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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 in 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.


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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 in 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.

30 review for God Grew Tired of Us: A Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Gary

    A profound, moving, and inspiring real life account of a refugee from the Holocaust against Black South Sudanese by Khartoum's Islamist-Arab regime, which has resulted in the deaths of literally millions, and his resettlement in the USA. John Bul Dau tells of his life in a village in South Sudan, the horrors he experienced and witnessed beginning in 1987, at the age of 14, when his village was destroyed and he fled naked across thousands of miles of desert and African Savannah. He describes the f A profound, moving, and inspiring real life account of a refugee from the Holocaust against Black South Sudanese by Khartoum's Islamist-Arab regime, which has resulted in the deaths of literally millions, and his resettlement in the USA. John Bul Dau tells of his life in a village in South Sudan, the horrors he experienced and witnessed beginning in 1987, at the age of 14, when his village was destroyed and he fled naked across thousands of miles of desert and African Savannah. He describes the fight for survival against the guns and bombs of the Sudanese Arab marauders and against the equally deadly and ever present starvation. Arab soldiers from the north killed everyone with a Black skin, as Dau describes, whether they were soldiers of the rebel Sudan Peopl's Liberation Army (fighting for autonomy or independence of southern Sudan) or simple farmers in and their families. It is quite mind blowing that the international Left who claim to be so against racism, have never taken any notice of the plight of the people of Southern Sudan and Darfur, and have indeed tried to sweep it under the carpet, because it does not fit in to their anti-Western/anti-Israel hate agenda, and because it displays a reality which does not fit in with their propaganda of Arabs as always being the poor oppressed, persecuted "other". Atrocities by Arabs against Black Africans or Kurds or Berbers or Maronites simply is too unsettling to the propaganda of the international Left and their media and academic institutions. These people are politically incorrect and therefore not to be regarded as human, and certainly not to be put on an equal footing with the hyper-politically correct cause celebre heroes such as the Palestinians of Gaza or the terrorists interned by US forces in Abu Ghraib and Guantanmao Bay. What a fraud it is by Left Wing academics to accuse everyone else of callousness towards the 'other'. Dau demonstrates how the Islamist regime of Omar al Bashir pushed to transform Sudan into a purely Islamic state by means of brutality and genocide. Dau writers of his suffering in refugee camps, his struggle to educate himself, his culture shock in coming to America and his gratitude to his new homeland, which will also be irksome to the agenda of the anti-Western Left. He recounts the emotional reunion with his mother and siblings in the USA which bring tears to your eyes After the 911 terror attacks in New York, in September 2001, Dau addressed a letter to the President George W Bush warning that the terror which was annihilating the people of Sudan was now everywhere and urges the USA to go ahead with the fight against terror "As President you have to see far. The weak ones, who cannot see far they may cast obstacles in your way, but you must continue. I urge you to go ahead with the fight. Terrorism, religious war-it is now in Sudan and has been these 18 years of war. They are killing people in Southern Sudan. The tragedy in New York and in Washington D.C was not so strange to us, we who are from Sudan. We have been living with this for a long time. The war in Sudan is everywhere. We are people in the same situation. Osama Bin Laden has a headquarters in Sudan,. We are in the same boat and we must stick together"

  2. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    I have some really mixed opinions here. Take a quick look at the general tone of ratings and reviews on this book, and you will arrive at the unmistakable conclusion that this is a profoundly moving book. I agree wholeheartedly. The story of the Lost Boys of Sudan is powerful and tragic, and this first-person retelling of those events carries a moral weight that can't easily be denied. What fuels my mixed response is the close-mindedness that occupies the latter parts of the book. The first half I have some really mixed opinions here. Take a quick look at the general tone of ratings and reviews on this book, and you will arrive at the unmistakable conclusion that this is a profoundly moving book. I agree wholeheartedly. The story of the Lost Boys of Sudan is powerful and tragic, and this first-person retelling of those events carries a moral weight that can't easily be denied. What fuels my mixed response is the close-mindedness that occupies the latter parts of the book. The first half or so was an incredible reading experience. Before the militia attacks and subsequent march to relative safety are recounted, we are given a broad overview of the geography, climate, history and culture of the area of southern Sudan inhabited by the Dinka. From there, we plunge directly into the harrowing experience of wandering through swamp and desert in an effort to escape and survive. Some of these stories are beyond incredible, such as when the author hides in swamp water with only his nostrils above water while an enemy soldier urinates almost directly on him without ever seeing him. The reading is simply riveting, and yet you can't help but feel some despair that such widescale horrors could happen without the world standing up to take notice. As the book winds to its conclusion, though, the narrative begins to include more and more elements of pontification. Dau's view of the world is very cut and dry. There is right and wrong, and very little between. There are many cringeworthy comments about religion and gender where I was frankly surprised that National Geographic didn't bring out the editing pens. I suppose it lends an element of cultural authenticity, but my personal appreciation of the material took a steep nosedive. There ends up being too much preaching to the choir—a difficult proposition when you're not singing from the same songsheet. Overall, there is much to be admired here. The underlying story of the Lost Boys of Sudan has an immediacy that really does make this worth the read. Just be prepared for a memoir back-loaded with an awful lot of cultural baggage.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    This is the amazing journey of John Bul Dau, one of the Lost Boys of the Sudan. He, along with tens of thousands of other children (mostly boys) was dispossessed during the civil war of the mid-1980s and became a "wanderer in the desert" for the better part of 15 years -- hungry, thirsty, often fearing for his life, living each day as if it would be his last. I cannot imagine being able to survive such a life -- let alone survive it with integrity and joy. It's the "joy" of it that truly has me This is the amazing journey of John Bul Dau, one of the Lost Boys of the Sudan. He, along with tens of thousands of other children (mostly boys) was dispossessed during the civil war of the mid-1980s and became a "wanderer in the desert" for the better part of 15 years -- hungry, thirsty, often fearing for his life, living each day as if it would be his last. I cannot imagine being able to survive such a life -- let alone survive it with integrity and joy. It's the "joy" of it that truly has me in awe. A story not to be missed -- it is written with the simplicity of a child's heart, and with the wisdom of an old man's soul.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jeanne

    Americans have so much, but they insist on seeing the glass as half empty instead of half full. To extend the metaphor a bit, when I lived in Kakuma I didn't even have a glass (p. 228). John Bul Dau was chased from his home in south Sudan in 1987 and walked to and lived in refugee camps first in Ethiopia and then Kenya. In August 2001, he immigrated to the US, where he later brought his younger sister and mother. In God Grew Tired of Us, Bul Dau weaves together his observations and cultural mispe Americans have so much, but they insist on seeing the glass as half empty instead of half full. To extend the metaphor a bit, when I lived in Kakuma I didn't even have a glass (p. 228). John Bul Dau was chased from his home in south Sudan in 1987 and walked to and lived in refugee camps first in Ethiopia and then Kenya. In August 2001, he immigrated to the US, where he later brought his younger sister and mother. In God Grew Tired of Us, Bul Dau weaves together his observations and cultural misperceptions of this 20-year period with the Dinka folk tales that shaped his understanding of events, and brief comments from family and friends, especially from people who helped and supported him in the US. Some of the Lost Boys whom I knew in New York State blamed themselves for the attacks [on the World Trade Center], as if bad luck followed us from place to place. They reasoned that they had lived quietly in their villages in southern Sudan, only to have their homes attacked. They had fled to Ethiopia and lived peacefully, only to be attacked. They had fled to Ethiopia and lived peacefully, only to be attacked. Now they had come halfway around the world to find a better life than the one they left behind, only to have their new home attacked again. They thought the unluckiness of the Dinka had cursed America for taking them in. (p. 200) I remember the documentary that this book was named after as negative, with Bul Dau and other Lost Boys as being depressed, anxious, filled with survivor guilt, and angry at God (thus the title). It has probably been ten years since I watched God Grew Tired of Us and first read this book, so my memory may be inaccurate and influenced by the title. Nonetheless, despite being forced from his family and home, shot at by djellabas, swimming crocodile-infested rivers, having too little to eat, and seeing friends die (bullets, disease, and privation), Bul Dau is surprisingly hopeful in this memoir. But I felt, very strongly, the grace of God. I can take no credit for it; grace is not something anyone can earn. Rather, grace opened before me like the door, and I walked through it. I knew I had been blessed. How else could anyone explain the impossible odds I had overcome – the dangers, the miles, the despair. God had not forgotten me after all (p. 246). We each tell different stories at different times in our lives, and others tell different stories about us than we would tell. The documentary came out in 2006 and received awards at the Sundance Film Festival, while the memoir was published in 2007 and refers to the documentary and help he and his cause received subsequent to the film's release. These stories are told by different people (the filmmakers and Bul Dau), probably with somewhat different intentions in telling – the former to attract help to Sudan, the latter to emphasize the Lost Boys' resilience and survival. And, of course, I am a different reader. They call me a Lost Boy, but let me assure you, God has found me (p. 7).

  5. 4 out of 5

    Camille

    Having been friends with a 'Lost Boy' who didn't talk about his past, I enjoyed reading John's memoir because it gave me a feel for the similar events which brought my friend to Utah. I also liked his perspective on the USA as a whole. So many of us take our freedom for granted and fail to accept responsibility for our success or lack there of. Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in what is wrong and forget how many great people live here who freely give of their time, talents, and money to he Having been friends with a 'Lost Boy' who didn't talk about his past, I enjoyed reading John's memoir because it gave me a feel for the similar events which brought my friend to Utah. I also liked his perspective on the USA as a whole. So many of us take our freedom for granted and fail to accept responsibility for our success or lack there of. Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in what is wrong and forget how many great people live here who freely give of their time, talents, and money to help people they may never even meet.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin M

    After reading God Grew tired of Us by John Bul Dau, the reader comes to understand that great help can come from the most foreign of places and that a difficult childhood does not mean that a person won't succeed in life. This book was a memoir of John Bul Dau's life as a lost boy. There were not any other major characters, just a few friends he made on his journeys. He was a part of the Dinka tribe in Sudan, and when the Djellabas attacked his village in 1987, he was forced to flee from his hom After reading God Grew tired of Us by John Bul Dau, the reader comes to understand that great help can come from the most foreign of places and that a difficult childhood does not mean that a person won't succeed in life. This book was a memoir of John Bul Dau's life as a lost boy. There were not any other major characters, just a few friends he made on his journeys. He was a part of the Dinka tribe in Sudan, and when the Djellabas attacked his village in 1987, he was forced to flee from his home, leaving everything he knew behind. His village farmed for a living and lived in huts where they slept on woven mats. When his village is attacked and burned, he runs. He finds a group of others that is walking to a refugee camp in Ethiopia and joins them. On their way, they face many hardships and danger. John spends years in multiple refugee camps. He learns how to read and write, and is eventually taken to Syracuse, New York to begin a new life in America. However, his journey is not over yet. He must become acquainted to life in New york and all the modern technologies it provides. John has become very successful today; he is continuing to help his home county and has had an award-winning documentary film made about him. This book was very moving. John Bul Dau went through so much. It is impossible to imagine what it would have been like to be there. The book opens with a description of his village being attacked. John writes, "After two hours, the sounds of the attack faded. I took stock of my situation. I had just turned 13. I was naked. I carried no food or water. My village had been destroyed. I had been separated from my mother and siblings. Armed men who spoke a foreign tongue combed the forests and grasslands, and if they found me, they would most likely kill me. The only good thing I could imagine was that I might be safe for a while. It was then that I realized the man who sat beside me was not my father." This would be a terrifying situation to be in. The only thing I didn't like about this book was that the author didn't go into very much detail. Most sentences were short and there was not much written about all the refugee camps he went to. This book was similar to They Poured Fire On Us From the Sky because both were memoirs about the Lost Boys os Sudan. I liked God Grew Tired of us a bit less than the other, only because it was less detailed. What I did like about it was how he talked about adjusting to life in New York which was very interesting. I would recommend this book to a classmate because it is an important book about a civil war that doesn't always get a lot of publicity.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Eliza

    In God Grew Tired of us by John Bul Dau John wants to reconnect with his family after leaving Africa because of the wars but, it is too dangerous to turn back so, he waits until he is in the United States and has the resources to connect with his family. One way this book was very different than most was the action or the cause took place at the beginning and the rest of the book was effects. the weakness of this book was it was never interesting enough I didn't want to put it down, or at least In God Grew Tired of us by John Bul Dau John wants to reconnect with his family after leaving Africa because of the wars but, it is too dangerous to turn back so, he waits until he is in the United States and has the resources to connect with his family. One way this book was very different than most was the action or the cause took place at the beginning and the rest of the book was effects. the weakness of this book was it was never interesting enough I didn't want to put it down, or at least for a long period of time. For example, when John reached his siblings I was very interested and couldn’t put it down, two pages after this I was disappointed with their conversation and left not wanting to pick up the book again. I didn't find the author's writing style very interesting or descriptive but I think this is because he was more focused on trying to tell their story as it was, not how people may want to hear it. I also thought this book was a great message to send out. One thing I really enjoyed about this book was, it helps put you back into perspective when you see what people will go through just to get into your country.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sheila Callahan

    I had seen Christopher Quinn's wonderful documentary about the Lost Boys of Sudan and remember clearly the scenes of one group's arrival in Syracuse, NY, where volunteers took them to a grocery store for the first time, showed them how to flip a light switch, use a stove and all the other wonders that we take for granted in our modern world, so I was a little reluctant to read this memoir, thinking it would be redundant. Boy, was I wrong. John Dau's account begins the night his village was attac I had seen Christopher Quinn's wonderful documentary about the Lost Boys of Sudan and remember clearly the scenes of one group's arrival in Syracuse, NY, where volunteers took them to a grocery store for the first time, showed them how to flip a light switch, use a stove and all the other wonders that we take for granted in our modern world, so I was a little reluctant to read this memoir, thinking it would be redundant. Boy, was I wrong. John Dau's account begins the night his village was attacked and he becomes separated from his family for decades. What an amazing read and an inspiring man. And kudos to the UN, which fed and provided water for many of the boys on their long, dangerous route to safety. And God bless the people and churches of small towns and cities in America who helped give these "boys" a second chance at life. I'll never view Syracuse, for example, in quite the same way.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Roni

    This is an amazing story of one of the Lost Boys of Sudan. It is amazing that things like this are still happening. It was an eye opener for me. There is a large population of Sudanese refugees in the Denver area. A family was recently baptized into my ward that fled the Sudan and Egypt. I was the mother's visiting teacher and the girls I got to know in Young Women's. I never really talked about the pain that they had to go through to get to America, but I was glad that I was aware of what they This is an amazing story of one of the Lost Boys of Sudan. It is amazing that things like this are still happening. It was an eye opener for me. There is a large population of Sudanese refugees in the Denver area. A family was recently baptized into my ward that fled the Sudan and Egypt. I was the mother's visiting teacher and the girls I got to know in Young Women's. I never really talked about the pain that they had to go through to get to America, but I was glad that I was aware of what they had been through. God Gre Tired of Us is an autobiography of one of the boys. I really enjoyed it and plan to rent the movie version of the story.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kristine Rier

    There are so many wonderful stories and lessons to be extracted and appreciated from this memoir. The story of the tribes from the south of Sudan (now Southern Sudan), their customs, people, and political oppression; a beautiful account of the spirit and power of America's immigrants; and, an appraisal of what can be done to improve our world. I'm very happy this book was chosen as my school's community-read and look forward to infusing the author's messages in my classroom. Especially excited t There are so many wonderful stories and lessons to be extracted and appreciated from this memoir. The story of the tribes from the south of Sudan (now Southern Sudan), their customs, people, and political oppression; a beautiful account of the spirit and power of America's immigrants; and, an appraisal of what can be done to improve our world. I'm very happy this book was chosen as my school's community-read and look forward to infusing the author's messages in my classroom. Especially excited to have the author visit our school in November!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lydia

    LOVED this book. I had no idea the recent history of Sudan. So it was enlightening plus I was amazed at the John's attitude and abilities throughout. This is his autobiography of that time of his life. I am glad I bought this one as it is one I will love having on my bookshelf. LOVED this book. I had no idea the recent history of Sudan. So it was enlightening plus I was amazed at the John's attitude and abilities throughout. This is his autobiography of that time of his life. I am glad I bought this one as it is one I will love having on my bookshelf.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    An amazing story. I had the privilege of meeting him and hearing him speak- what a great spirit. Some books deserve to be read not because the authors are great writers but because the story is worth knowing. This is one of those.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Narasimhan

    Very interesting and thought provoking. Its a kind of biography of John. John is from Sudan.In his childhood at his 11th year or so,his village was bombed by Muslim militants and he ran for his life.Its all about his journey to save his life till he reached America as a refugee and established his living hood. The story would move our heart..It just shows of the contrast..When he ran for the life,he was around 11yrs..1981..ethnic warfare started spreading Sudan completely.His village was bombed and Very interesting and thought provoking. Its a kind of biography of John. John is from Sudan.In his childhood at his 11th year or so,his village was bombed by Muslim militants and he ran for his life.Its all about his journey to save his life till he reached America as a refugee and established his living hood. The story would move our heart..It just shows of the contrast..When he ran for the life,he was around 11yrs..1981..ethnic warfare started spreading Sudan completely.His village was bombed and almost for next 10yrs or more he struggled for basic living.with constant threat from militants,moving from Sudan to Kenya to stay in refugee camp..walking for miles in dry & scorching sun even without water for many days and added to it is that he was separated from his family..Started schooling in his 18th year in a refugee camp organized by U.N.It was a terrible and painful living..when compared to our lives..our schools,our enjoyment,loving family..entertainment..Many of us are very blessed.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rebekah

    This book is one of the best books I've ever read. Two summers ago, in summer school, there were a couple students who had come to the US from Sudan. One of these youngsters was having a very hard time from all she had seen and adjusting to this new home and culture. I had previously heard of the Lost Boys, but never really heard much. I started researching a little and reading about this part of the world. I rented the movie documentary of the same title, but reading John's story was even more This book is one of the best books I've ever read. Two summers ago, in summer school, there were a couple students who had come to the US from Sudan. One of these youngsters was having a very hard time from all she had seen and adjusting to this new home and culture. I had previously heard of the Lost Boys, but never really heard much. I started researching a little and reading about this part of the world. I rented the movie documentary of the same title, but reading John's story was even more inspiring and thought provoking. I am beginning to have a better understanding about this part of the world, the conflict that has been going on there and continues now in the Darfur region of Sudan, and an even better apprecation of this land I call home. John ends his book with his viewpoint about the US- its good & its bad, and his book encourages me to keep reaching out and helping others- helping families, and to never give up hope. Most of all it helps me to remember and appreciate the many blessings of being born in a country such as ours.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Candice

    An excellent book by one of the Lost Boys of Sudan. It begins when John is just 12 and his village is attacked. He is fortunate to escape with his life but spends years escaping to safe spots and survives horrendous conditions. Eventually John makes his way to the United States where he now lives and runs the John Dau Sudan Foundation to help others in Sudan. It is evident from the book that Mr. Dau loves his new country, but loves his Dinka heritage as well. He has praise for America and Americ An excellent book by one of the Lost Boys of Sudan. It begins when John is just 12 and his village is attacked. He is fortunate to escape with his life but spends years escaping to safe spots and survives horrendous conditions. Eventually John makes his way to the United States where he now lives and runs the John Dau Sudan Foundation to help others in Sudan. It is evident from the book that Mr. Dau loves his new country, but loves his Dinka heritage as well. He has praise for America and Americans. A favorite amusing part is where Mr. Dau describes his visit to the Sundance Film Festival where the film of God Grew Tired of Us was being shown. "A nice man, very sincere, shook my hand, and spoke to me. He said his name was Brad Pitt. I had not heard of him, so I asked him what he did. He said he worked as the executive producer of Christopher's documentary. Sometime later, somebody told me Brad also acted in movies." Cute :) I read this book because our Lynchburg Reads committee is considering this book for 2010. It is an inspiring read.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    John Bul Dau, a Lost Boy, has an amazing if traumatic story to tell in God Grew Tired of Us. It is also, sadly, not a unique story. We read of John's war-torn Sudanese history and how he escaped multiple times from extremist militias, found temporary safe-havens, exercised leadership, and finally acquired sanctuary in the USA. Thanks to the help of the brilliant author and journalist Mike Sweeney, I have been reminded once again about how incredibly fortunate I am to have been born into my own s John Bul Dau, a Lost Boy, has an amazing if traumatic story to tell in God Grew Tired of Us. It is also, sadly, not a unique story. We read of John's war-torn Sudanese history and how he escaped multiple times from extremist militias, found temporary safe-havens, exercised leadership, and finally acquired sanctuary in the USA. Thanks to the help of the brilliant author and journalist Mike Sweeney, I have been reminded once again about how incredibly fortunate I am to have been born into my own set of circumstances. I make it a point to read a book about contemporary Africa every few years, and this habit never ceases to pay dividends in conscientious gratitude for my life. Thanks John and Mike.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lu

    This story will break your heart and inspire you. It's unbelievable what these lost boys of Sudan go through....and the capacity for destruction and expression of love and compassion humans are capable of. I walked away from reading John's story with a resolve to think differently about my own strengths and inspired by John's forward way of thinking. His will and strength of family and culture are what I believe pulled him through his unvbelievable trauma. It is a testimony to the human spirit a This story will break your heart and inspire you. It's unbelievable what these lost boys of Sudan go through....and the capacity for destruction and expression of love and compassion humans are capable of. I walked away from reading John's story with a resolve to think differently about my own strengths and inspired by John's forward way of thinking. His will and strength of family and culture are what I believe pulled him through his unvbelievable trauma. It is a testimony to the human spirit and the fact that we humans need each other.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Joanne

    This is an excellently written autobiography of John Bul Dau, one of the Lost Boys of Sudan. His experiences as a refugee, his struggles in America, and his eventual triumphs make for an riveting story. I have used this book, and the Movie based on this book in my classroom as part of a unit on the Lost Boys. My students are riveted and really develop a desire to take action and to try and help other refugees after learning about John Bul Dau and the other Lost Boys.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany

    An excellent read about the lost boys of Sudan. I was skeptical at first, but really enjoyed the story as well as learning about another culture. I learned that hard things are still happening all over the world today, even though most of the time I am oblivious to a lot of it.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    The story of one of the Lost Boys of Sudan- heartbreaking and inspirational- John Bul Dau's story has impacted me in many ways. I appreciated the opinion of the US from an outsider, and how different our culture is from how he grew up. I think everyone should read this book. The story of one of the Lost Boys of Sudan- heartbreaking and inspirational- John Bul Dau's story has impacted me in many ways. I appreciated the opinion of the US from an outsider, and how different our culture is from how he grew up. I think everyone should read this book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Winter Sophia Rose

    Heartbreaking, Life Changing, Inspiring, Uplifting, Fascinating, Touching Eye Opener! An Outstanding, Powerful Read! I Loved It!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tom Carrico

    God Grew Tired of Us By John Bul Dau with Michael S. Sweeney (Note: John Bul Dau’s God Grew Tired of Us has been selected by the Lynchburg Public Library for 2010’s “Lynchburg Reads” program. There will be book discussions and other public programs offered this spring and Mr. Dau will speak at Randolph College on April 21 at 8:00 P.M. Mr. Dau’s appearance is being funded by The Friends of the Lynchburg Public Library, The Holocaust Education Foundation of Central Virginia and Randolph College.) “I God Grew Tired of Us By John Bul Dau with Michael S. Sweeney (Note: John Bul Dau’s God Grew Tired of Us has been selected by the Lynchburg Public Library for 2010’s “Lynchburg Reads” program. There will be book discussions and other public programs offered this spring and Mr. Dau will speak at Randolph College on April 21 at 8:00 P.M. Mr. Dau’s appearance is being funded by The Friends of the Lynchburg Public Library, The Holocaust Education Foundation of Central Virginia and Randolph College.) “In the 19 years since that August night, as one of the “lost boys” of Sudan, I have witnessed my share of death and despair. I have seen the hyenas come at dusk to feed on the bodies of my friends. I have been so hungry and thirsty in the dusty plains of Africa that I consumed things I would rather forget. I have crossed a crocodile-infested river while being shelled and shot at. I have walked until I thought I could walk no more. I have wondered, more times than I can count, if my friends or I would live to see a new day. Those were the times I thought God had forgotten us.” - John Bul Dau Reading John Bul Dau’s memoir is a truly humbling experience. It is hard to imagine that while we in America are bickering over trivialities and entranced by irrelevancies we can be oblivious to the fact that people on the opposite side of the globe are locked in a daily struggle with death. God Grew Tired of Us has six relatively long chapters. The first tells of the geography and history of Sudan, a country which has lived with violence for centuries. The Southern Sudan is Christian and is where John Bul Dau’s story begins. John was born in 1974 during a time of peace between the South and the Muslim controlled North. The climate, culture and customs of the Dinka tribe come to life as John recounts his childhood. His father was a respected elder and acted as a judge when conflicts arose in the village of Duk Payuel. All families owned cows and cattle even served as currency. “To the Dinka, cows meant life” writes John Dau. Things changed dramatically for John at age 13 when hostilities are renewed between the North and South. The Dinka, isolated by geography and primitive in their culture are caught between warring troops. Dau notes: “But my family, like most in Duk Payuel, tried to stay out of the fighting. We were farmers. We raised cattle. What did we now of politics and war?” The second chapter is a jaw-dropping account of John’s escape from Northern troops who assaulted Duk Payuel. In the chaos of a middle of the night attack John follows a man he thinks is his father. Running from the troops and their automatic assault rifles the two hide in a nearby forest and then run for their lives. It is not until daybreak that John realizes he is with another man from the village named Abraham and assumes that the rest of his family was killed. John and Abraham travel on foot to the east and settle in a refugee camp in Pinyudu, Ethiopia. They encounter hostilities from the army as well as from neighboring tribes. It is during this arduous walk that John questions God: “God and I had many a conversation. I did most of the talking. I got mad at God for all of the injustices in my life. ‘In the church in my village, they say God is always with you,’ I told him. ‘If I am here, on the verge of dying, where are you? And why are you letting the Muslims defeat us? Is their God stronger than you? Please, God, I am naked and the cold at night is very bad. And I need something to eat.’” Life settles into a daily routine of sorts in the refugee camp. Food, water and clothing are provided by international relief agencies. It is in this refugee camp that John shows his first leadership abilities. He is placed in charge of 1200 other “lost boys” and tends to their needs. Chapter three recounts another harrowing experience for John and the other Sudanese refugees. In 1991, under political pressure from Sudan, the Ethiopian army attacks the refugee camp at Pinyudu and drives all of its inhabitants across the Gilo River back into Sudan. John, Abraham and other survivors are forced into another harrowing journey, to the south this time. They attempt to stay ahead of the advancing Sudanese troops. John reflects on this experience: “Like most survivors of that day, I still have bad dreams about the Gilo River. And I wonder still, what does war do to people to make them shoot children? Do those Ethiopian soldiers ever get nightmares?” By the fourth chapter, John has resettled in yet another refugee camp in Kakuma, Kenya. John describes this portion of his exodus: “We formed something like a Dinka village in the midst of poverty and hunger on the high plains of Kenya.” He vows that education will be his “new father and mother”. He attends classes in the camp and becomes one of the few to earn a certificate equivalent to a Kenyan high school diploma. It is this thirst for education, as well as his lack of any known living kin, which brings him to the attention the Church World Services which is working with the United States government to help some of the “lost boys of Sudan” immigrate to the United States. John and two others from the Kenyan refugee camp arrive in Syracuse, New York in August, 2001. They are helped with initial expenses and living accommodations by the World Church Services and local church congregations. Chapters five has some very poignant moments which John relates, including the “lost boys” first trip to a grocery store. He states that he never imagined so much food accumulated in one place. John accepts many menial jobs and begins classes at a community college. Shortly after their arrival, America suffers the 9/11 attacks. John was worried that because Northern Sudan had harbored Osama bin Laden during the 1990s that Americans would retaliate against all Sudanese. “I wanted to tell them that I didn’t support the Khartoum government that had given sanctuary to the madman.” Further, he states: “Some of the Lost Boys whom I knew in New York State blamed themselves for the attack, as if bad luck followed us from place to place.” John moves on to Syracuse University where he earned a degree in Public Policy. He becomes a leader of the Sudanese in America and lays the ground work for a foundation to help other Sudanese further their education. He has also raised the funds to build a health clinic in his original village of Duk Payuel. Chapter six relates John’s marriage to another Sudanese refugee who he had met in Kenya and the totally improbable reunion of John and most of his family. It turns out that when John followed Abraham to the east, the rest of his family was fleeing to the south. After much diplomatic discussion, John is joined in Syracuse by his mother and a younger sister. John reunites a year later with his father and brothers on a trip back to Sudan to select the site for the new clinic. It is built on some of his father’s land. This is truly a remarkable memoir. This man tells a story of unimaginable horror. The mere fact of his survival is dramatic enough, but the resilience this man shows is beyond belief. A reporter asked John what he felt when he saw his mother get off the plane in New York. He gave a long reply, but in this book he adds: “I did not say so at the time, but I felt one more thing above all others. It was a private thing, so I did not share it. But I felt, very strongly, the grace of God. I can take no credit for it; grace is not something anyone can earn. Rather, grace opened before me like the door, and I walked through it. I knew I had been blessed. How else could anyone explain the impossible odds I had overcome – the dangers, the miles, the despair. God had not forgotten me after all.” Filmmaker Christopher Quinn has created a documentary about “The Lost Boys of Sudan” with the same title as this book. It is narrated by Nicole Kidman and won the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. It is the fourth documentary in the 25 year history of the festival to win the top award from both critics and public. It is an engrossing movie, putting faces and visuals to this unbelievable story. The film tends to focus more on the adaptation of the Sudanese to American culture and life. Several different “Lost Boys” are followed and John Bul Dau’s individual story gets a bit lost in the film. The book made more of an impact on me than the movie for mainly that reason. Both are powerful and I congratulate whoever made this choice for 2010’s “Lynchburg Reads”.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Emmy Bylsma

    God Grew Tired of Us is a very descriptive book and it feels as though you are actively seeing events through John's eyes. The detail makes a great impact on the book as a whole because you than understand the severity of the poverty and war that John and all the Lost Boys experience. It is heartwarming to read about the organizations and caring individuals who offer their time and donations to the refugees. This book is very informal and you can learn about the effects of globalization between God Grew Tired of Us is a very descriptive book and it feels as though you are actively seeing events through John's eyes. The detail makes a great impact on the book as a whole because you than understand the severity of the poverty and war that John and all the Lost Boys experience. It is heartwarming to read about the organizations and caring individuals who offer their time and donations to the refugees. This book is very informal and you can learn about the effects of globalization between developed and less developed countries. John's story is also a reminder that you should be thankful for what you have. This book also can give someone sparks of hope. Many of the Lost boys' journey through life continued due to the fact of John's selflessness and determination to proceed through any conflict thrown at him. He had learned to survive, which gave him the knowledge to protect and help other boys. John also had good leadership skills, which resulted in the building of the health clinic in his old village.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tove R.

    Written by one of the lost boys of Sudan. John comes from a village in South Sudan and he has to run away when northerners attack. His story is filled with hardship and pain. It is also a story of overcoming many things in life against all odds. Starting school for the first time at the age 18 in a foreign country is not what most of us are used to. Easy and short read. Thumbs up! Worth a read!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Meghan Watson

    Pages: 304 Summary: The book, God Grew Tired of Us, is focused on the perspective of a young Dinka boy named John Bu Dau living in Sudan. It is a true story that takes place in the 1980s during the Sudan Civil War. John and his Dinka village were forced to leave by the Arabs one night, and his journey continued from there. Leaving all of his belongings and family, he didn't know where to go or what to do. John and some other people from his village make the treacherous journey to Ethiopia, where Pages: 304 Summary: The book, God Grew Tired of Us, is focused on the perspective of a young Dinka boy named John Bu Dau living in Sudan. It is a true story that takes place in the 1980s during the Sudan Civil War. John and his Dinka village were forced to leave by the Arabs one night, and his journey continued from there. Leaving all of his belongings and family, he didn't know where to go or what to do. John and some other people from his village make the treacherous journey to Ethiopia, where they stay in a refugee camp with thousands of others from many different tribes. When things started to calm down, the Ethiopian government forced the refugees out of the country. "The Lost Boys" walked day after day, many miles with little shelter, clothing, and water. After over a thousand of walking, they reached Kakuma, Kenya, a refugee camp provided by the UN. Here there were schools. John and his friends studied very hard to pass all the way through high school. John was one of the few that got accepted to go to America and live his life there. It was a new experience for him, but his academic work had paid off and got him a brighter future. He was located in Syracuse, New York, along with some of his friends. There, he learned the basics of everyday life in America, attended college, and got a job. It was a big transition for him and his friends, as they missed their country and family. This inspiring story shows great strength and determination, that will leave you wanting to read more. Explanation: I found this book to be very inspiring, especially because the author is telling his story. It gives a perspective on the book because he speaks from actual experience. The emotion is shown through the writing and at some points in the book, you can picture very clearly what John is describing. I gave this book five stars because the story touched me and was very well written. This book also taught me a lot about how the Sudan Civil War affected peoples lives and the process that these refugees had to go through. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants an influential and educative read.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Marcy prager

    I heard about this book from NPR. It is the story of John Bul Dau, a lost boy from Sudan. Interwined is the history of the wars between the north and south of Sudan to provide a comprehensive understanding as to what takes place within the story. Also included are the quotes from the "friends" of John Bul Dau, both Duk Payuel, his childhood home in Sudan, in the surrounding countries where the lost boys stayed for periods of time, and in America, where John Bul Dau presently lives and prospers. I heard about this book from NPR. It is the story of John Bul Dau, a lost boy from Sudan. Interwined is the history of the wars between the north and south of Sudan to provide a comprehensive understanding as to what takes place within the story. Also included are the quotes from the "friends" of John Bul Dau, both Duk Payuel, his childhood home in Sudan, in the surrounding countries where the lost boys stayed for periods of time, and in America, where John Bul Dau presently lives and prospers. John Bul Dau shows his leadership from the start. He is a caretaker and proactively lives the "honorable" ways of the Dinka while adjusts to the American way of life. His words of wisdom throughout the story resound for all. "What a crazy world - each country in revolt, pushing its rebels to seek sanctuary in a neighboring country that was in turn dealing with its own problems." "It's funny. Many outsiders looked at the refugees in Kakuma and took pity on us for how little we had. Others, including some of the Turkana, looked at us with jealousy for how much we had. The United Nations provided us with palm branches to thatch our huts and firewood to cook our dinner, as well as food rations." In America: "I did not say so at the time, but I felt one more thing above all others. It was a private thing, so I did not share it. But I felt, very strongly, the grace of God. I can take no credit for it; grace is not something anyone can earn. Rather, grace opened before me like the door, and I walked through it. I knew I had been blessed. How else could anyone explain the impossible odds I had overcome- the dangers, the miles, the despair. God had not forgotten me after all." John has headed up American foundations to help his Sudanese breathren. He is heading up a fundraiser to build a clinic in his Sudanese boyhood village.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Davis Aujourd'hui

    This is an amazing tale of the lost boys of Sudan told by a remarkable survivor of the carnage that swept through his homeland. It is a story of the strength of the human spirit. It is truly inspirational. As the author of a spiritually-themed novel, I am always on the outlook for books that provide food for my soul. This one certainly did it for me! It is an amazing journey of a thirteen year-old boy who loses his family when he has to escape from the ravages of civil war. Following that he ends This is an amazing tale of the lost boys of Sudan told by a remarkable survivor of the carnage that swept through his homeland. It is a story of the strength of the human spirit. It is truly inspirational. As the author of a spiritually-themed novel, I am always on the outlook for books that provide food for my soul. This one certainly did it for me! It is an amazing journey of a thirteen year-old boy who loses his family when he has to escape from the ravages of civil war. Following that he ends up having to make a pilgrimage to safety, traveling thousands of miles on foot. Along with the thousands of other lost boys, he faces the most amazing obstacles to survival. At times, he has to eat dirt in order to fill his empty belly. Yet he cannot turn back. Every male boy in Sudan will be killed if he and the other boys don't escape. In spite of the harrowing odds of survival, the boys never lose hope. They finally reach a refugee camp where their most basic needs can be met. The lucky few, including the author, finally get the chance to come to America. That becomes another story of endurance, as he has to face the challenges of learning a new culture as well as getting a new job and education. All the while, he wonders what had become of his family. After painstaking attempts to find them, he finally discovers that most of them are still alive. The emotional pinnacle of the book is when he is reunited with them. I happened to see the movie before I bought the book. I would highly recommend that to anyone. It was one of the most moving films I have ever seen. Both the movie and this book are powerful. They pulled on my heartstrings and they woke me up to a plight of which I was unaware. More importantly, they touched my soul. Davis Aujourd'hui, author of "The Misadventures of Sister Mary Olga Fortitude"

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rock Angel

    this review pertain to the movie (documentary) by the same name. The movie got a 4.5 star rating. If I go along with that, then the book "What's the What" (another Sudanese autobio) should get about 40 stars. To be fair, "God" focused on the Sudanese boys' American life, spending only about 10-15 min on their Sudanese history, whereas "What" spent >3/4 on Valentino Achak Deng's Sudanese days; and that the latter book is almost twice as long as the first. Still, for a documentary, "God" advocated i this review pertain to the movie (documentary) by the same name. The movie got a 4.5 star rating. If I go along with that, then the book "What's the What" (another Sudanese autobio) should get about 40 stars. To be fair, "God" focused on the Sudanese boys' American life, spending only about 10-15 min on their Sudanese history, whereas "What" spent >3/4 on Valentino Achak Deng's Sudanese days; and that the latter book is almost twice as long as the first. Still, for a documentary, "God" advocated its cause without providing quantifying stats such as %employment, %education, or %psychiatric need for these Sudanese expats. I'm asking to underscore the importance of the situation, and not to undermine it of course. Overall, it gave a visual for the story that I already knew but not much more. It stuck me how tall they are of course, having read their stories as 5-10 year olds :) and the movie is showing them as towering twenty-somethings. I'm genuinely sorry about the racism they faced in their adopted country.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Rachel N

    Remarkable story. It's hard to give a star rating to such a heart wrenching story. I feel like it forces me to rate the quality of writing as though it was meant for my entertainment. But such a book is not "entertaining." It's a story that must be told and must be heard. In the West, we have NO IDEA of the hardships suffered in war-torn countries like the Sudan. No Idea. With that said, I would have to give God Grew Tired of Us a 3 for quality of writing, but the story itself - John Bul Dau's a Remarkable story. It's hard to give a star rating to such a heart wrenching story. I feel like it forces me to rate the quality of writing as though it was meant for my entertainment. But such a book is not "entertaining." It's a story that must be told and must be heard. In the West, we have NO IDEA of the hardships suffered in war-torn countries like the Sudan. No Idea. With that said, I would have to give God Grew Tired of Us a 3 for quality of writing, but the story itself - John Bul Dau's amazing resilience and ability to maintain a forward-thinking persepective after living through the most horrific of events - gets 5 stars. His story gives us hope that even the most tragic of circumstances, while they shape us, they don't have to define us. John Bul Dau is a remarkable man. I love the last line of his acknowledgements: God, who has blessed me so many times, has outdone himself.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    I must say a tear came to my eye more than once as i read this book. Quite amazing what some people must endure for freedom. Not to mention the staggering power of human will. What i appreciated most of all about this book came at the end. I really appreciated Dau's perspective on America-- our strengths and weaknesses, where we have gone astray, and the results. I won't go into specifics-- its better as an end to the book... Overall, i thought this read was very thought-provoking. Quite saddenin I must say a tear came to my eye more than once as i read this book. Quite amazing what some people must endure for freedom. Not to mention the staggering power of human will. What i appreciated most of all about this book came at the end. I really appreciated Dau's perspective on America-- our strengths and weaknesses, where we have gone astray, and the results. I won't go into specifics-- its better as an end to the book... Overall, i thought this read was very thought-provoking. Quite saddening at times, but punctuated with sweet funny moments. I enjoyed Dau's descriptions of all they had to learn in preparation to move to America. We have heard a quite bit about the lost boys. I would like to read a memoir from one of the very few lost girls (most girls had no chance to flee because they were killed or kidnapped). anyone know of one?

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