About What Is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng

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Title What Is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng
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What Is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng is a 2006 novel written by Dave Eggers. It is based on the real life story of Valentino Achak Deng, a Sudanese refugee and member of the Lost Boys of Sudan program. As a boy, Achak is separated from his family during the Second Sudanese Civil War when the Arab militia, referred to as murahaleen (which is Arabic for traveller), wipes out his Dinka village, Marial Bai. He flees on foot with a group of other young boys, (the "Lost Boys"), encountering great danger and terrible hardship along the way to a refugee camp in Ethiopia. Their inflated expectations are shattered by the conditions at the camp, and eventually they are forced to flee to another refugee camp in Kakuma, after the Ethiopian dictator is overthrown and soldiers open fire on them. They make it to Kenya and finally, years later, he moves to the United States. The story is told in parallel to subsequent hardships in the United States. In the preface to the novel,...
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