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 instincts. It's also the eloquently plain-spoken self-portrait of a young man who has looked death in the face many times and come away with an inner strength as impressive as it is modest and a wisdom as inspiring as it is matter of fact.
One of the uprooted youngsters known as the Lost Boys of Sudan, John Bul Dau was 12 years old when civil war ravaged his village and shattered its age-old society, a life of herding and agriculture marked by dignity, respect, and the simple virtues of Dinka tribal tradition. As tracer bullets split the night and mortar shells exploded around him, John fled into the darkness—the first terrified moments of a journey that would lead him thousands of miles into an exile that was to last many years.
John's memoir of his Dinka childhood shows African life and values at their best, while his searing account of hardship, famine, and war also testifies to human resilience and kindness. In an era of cultural clashes, his often humorous stories of adapting to life in the United States offer proof that we can bridge our differences peacefully. John Bul Dau's quiet pride, true humility, deep seriousness, compassionate courage, and remarkable achievements will take every reader’s breath away.
"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)
John Bul Dau is a Dinka from Southern Sudan and one of thousands of Lost Boys who fled their homeland during Sudanese civil war. He found shelter at refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya before coming to Syracuse, New York, where he now lives with his wife and his daughter.
Michael S. Sweeney is a professor of journalism at Utah State University. He is the author of the acclaimed book Secrets of Victory, which was named 2001 Book of the Year by the American Journalism Historians Association.