2010-04-01

Book of the Month - What is the What?

Share

This month's book selection came from the one and only Matt Wood of Into the Woods fame. After mentioning that I wasn't sure what to read next, Matt described "What is the What" as "One of the best books I've read."  He also mentioned that it was written by Dave Eggers, so naturally I was intrigued.

And you know what? This book did not disappoint... at all.
Rather than try to woo you into buying the book however, let me simply state that every penny made from “What Is the What” is channeled to a new foundation dedicated to building and funding a high school in Valentino's hometown in Sudan. A school which began operating late last year.

In case you still aren't convinced, who better to hear from than the story's central character, Valentino Achak Deng. Here he is in the preface to the book, taken from The Valentino Achak Deng Foundation's website.

Enjoy!


(Click Here to Buy the Book)



Preface to the book
By Valentino Achak Deng
 
What Is the What is the soulful account of my life: from the time I was separated from my family in Marial Bai to the thirteen years I spent in Ethiopian and Kenyan refugee camps, to my encounter with vibrant Western cultures beginning in Atlanta, to the generosity and the challenges that I encountered elsewhere.

As you read this book, you will learn about me and my beloved people of Sudan. I was just a young boy when the twenty-two-year civil war began that pitted Sudan’s government against the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army. As a helpless human, I survived by trekking across many punishing landscapes while being bombed by Sudanese air forces, while dodging land mines, while being preyed upon by wild beasts and human killers. I fed on unknown fruits, vegetables, leaves and sometimes went with nothing for days. At many points, the difficulty was unbearable. I thought the whole world had turned blind eyes on the fate that was befalling me and the people of southern Sudan. Many of my friends, and thousands of my fellow countrymen, did not make it. May God give them eternal peace.

This book began as part of my struggle to reach out to others through public speaking. I told my story to many audiences, but I wanted the world to know the whole truth of my existence. In the fall of 2003, I told Mary Williams, the founder of the Lost Boys Foundation in Atlanta, that in spite of the public-speaking opportunities available, I wanted to reach out to a wider audience by telling the story of my life in book form. Because I was not a writer, I asked Mary to put me in touch with an author to help me write my biography. Mary contacted Dave Eggers, and thank God Dave and I met and certainly became good friends. We agreed that all proceeds from the book would be used to improve the lives of Sudanese in Sudan and elsewhere...

It should be known to the readers that I was very young when some of the events in the book took place, and as a result we simply had to pronounce What Is the What a novel. I could not, for example, recount some conversations that took place seventeen years ago. However it should be noted that all of the major events in the book are true. The book is historically accurate, and the world I have known is not different from the one depicted within these pages. We live in a time where even the most horrific events in this book could occur, and in most cases, did occur. For example, between May 16, 1983 and January 9, 2005 over two and one-half million people died of war and war-related causes in Sudan, over four million people were internally displaced in southern Sudan and nearly two million southern Sudanese took refuge in foreign countries.

My desire to have this book written was born out of my faith and beliefs in humanity; I wanted to reach out to others to help them understand Sudan’s place in our global community. I am relieved that Dave and I have accomplished this task through illumination of my life as an example of atrocities many successive governments of Sudan committed against its own people. Although the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement gave southern Sudan the opportunity to rebuild itself—and the chance to secede in 2011 via popular referendum—gross human rights violations still continue today in the Darfur region of the country.

I am blessed to have lived to inform you that even when my hours were darkest, I believed that some day I could share my experiences with others. This book is a form of struggle, and it keeps my spirit alive to struggle. To struggle is to strengthen my faith, my hope and my belief in humanity. Since you and I exist, together we can make a difference! Thank you for reading What Is the What and I wish you a blessed day.

—VALENTINO ACHAK DENG,
ALLEGHENY COLLEGE, PENNSYLVANIA, 2007
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

0 comments:

There was an error in this gadget

Labels

12 Days of Christmas (3) 2008 Olympics (2) 2008 Presidential Election (2) 2012 Presidential Election (1) A Christmas Carol (2) A Christmas Story (1) Acumen Fund (1) Adventures in Niche Blogging (2) advertising (1) Afghanistan (3) Africa (1) AIG (1) alabama (1) Amazon Affiliate Program (1) American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (1) Anger (1) Apartment Locator (1) Apology (1) Apple (1) art (1) Ash Wednesday (1) atul gawande (1) Auto-Tune (2) awesome break (1) awesomeness (1) backwards hats (1) Balanced Budget (1) Bank Lending (1) Barack Obama (9) Barack Obama Newspaper Headlines (1) Barcadia (1) Barry Ritholtz (2) Bastille Day (1) Big 12 Controversy (1) Big 3 Bailout (1) Big Picture (1) Bikers (1) Bill Gates (1) birthday (2) blackberry (1) blake (17) Blog Action Day (1) Boing Boing (1) Bon Iver (1) Book of the Month (1) Books (1) Breast cancer (1) British Psychological Society (1) Brookings Institution (1) BTHO McCain (1) BTHO Obama (1) Bush Legacy (1) Business (1) Carlos Santana (1) Champs-Élysées (1) Charitable Giving (1) Charles Dickens (1) Chart of the Day (1) Chartible Contributions (1) Child Poverty Rate (1) China (1) Chris (10) Christianity (1) Christmas (2) CNBC (1) Coal Vines (1) College Football (1) College Station Texas (1) Comics (1) Congress (1) Congressional Budget Office (1) Conservapedia (1) Conservative (2) Consulting (1) Corn (1) Credit default swap (1) cross country (1) Curious Case of Benjamin Button (1) D.O.A. (1) Daily Show (1) Dallas (13) Dallas date night (1) Dallas Morning News (1) Dan Pink (1) Dave Eggers (1) David after the dentist (1) David Dewhurst (1) David Faber (1) David Feherty (1) Death (1) Death of Auto-Tune (1) Debate (1) Deep Ellum (1) Deep Fried Butter (1) Deficit (2) Delivering Happiness (2) Dennis Lehane (1) Department of Education (1) DFW (1) diabetes (1) Dick Cheney (1) Dikembe Mutombo (1) Dilbert (1) Direct-loan (1) Diversity (1) Documentary (1) Donors Choose (1) Doonesbury (1) economic stimulus (1) economic stimulus plan (2) Economy (9) Education (1) england (1) Environment (1) Ezra Klein (4) F-22 Raptor (1) Fannie Mae (2) Farewell (1) Farm Bill (1) FAS (9) Fast Food (1) Federal Budget (1) Feist (1) Festivus (1) Filibuster (1) Fiscal policy (1) food fight (1) Food Stamps (1) France (3) Freddie Mac (1) Free Chick-fil-a (1) Ft Worth (1) Funny (1) games (1) Gary Becker (1) General Motors (1) George Packer (1) Giveaway (1) Glenn Beck (1) Goldman Sachs (1) good reads (3) GOP (1) Government spending (2) Greg Mankiw (2) Gross domestic product (1) Guantanamo Bay (1) Gulf of Mexico (1) Haiti (1) Hans Rosling (1) Happiness (1) Happy New Year (1) Hasselhoff (1) Health care (10) Health care reform (8) Health insurance (2) Heritage Foundation (1) Hipster (1) History of war (1) Holiday Shopping (1) holidays (2) Hot Chip (1) Hot N Cold (1) House of Cards (1) Human Development Index (1) Iliveindallas (1) Illegal immigration (1) Immigration reform (1) Inappropriate (1) Inauguration Day (4) Income tax (1) Independence Day (1) Indian Superman (1) Industrial Revolution (1) Inefficient (1) Inspiration (1) Insurance (1) Internal Revenue Service (1) iPhone 4 (1) Iran (1) Iraq (1) Iraq War (1) Israel (1) Israeli settlement (1) Jack Bauer (1) Jacqueline Novogratz (1) Jay-Z (1) jcvd (1) Jimmy Fallon (1) Jimmy Fallon's House Band (1) Joaquin Phoenix David Letterman (1) Job creation program (1) Job Market 2009 (1) John Cornyn (2) John McCain (1) Jon Stewart (1) Kaiser Family Foundation (1) Kaiser Permanente (1) Kanye West (2) Karl Rove (1) Kat Perry (1) Kristi (1) Laser Portraits (1) Late Night (1) Late Night with Conan O'Brien (1) Lee Harvey's (1) Lent (1) Liar's Poker (1) Life (1) Life expectancy (1) light show (1) lights (1) Lil' Wayne (3) Links (2) Lobbyists (1) Lonely Island (1) mad men (1) Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (1) Malcolm Gladwell (1) Malthusian Trap (1) Mashable (2) Matt Chandler (1) Matt Simmons $500 oil (1) Mayo Clinic (1) McAllen Texas (1) McCain (6) media (1) Medicaid (2) Medical malpractice (1) Medicare (4) Mergers and Acquisitions (1) metro (1) Michael Jackson (1) Michael Lewis (1) Microfinance (1) Mike (85) Military (1) Milton Bradley (1) Mint.com (1) Missional Giving (1) Missional Living (1) MIT (1) MIT Media Lab (1) Mitch Daniels (1) Moneyball (1) Morocco (1) Mother's Day (1) Motivation (1) MTV (1) Music (19) My life in a cube (1) My parents joined facebook (1) NBC (1) Netflix (1) New Firm Logos (1) New season 24 (1) New Year's Resolutions (2) NEXT Worldwide (1) NFL (1) NHS (1) Nobel Peace Prize (2) Non-profit (1) Non-profit organization (1) Norman Borlaug (1) Obama (7) Obamacare (1) Oil Spill (1) One Stop Schop (5) Open-source education (1) Outliers: The Story of Success (1) Palin (1) Pamplona (1) Pan-American Highway (1) Parenting Tip of the Day (2) Paris (3) Party Ideology and the rationalizing voter (1) Paste Magazine (1) Paul Krugman (1) Peak Oil Theory (1) Pearls Before Swine (1) Pell Grant (1) Pentagon (1) PEPFAR (1) Perspective (2) Philosophy (1) Pick of the Week (1) Place de la Concorde (1) Politics (13) Politifact (1) Polk (12) Popular Mechanics (1) Potbelly (1) Poverty (3) President Bush (1) President Obama's Secret Plan to Brainwash Our Children (1) President-Elect Barack Obama (1) Project Leper (1) projection art (1) prosumer report (1) Quality-adjusted life year (1) Racism (1) Rahm Emmanuel Ari Gold (1) Ralph Waldo Emerson (1) Random (2) Random Site of the Week (4) Rap (1) Rasmussen Reports (1) Religion and Spirituality (1) Rick Santelli (1) Road (1) Road traffic safety (1) robbery (1) Robert Gates (1) Ronald Reagan (1) Roy Blunt (1) SAME Cafe (1) Santa Clause (1) Santogold (1) Sarah Palin (1) Sarah Palin 2012 (1) Sean Hannity Freedom Concert Series (1) Shutter Island (1) Silver Star (1) Site of the Week (1) Slate (1) Social Security (1) SOTU (1) Special Forces (1) Spending (1) Sports (3) Sports Nutz (1) Stanley Hauerwas (1) Stock Market (2) StoryCorps (1) Success (1) Supreme Leader of Iran (1) T Boone Pickens (1) T. R. Reid (1) Taliban (1) Tax (1) Taxation (3) Taxpayer Receipt (1) Technology (2) TED Talks (3) Texas (1) Texas AM (1) Texas AM Football (1) Texas Department of Transportation (1) Texas Government (1) Texas State Board of Education (1) Texas State Fair (1) thailand (1) Thanksgiving (1) The 2009 Stimulus Bill (1) The Big Lebowski (1) The Big Picture (1) The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World (1) The Credit Crisis (3) The Daily Show (1) The Daily What (1) The Decembrists (1) The Economist (2) The GAP (1) The Healing of America (1) The Laux Family (1) The Perfect Honeymoon (1) The Roots (1) The Schop Ten (1) The Village Church (1) The Wire (1) The Woodlands (1) This is Indexed (1) Time Magazine (1) TJ Lavin (1) Tony Hsieh (2) Top 5 Christmas Specials (1) Top Golf (1) Top Post (8) Tort reform (1) Torture (2) Torture Memo (1) Tour de France (1) track (1) Travel (4) Travel and Leisure (1) trends (1) Troubled Asset Relief Program (1) TSA (1) Tulsa Oklahoma (1) Unemployment (1) Unemployment Insurance (1) United States (3) United States Presidential approval rating (1) United States Senate (1) Universal health care (1) University of Texas (1) Unnecessary Quotes (1) Utz Potato Chip (1) Venture Capital (1) Video (10) Video Clip of the Week (5) Videre (1) Vietnam (1) Vimeo (1) Waiting for Superman (1) Wall Street (1) We Are Hunted (1) Wedding (1) Weekend Update (1) Welfare (1) What Is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng (1) Williams Shakespeare (1) Winner (1) Woodall Rodgers Park (1) Wordle (1) world diabetes day (1) Worst Commerical of 2009 (1) Ying Yang Twins (1) You Rent We Split (2) YouTube (1) Zappos.com (1)
 

One Stop Schop. Copyright 2008 All Rights Reserved Revolution Two Church theme by Brian Gardner Converted into Blogger Template by Bloganol dot com | Distributed by Deluxe Templates