Cover image for Escape from slavery : the true story of my ten years in captivity--and my journey to freedom in America
Title:
Escape from slavery : the true story of my ten years in captivity--and my journey to freedom in America
Author:
Bok, Francis.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, [2003]

©2003
Physical Description:
284 pages : illustrations, map ; 22 cm
Language:
English
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 6.4 13.0 79665.
Personal Subject:
Geographic Term:
Added Author:
ISBN:
9780312306236
Format :
Book

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E184.S77 B65 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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E184.S77 B65 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Biography
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Summary

Summary

In this groundbreaking modern slave narrative, Francis Bok shares his remarkable story with grace, honesty, and a wisdom gained from surviving ten years in captivity.

May, 1986: Selling his mother's eggs and peanuts near his village in southern Sudan, seven year old Francis Bok's life was shattered when Arab raiders on horseback, armed with rifles and long knives, burst into the quiet marketplace, murdering men and women and gathering the young children into a group. Strapped to horses and donkeys, Francis and others were taken north, into lives of slavery under wealthy Muslim farmers.

For ten years, Francis lived alone in a shed near the goats and cattle that were his responsibility. Fed with scraps from the table, slowly learning bits of an unfamiliar language and religion, the boy had almost no human contact other than his captor's family. After two failed attempts to escape-each bringing severe beatings and death threats-Francis finally escaped at age seventeen, a dramatic breakaway on foot that was his final chance. Yet his slavery did not end there, for even as hemade his way toward the capital city of Khartoum, others sought to deprive him of his freedom. Determined to avoid that fate and discover what had happened to his family on that terrible day in 1986, the teenager persevered through prison and refugee camps for three more years, winning the attention of United Nations officials and being granted passage to America.

Now a student and an anti-slavery activist, Francis Bok has made it his life mission to combat world slavery. His is the first voice to speak for an estimated twenty seven million people held against their will in nearly every nation, including our own. Escape from Slavery is at once a riveting adventure, a story of desperation and triumph, and a window revealing a world that few have survived to tell.


Author Notes

Francis Bok is twenty-three-years old and an Associate at the Boston-based American Anti-Slavery Group (AASG). In 2000, he became the first escaped slave to testify before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in hearings on Sudan. He speaks throughout the United States, has been featured in The Boston Globe, The Christian Science Monitor, The Wall Street Journal, Essence magazine, and on Black Entertainment Television , and he recently met with President George Bush at the White House. He lives in Boston.

Edward Tivnan has collaborated on and is the author of several books. He was a reporter and staff writer for Time Magazine and helped create ABC's 20/20. He lives in New York.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

As a seven-year-old boy growing up in the southern Sudan, Bok was caught up in a raid on a regional market center when marauders from the north set upon the market, killing the men and kidnapping the women and children to work as farm slaves. He went from a loving and supportive extended family to the brutality of slavery in a strange land and culture, dominated by Muslims who considered him a Christian infidel. After enduring 10 years of slavery, Bok escaped to freedom in Cairo, where he became a U.N. refugee, eventually making his way to the U.S. at the age of 21. Having learned Arabic in Northern Sudan and English in America, Bok, with incredible determination, became involved in the antislavery movement, speaking around the country while seeking to earn a high-school degree. Yet it is his simple account of being a child cut off from his family and culture that shows the inhumanity of slavery. Bok's saga provides another--more contemporary--perspective on slavery for Americans reckoning with their own troubling history of such inhumanity. --Vernon Ford Copyright 2003 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Seven-year-old Francis Piol Bol Buk was living happily on his family's southern Sudan farm. One day in 1986, he was sent on errands to the marketplace. There, a slave raid ripped him from his contented life and threw him into a wretched existence serving under a northern Sudanese Arab. After he escaped at age 17, Buk made his way to Cairo with a black market passport incorrectly listing his name as Bok and became a U.N. refugee allowed to settle in the U.S. in 1999. Although he found contentment in Iowa among other refugees, the following year Bok decided to work with an American antislavery organization, and testified before Congress about the atrocities in Sudan. While this is a remarkable story, its power is conveyed most effectively through Bok's simple retelling. His sincerity compels, especially when he describes the decade of mistreatment he endured. After two failed escape attempts, he's told he'll be killed in the morning, and while bound, he thinks of the morning ahead: "I would be dead and finally through with this place and this family. My mind preferred death." Yet when his master changes his mind, Bok immediately starts plotting again. For all his emotional strength, though, Bok remains humble. He thanks God and everyone who helps him escape slavery. This is a powerful, exceptionally well-told story, equally riveting and heartbreaking. Although legal strides have been made, with the help of people like Bok, the persistence of slavery in the world makes this a work that can't be ignored. Maps, photos not seen by PW. Agent, Jim Levine. (Oct.) Forecast: An author tour, a print advertising campaign, and broadcast and print publicity should stoke interest in this important book. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Bok, abducted from his African village at age seven, became the first escaped slave to testify before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. With a ten-city author tour. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.