A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

Front Cover
Macmillan, Apr 1, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 240 pages
2097 Reviews

My new friends have begun to suspect I haven't told them the full story of my life.
"Why did you leave Sierra Leone?"
"Because there is a war."
"You mean, you saw people running around with guns and shooting each other?"
"Yes, all the time."
"Cool."
I smile a little.
"You should tell us about it sometime."
"Yes, sometime."


This is how wars are fought now: by children, hopped-up on drugs and wielding AK-47s. Children have become soldiers of choice. In the more than fifty conflicts going on worldwide, it is estimated that there are some 300,000 child soldiers. Ishmael Beah used to be one of them.

What is war like through the eyes of a child soldier? How does one become a killer? How does one stop? Child soldiers have been profiled by journalists, and novelists have struggled to imagine their lives. But until now, there has not been a first-person account from someone who came through this hell and survived.

In A Long Way Gone, Beah, now twenty-five years old, tells a riveting story: how at the age of twelve, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence. By thirteen, he'd been picked up by the government army, and Beah, at heart a gentle boy, found that he was capable of truly terrible acts.

This is a rare and mesmerizing account, told with real literary force and heartbreaking honesty.

 

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At times hard to read. - Goodreads
Ishmael Beah is a great writer. - Goodreads
Graphic portrayal of the loss of innocence. - Goodreads
I liked both the narrative and the ending. - Goodreads
Hard to read - strong emotional & gory content. - Goodreads
Overall, it was well written and provided good imagery. - Goodreads

Review: A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

User Review  - Kawa Hosseini - Goodreads

This book is extremely depressing. But it is a must read. An eye-opening story on how humanity can be easily manipulated into extreme savagery. Read full review

Review: A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

User Review  - Diana Derringer - Goodreads

A Long Way Gone offers an uncomfortable but needed reminder of the reality many children and families face in our world today. Read full review

All 187 reviews »

Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
3
Section 2
5
Section 3
18
Section 4
21
Section 5
26
Section 6
30
Section 7
37
Section 8
44
Section 14
114
Section 15
121
Section 16
126
Section 17
138
Section 18
152
Section 19
167
Section 20
179
Section 21
193

Section 9
49
Section 10
58
Section 11
69
Section 12
89
Section 13
100
Section 22
201
Section 23
219
Section 24
227
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

Ishmael Beah was born in 1980 in Sierra Leone, West Africa. His writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Vespertine Press, LIT, Parabola, and numerous academic journals. He is a UNICEF Ambassador and Advocate for Children Affected by War; a member of the Human Rights Watch Children's Rights Advisory Committee; an advisory board member at the Center for the Study of Youth and Political Violence at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; visiting scholar at the Center for International Conflict Resolution at Columbia University; visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Center for the Study of Genocide, Conflict Resolution, and Human Rights at Rutgers University; cofounder of the Network of Young People Affected by War (NYPAW); and president of the Ishmael Beah Foundation. He has spoken before the United Nations, the Council on Foreign Relations, and many panels on the effects of war on children. His book A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier has been published in over thirty languages and was nominated for a Quill Award in 2007. Time magazine named the book as one of the top ten nonfiction books of 2007, ranking it at number three. Ishmael Beah is a graduate of Oberlin College with a B.A. in Political Science and resides in Brooklyn, New York. He is currently completing a novel set in his home country of Sierra Leone.

Bibliographic information