By Thomas O'Connor
They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky, written by Alephonsion and Benson Deng and Benjamin Ajak, is an autobiographical account of the Lost Boys of Sudan. Between 1987 and 1989, a civil war drove approximately 20,000 young Sudanese children from their homes who then trekked more than a thousand miles, over the course of many years, to Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya.
An African proverb at the start of the book states, “When two elephants fight, it is the grass that gets trampled.” When the Sudanese government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) went to war, it was the Lost Boys who were trampled. The story of these boys trapped in the middle of the Second Sudanese Civil War is one of inordinate hardship. Nearly two million people, mostly civilians, died either in the war or from the disease and famine caused by it. Nevertheless, the Lost Boys never gave up, carried on in their escape from the war and resettlement in the United States. This account, describing their unthinkable journey, is a lesson in the strength of the human spirit. It is an impassioned account of their childhood during a war and of their struggle to escape and survive. The book contains lots of suffering and death and is quite graphic at times. (14+)
Deng, Alephonsion, et al. They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky: the True Story of Three Lost Boys from Sudan. Public Affairs, 2005.