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Reviewed by Kimberlee J Benart for Readers' Favorite
Days of Refugee: One of the World’s Known Lost Boys of Sudan is a riveting and inspirational autobiography by Nathaniel Chol Nyok, a Dinka “Lost Boy” survivor of the Second Sudanese Civil War (1987–2005). At the age of eight, Nyok fled war-torn South Sudan after Dinka villages and cattle camps were destroyed and any captured villagers killed, raped, or enslaved. Separated from his family and not knowing if they were alive, he joined other survivors in a grueling forty-five-day trek to Ethiopia, walking through scorching deserts and predator-filled jungles with little to sustain them. Spending the next fourteen years in refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya, Nyok’s life took a dramatic turn in 2001 as he became one of the 4,000 “Lost Boys” admitted to the United States.
If you enjoy a good autobiography that is action-filled and fast-moving, Days of Refugee is for you. I couldn’t put it down. Nyok tells an utterly compelling story, one of tragedy and triumph, of inconsolable loss and amazing endurance, of inhuman violence and humanity at its best. In a flowing and descriptive narrative, he speaks with pride, with resilience, with fortitude, with gratitude, and with faith. I cringed as he was surrounded by death and starvation. I was relieved when he found friendship and family. I was touched by his tender courtship. I was disappointed when he met prejudice. And I cheered him on as he pursued an education and a commitment to help others. In the foreword by US Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia, we read: “Nathaniel Nyok’s story is as touching as it is incredible. His honest prose is true to his background, his character and his experiences… I hope readers of this amazing personal journey will be moved to join Nathaniel in opening his arms wider to help others even more.” Highly recommended.