COURAGEOUS JOURNEY, Walking the Lost Boys’ Path from the Sudan to America by Ayuel Leek Deng, Beny Ngor Chol and Barbara Youree (New Horizon Press, 2008. Hardback, 330 pages)

Ayuel Leek Deng

This narrative non-fiction book is set in the context of the civil war in Sudan, which ended in 2005. Ayuel and Beny tell of their experiences fleeing their burned villages and making their exodus along with thousands of other children.

They walked for months across barren land, menaced by starvation, disease, wild animals, and shrapnel from helicopter fire. The story follows the evolution of their

Beny Ngor Chol

thinking from revenge to peaceful solutions as they spend fourteen years in  refugee camps. The Arab Islamic government of Sudan wished to impose their strict sharia laws on the black Christian and Animist south and claim the newly discovered oil reserves.

News coverage has been sketchy of this conflict—which preceded the present Darfur crisis. During a 21-year period, the war took the lives of over 2.5 million southern Sudanese. Four million more were tortured, displaced or    sold into slavery.

The two heroes of the story have both recently graduated from U. S. colleges. Along with 3 other Sudanese young men, Ayuel and Beny have set up the non-profit Lost Boys Face Foundation to help others, both in America and Sudan.

This human-interest story coupled with the timeliness of many issues facing the world today—terrorism by radical Islamic groups, ethnic hatred, religious conflict, control of limited oil reserves, immigration problems, and reference to the 9/11 attack on the United States make this a fascinating read.

Barbara Youree

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Check out Ayuel’s and Beny’s Lost Boys Face Foundation on this site.

Go to Schedule an Event/Calendar
Learn about programs and book signings where you can meet the authors and ask them questions Or schedule any of them to speak at schools, churches, libraries, and other venues.

* * *

Courageous Journey has been named a finalist in The National Best Books 2008 Awards in the category of Current Events: Political/Social.


Former U. S. President Jimmy Carter and Nobel Peace Prize winner endorsed the book saying: “Ayuel Leek Deng and Beny Ngor Chol face incredible obstacles in this story of courage and unrelenting determination.

Courageous Journey makes a powerful statement about the effects of today’s most threatening issues—terrorism, religious conflict and ethnic hatred—on the most vulnerable among us.”

Armcharir Interviews: “These stories will walk across your many emotions.”

Library Journal: “[It is] filled with action, suspense, and even romance. . . . This would make a good reading-group selection. Recommended for academic and public libraries.”

United Press International president, Nicholas Chiaia: ” Deng, Chol, and Youree inspire and motivate action. . . . I cannot stay still because I must help give voice to news and information that really matter. I hope to meet all three authors someday soon.”

Morning News reporter, Bettina Lehovec: “I’m deeply moved by Courageous Journey. It was indeed that. The book is very well written and very engaging. Youree did her research — that’s clear by the detail of memory she was able to elicit from the young men she interviewed. She presents it all in a readable, story-like format. Great book, great topic. Very thought provoking”.

Booklist: “. . . The teens at the center of this major international news story will grab YAs.”

M. H. Collins, prize-winning author and historian: “Ayuel Leek Deng and Beny Ngor Chol tell their individual stories of despair and hope through master storyteller, Barbara Youree. A must read, this book sends a timely message to the world about the plight of Sudanese people.” (Rogers AR)

Reader Deann Thompson: “Awesome book. I have never read a factual account that I enjoyed more.” (Dallas, TX)

Reader Anne Worth: “I work with ‘lost girls’ here in Dallas, Texas and think your book is the very best thing I have read and I think I have read everything about the lost boys.” (Dallas, TX)

THE MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW: “The violence of Africa, despite being under reported in American news, is all too real. Courageous Journey is . . . [about] two young men’s unwillingness to give up. Ayuel Leek Deng and Beny Ngor Chol have been through many things .  . . that many Americans never hope to encounter.  The violence over race, oil, money, all occurs as these two try to live their lives. A true story, Courageous Journey is eye opening and thought provoking, a telling that really matters.”

Reader Gina Moreno: “Be prepared to laugh, shed tears and renew your faith upon reading this book. You will truly be touched.” (Kansas City, MO)

Reader Ramash Gandi: “I just finished reading your book “Courageous Journey”. I sincerely want to congratulate you, Beny Chol and Ayuel Deng for sharing their experiences, lives and emotions in a wonderful, moving way.” (Detroit, MI)  

Reader Mary-Lane Kamberg: “After reading about 100 pages, I just couldn’t fathom how a 7 or 9 year old child can go through such violence, torture and anguish, and yet survive and flourish. My hats off to Beny, Ayuel and all the Sudanese boys and girls (adults by now !!) for their courage, faith and be exemplary citizens of US.” (Olathe, KS)



  1. mhcollins says:

    “Courageous Journey tells the tale of thousands of young children cruelly separated from their families in Sudan’s civil war, facing the horrors of starvation, attacked by savage beasts
    and savage peoople. Ayuel Leek Deng and Beny Ngor Chol tell their individual stories of despair and hope through master storyteller, Barbara Youree. A must read, this book sends a timely message to the world about the plight of Sudanese people.” –M.H. Collins, author and historian

  2. Pingback: Courageous Journey, Walking the Lost Boys Path from the Sudan to America | Barbara Youree

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