A tale of suffering, tragedy, and sorrow redeemed by indomitable resolve and a stubborn refusal to despair, it is 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.
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