HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by…
Loading...

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier (2007)

by Ishmael Beah

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,305None1,144 (4.01)1 / 207
(17) 2007 (24) 2008 (29) Africa (324) African History (15) autobiography (113) biography (166) book club (16) child soldier (53) child soldiers (164) children (29) Civil War (78) death (14) drugs (21) genocide (21) history (59) memoir (472) non-fiction (364) oil (26) own (18) read (52) rehabilitation (14) Sierra Leone (301) soldiers (24) survival (22) to-read (67) UNICEF (15) unread (18) violence (38) war (291)
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

Showing 1-5 of 235 (next | show all)
This book was heartbreaking but amazing. In it Ishmael Beah documents some of his struggles as he tries to survive the civil war in Sierra Leone. He talks about his time running from the war, as a child soldier, his rehabilitation and his exodus out of his homeland. The book did not end the way I have come to expect from books, many things were left up in the air, but I think it was fitting ending for what he had experienced. ( )
  SparklePonies | Apr 12, 2014 |
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier is a true story of the life of a 12 year old boy, Ishmael Beah, during the Civil war in Sierra Leone in the 1990's. Ishmael comes home from a journey to find that his village is under attack by the RUF (Revolutionary Unit Front) or rebels and flees to find safety with his older brother and other children his age. After a year or so of traveling around, scrounging for food and water, and looking for a place to go, he finds out that his whole family has been slaughtered by the RUF. Ishmael and his friends are soon after recruited by the Sierra Leone Army and forced to become soldiers. The boys are brainwashed and forced to become brutal killers in the name of the government even carrying out scouting expeditions and capital executions of rebel prisoners. After a few years in the army, some of the boys, including Ishmael are rescued by UNICEF and taken to a rehabilitation center to try and learn to be boys again. Eventually, Ishmael is rehabilitated and travels to America to give interviews and speeches on his experiences during the war.

This book intrigued me and infuriated me all the same time. It's hard to imagine the life of child in such a way as Ishmael had lived his. The hardships even before the war much less after his family was killed and he became a boy soldier. Also astounding is the fact that he went on to live a successful life after such atrocities and to work for the cause of the betterment of children everywhere. It just proves that people can change even in the face of adversity. When he first became a soldier, he was the same age as my son is now. I read this book really quickly and highly recommend it.

A Long Way Gone was nominated for a Quill Award in the Best Debut Author category for 2006 and was published by Sarah Crichton books in 2007. ( )
  clayhollow | Apr 8, 2014 |
Horrible and wonderful at the same. Wonderful in the telling, horrific in the content. War is hell. No one should have to go through that, or see the brutality of it, let alone a child. I'm happy he lived through it, and is a better man for it. ( )
  croknot1 | Feb 16, 2014 |
I can't talk enough about the experience of reading this book. I'm not certain that I could put any of it into words. In a way, it is much like going through a war. People hear about fighting, they see news about it on television, but until they have lived through the experience, they can't properly imagine what it is like to have that world be your reality. This book captures that essence perfectly, bringing you as close to the experience of the war as it can from the comfort of your favorite chair. It isn't overly graphic or angry, but it is honest, and that is the most important thing. In this way Ishmael Beah has managed to help share his experience with others.

The title of the book suggests that the inside is filled with stories of being a child soldier, but the weight of the story is spread out in a necessary way. This is a memoir of a boy who grew up in war, fought as a child soldier, then was brought out of that life to have a new future. Reading will take you through childhood memories, through the struggles of living on your own, searching for anything you can eat or anywhere you can live, through battles and raids, then through rehabilitation and new life. There are times when the lighthearted is weighed against a wartime memory, perfectly capturing the essence of a flashback without being too weighty. There are also times when lighter memories come to mind while life is a struggle and times are hard. Those inserted memories make this a perfectly balanced read while continuing a very moving story.

This book does not contain the history of a land or a people, it is the story of one child surviving and finding life after living through tragic times and it is very well written. The story of child soldiers is hard for many to hear, but also must be told in order to raise awareness and continue the help for others. I can't think of a better way to hear about what these young people face, to understand what they have gone through and what they continue to go through in their new lives as civilians, than to hear it from the children themselves. This author is one who survived and moved beyond the fighting when so many did not. One of the best ways to recognize those lost or struggling is to share their experiences through this book. ( )
  mirrani | Jan 30, 2014 |
A well-told account of a brutal childhood. The language is plain but fluid, overall an "easy" read in terms of writing style and a very hard read in terms of content. ( )
  bluepigeon | Dec 15, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 235 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
To the memories of Nya Nje, Nya Keke, Nya Ndig-ge isa, and Kaynya. Your spririts and presence within me give me strength to carry on,

to all the children of Sierra Leone who were robbed of their childhoods,

and to the memory of Walter (Wally) Scheuer for his generous and compassionate heart and for teaching me the etiquette of being a gentleman
First words
My high school friends have begun to suspect I haven't told them the full story of my life.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Book description
Disturbing, but powerful book that deals with the horrible effects of violence and desperation. The author was lucky to be chosen to be "rehabilitated", but so many others were not. It actually seems like a miracle that he could be rehabilitated- his mentors showed incredible persistence in the face of extreme resistance. The memoir also demonstrates the power of the group to influence the behavior of the individual. It staggers the mind to try to grasp how much effort it would take to rehabilitate all the violent members of the world.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374531269, Paperback)

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.

"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.'"

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:24:33 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

A human rights activist offers a firsthand account of war from the perspective of a former child soldier, detailing the violent civil war that wracked his native Sierra Leone and the government forces that transformed a gentle young boy into a killer as a member of the army.… (more)

» see all 10 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
70 avail.
827 wanted
5 pay10 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (4.01)
0.5
1 10
1.5 4
2 39
2.5 11
3 200
3.5 69
4 438
4.5 64
5 350

Audible.com

Two editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 89,480,618 books! | Top bar: Always visible