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A Long Way Gone

Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah
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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.

Farrar, Straus and Giroux; April 2007
240 pages; ISBN 9780374706524
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Title: A Long Way Gone
Author: Ishmael Beah
 
  • News
Ishmael Beah's A Long Way Gone is ASU's Common Reading Selection for 2015-16 - High Country Press
Wed, 06 May 2015 10:21:41 -0700
High Country PressIshmael Beah's A Long Way Gone is ASU's Common Reading Selection for 2015-16High Country PressA Long ...
Child Soldier's Long Way Home - ABC News
Thu, 07 Aug 2008 12:34:22 -0700
ABC NewsChild Soldier's Long Way HomeABC NewsLast year Beah wrote a bestselling book of his experience and his story of ...
Memoirists weigh in with 'Why We Write About Ourselves' - Los Angeles Times
Fri, 05 Feb 2016 12:06:32 -0800
Los Angeles TimesMemoirists weigh in with 'Why We Write About Ourselves'Los Angeles TimesIshmael Beah ("A Long Way ...
ISBNs
9780374105235
9780374706524