelling enough on the surface, but Bixler doesn't try to glorify the subjects of the book, rather he tells it like he observes it. He writes in a manner that makes for an easy read, and allows the reader to get a good picture of the lives of these men.
There are now quite a few films and books about the Lost Boys, and I strongly recommend viewing one of the DVDs on this topic either before or after you read this book. While Bixler paints a really colorful picture with his words, nothing can take the place of actually viewing the camp from which they came and the people themselves.
Of all the books I have read on this subject, Bixler's is the one I recommend the most for a person interested in the "Lost Boys." It does a great job of giving the reader a lucid account of the story of the Lost Boys in America and the circumstances from which they came.
Most recent customer reviews
The boys should be thriving in America today