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Lost Boys of Sudan

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Product Description

An American Story of the Refugee Experience

In 2000 the United States began accepting 3,800 refugees from one of Africa's longest civil wars.

They were just some of the thousands of young men, known as "Lost Boys," who had been orphaned or otherwise separated from their families in the chaos of a brutal conflict that has ravaged Sudan since 1983. The Lost Boys of Sudan focuses on four of these refugees.

Theirs, however, is a typical story, one that repeated itself wherever the Lost Boys could be found across America. Jacob Magot, Peter Anyang, Daniel Khoch, and Marko Ayii were among 150 or so Lost Boys who were resettled in Atlanta. Like most of their fellow refugees, they had never before turned on a light switch, used a kitchen appliance, or ridden in a car or subway train-much less held a job or balanced a checkbook.

We relive their early excitement and disorientation, their growing despondency over fruitless job searches, adjustments they faced upon finally entering the workforce, their experiences of post-9/11 xenophobia, and their undying dreams of acquiring an education.

As we immerse ourselves in the Lost Boys' daily lives, we also get to know the social services professionals and volunteers, celebrities, community leaders, and others who guided them-with occasional detours-toward self-sufficiency.

Along the way author Mark Bixler looks closely at the ins and outs of U.S. refugee policy, the politics of international aid, the history of Sudan, and the radical Islamist underpinnings of its government. America is home to more foreign-born residents than ever before; the Lost Boys have repaid that gift in full through their example of unflagging resolve, hope, and faith.

Dimensions: 9.0" L x 6.08" W
Details: Paperback, 261 pages
Author: Mark Bixler


In 2001, four young men, having fled the Sudanese civil war that has raged for more than 20 years, left East African refugee camps to begin a new life in the modern sprawl of Atlanta. Bixler, a reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, covered their emigration for the paper, and here recounts their extraordinary stories.

Thousands of young men, displaced by the war and separated from their families, have come to be called the "Lost Boys" of Sudan after Peter Pan's orphans. Selected by the State Department for resettlement in the U.S., Jacob, Peter, Daniel and Marko had not seen a light switch before their arrival.

Bixler chronicles their earnest attempts at cultural orientation and their intimate relationships with volunteers who donated time and money. While lively and even entertaining, the book does not simply tug heartstrings with touching anecdotes. A recurring theme is the ©migr©s' intense struggle for a basic education; they and other refugees "could not understand why the government seemed to have brought them without a plan for their education."

The book does not ignore the pitfalls and politics of refugee resettlement, which are especially complicated since 9/11, but Bixler's perspective is optimistic. He also provides essential background, including a crash course on U.S. refugee policy and a short history of Sudan.
—Publishers Weekly

In 2000, in a historically unprecedented gesture, the federal government resettled 3,800 young men unaccompanied by parents and with no family in the U.S. when it opened its doors to those who were called the Lost Boys of Sudan. Uprooted by the civil war that had ravaged Sudan, the boys were forced to wander, dodging bullets and wild animals.

Jacob Magot, Peter Anyang, Daniel Khoch, and Marko Ayii were among 150 youth who were eventually resettled in Atlanta. Bixler, a reporter with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, follows the progress of the four young men as they adjust to life in modern America, learning to use kitchen appliances, take public transportation, and look for work.

Bixler chronicles their struggles to overcome loneliness and to come to terms with the brutality of their past, as well as their frustrations with job hunting and the growing suspicion of foreigners post-9/11. Assisted by myriad volunteers and social-service providers, the four realize their dreams of education and make lives for themselves. An inspiring story of determination and faith.

About Mark Bixler

Mark Bixler is a journalist in Atlanta, Georgia, and author of The Lost Boys of Sudan: An American Story of the Refugee Experience. An editor at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Mark is among a team of reporters and editors who were named as finalists in breaking news for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize. He also has been honored by the American Society of Newspaper Editors, the North Carolina Press Association and the Georgia Associated Press Association.

The Lost Boys of Sudan chronicles four war refugees from southern Sudan for their first few years in the United States. It has received positive reviews from The Washington Post and The New York Review of Books. Former President Jimmy Carter calls the story "heartbreaking and inspiring." In conjunction with the book's publication, Bixler founded a charitable fund that has raised about $20,000 to help Sudanese refugees pay for an education.

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