They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky

  • by Benson Deng, Alephonsion Deng, Benjamin Ajak, Judy Bernstein
  • Narrated by David Henry, David Zinn, Augustino Mayai, Teri Clark Linden
  • 8 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Benjamin, Alepho, and Benson were raised among the Dinka tribe of Sudan. Their world was an insulated, close-knit community of grass-roofed cottages, cattle herders, and tribal councils. The lions and pythons that prowled beyond the village fences were the greatest threat they knew. All that changed the night the government-armed Murahiliin began attacking their villages. Amid the chaos, screams, conflagration, and gunfire, five-year-old Benson and seven-year-old Benjamin fled into the dark night. Two years later, Alepho, age seven, was forced to do the same. Across the Southern Sudan, over the next five years, thousands of other boys did likewise, joining this stream of child refugees that became known as the Lost Boys. Their journey would take them over one thousand miles across a war-ravaged country, through landmine-sown paths, crocodile-infested waters, and grotesque extremes of hunger, thirst, and disease. The refugee camps they eventually filtered through offered little respite from the brutality they were fleeing. In They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky, Alepho, Benson, and Benjamin, by turn, recount their experiences along this unthinkable journey. They vividly recall the family, friends, and tribal world they left far behind them and their desperate efforts to keep track of one another. This is a captivating memoir of Sudan and a powerful portrait of war as seen through the eyes of children. And it is, in the end, an inspiring and unforgettable tribute to the tenacity of even the youngest human spirits.


What the Critics Say

"In this tender and lyrical story, the world of some of Africa's most desperate children - running away from war and toward life - is vividly evoked. . . .The result is one of the most riveting stories ever told of African childhoods - and a stirring tale of courage." (Washington Post Book World)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Important History

I think books like this are important to show people that atrocities still happen in modern times. If enough people were aware of such things, maybe in the future they would say "don't let there be another (Sudan, Rwanda, etc.)"

This book shows you what it was like to be a refugee by providing stories from 3 survivors. There are cases of surprising kindness and pointless cruelty, and many small details that caused me to imagine myself in the refugees' situations. While there is no actual discussion of the "history", I feel that the stories do a fairly good job giving the overall picture of the situation in Southern Sudan at that time.

I only had a couple of minor problems with the book. The story switched among the accounts of the 3 boys frequently, and this combined with my broken up listening during commutes and the fact that the boys' paths sometimes intersected, made it hard for me to distinguish between the three as individuals, even though each had their own narrator. One of the narrators has a strong African accent, which some people might have trouble understanding, but I felt it really added to the listening experience. One of the American narrators (at least on my audio device) made a sharp whistling noise every time he pronounced an "s".

Other audible books with stories of people surviving and escaping horrible situations include Long Way Gone about Sierra Leone and Nothing to Envy about North Korea. Going a little further back in history is The Rape of Nanking, but that one has a lot more victim stories than survivors, so it's really hard to stomach.

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- Planetary Defense Commander "Book Blogger and Planetary Defense Commander"

Amazing book!

Amazing and touching story highly recommend, just remember that the book is told from the point of view of 3 characters and it switches and can become kind of confusing but overall it's great!
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- Ivan Martinez

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-27-2009
  • Publisher: Public Affairs