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Deng Adut's family were farmers in South Sudan when a brutal civil war altered his life forever. At six years old, his mother was told she had to give him up to fight. At the age most Australian children are starting school, Deng was conscripted into the Sudan People's Liberation Army.
He began a harsh, relentless military training that saw this young boy trained to use an AK-47 and sent into battle. He lost the right to be a child. He lost the right to learn. The things Deng saw over those years will stay with him forever. He suffered from cholera, malaria and numerous other debilitating illnesses, but still he had to fight.
A child soldier is expected to kill or be killed, and Deng almost died a number of times. He survived being shot in the back. The desperation and loneliness was overwhelming. He thought he was all alone. But Deng was rescued from war by his brother John. Hidden in the back of a truck, he was smuggled out of Sudan and into Kenya. Here he lived in refugee camps until he was befriended by an Australian couple. With their help and the support of the UN, Deng Adut came to Australia as a refugee. Despite physical injuries and mental trauma, he grabbed the chance to make a new life. He worked in a local service station and learnt English watching The Wiggles. He taught himself to read and started studying at TAFE.
In 2005 he enrolled in a bachelor of law course at Western Sydney University. He became the first person in his family to graduate from university.
This is an inspiring story of a man who has overcome deadly adversity to become a lawyer and committed worker for the disenfranchised, helping refugees in Western Sydney. It is an important reminder of the power of compassion and the benefit to us all when we open our doors and our hearts to fleeing war, persecution and trauma.
Deng Adut is a lawyer working in Western Sydney. He uses his spare time to help other Sudanese refugees. Ben Mckelvey is a freelance writer and editor from Sydney who has filed for Good Weekend, GQ, Voyeur, Rolling Stone, The Bulletin, Cosmo, Cleo and the SMH, Age and West Australian newspapers.
Ben's previous gigs have included editing Sport&Style and Juice magazines and working on the Sydney Morning Herald as a senior feature writer. He has been embedded with the ADF in East Timor and Iraq and has worked independently in Iran and Afghanistan.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Rani on 11-20-16
Inspiring, heartbreaking and amazingly honest.
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
Everyone should read this book. Deng Thiak Adut is brutally honest in his story telling and the ability to see the world through his eyes is life changing and inspiring.
What does Ben Mckelvey and Blessing Mokgohloa bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?
Ben McKelvey adds a level of detail to the book that allows you see and smell what you are hearing. Blessing Mokgohloa's narration is wonderful, warm and very easy to listen to.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
No, but not because it isn't a wonderful book, in fact quite the opposite. This book more than most made me have to stop and think about what I was hearing and process it. I couldn't listen to some of the terrible things that have happened it Deng Adut's life and then just move onto the next chapter. I had to digest it, mull it over and then keep listening.
Any additional comments?
A truly wonderful story that is still happening. As a middle class white Australian this book opened my eyes up to just how difficult it is for new migrants to Australia nut for refugees it's just so much harder again. Throughout this book I would imagine if these things were happening to my children, my family and it's a testament to Deng Adut's strength of character that he has managed to achieve the levels of success that he has. A truly inspiring story.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
By Amazon Customer on 12-01-16
Everyone needs to know this story. This is a an amazing story of Deng Adut 'early life. It is heartbreaking that his innocent childhood along with all those hos age was taken away from him so brutally. Deng has given us an insight into a world we have very little knowledge of and the majority of Australian people will be oblivious of the deplorable up war condition. A must read.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful