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A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by…
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A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier (original 2007; edition 2008)

by Ishmael Beah

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,3772411,126 (4.01)1 / 213
Member:jessy832
Title:A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier
Authors:Ishmael Beah
Info:Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2008), Edition: 1st, Paperback, 229 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:read

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

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Ishmael Beah leaves his village in Sierra Leonne one day for a short trip with friends to practice dancing. Fortunately, he happens to put on all of his 3 sets of clothes, because while he is gone, rebels destroy his village. In the wake of this brutal civil war, he experiences the loss of family, the horror of violence all around, being on the run for his life ,lost in jungles and caught in the middle of rebel fighters and the goverment army. In all of this tragedy though, hope is not lost. A shocking, true story that you won't want to put down, this 228 page book is appropriate for adults and teens. ( )
  sgrame | Aug 5, 2014 |
Intense story of a young boy soldier who overvcame the odds to become a us citizen and author. ( )
  frenchmama | Jul 23, 2014 |
When the civil war in Sierra Leone came to Ismael Beah’s village, he was a thirteen-year-old boy, doing what other boys all over the world do: hanging out with friends, listening to music and practicing dance moves. In fact, he was in a neighbouring village to enter a competition. He was not able to return to his home village that day and he never saw his family again

Over the next three years, Beah was on the run for his life until he was rescued by UNICEF personnel and rehabilitated.

This is a touching memoir with detail that brought the author’s terror to life.
I would have liked some more information about his life in the USA and the challenges he faced in assimilating into his new life, but that is a small quibble.

Read this if: you want to understand how young African boys become soldiers with guns they can barely carry. 4 stars ( )
  ParadisePorch | Jul 12, 2014 |
Not an easy read but incredibly well-written and truly portrays the numbing life Beah led while trying to survive during Sierra Leone's brutal civil wars. I had to skip over some of the more gory details of his life as a solider but I still had a powerful sense of how horrific it must have been.
  amyem58 | Jul 3, 2014 |
A horrific tale of the indoctrination and rehab of a child soldier in Sierra Leone. Sometimes Ishmael seems to be like a "Forrest Gump" character; that is, the teenager always seems to be in the the wrong (or most historically significant place) place at the wrong (or most historically significant) time. The time he rounds the hill to finally greet his parents only to have a rebel attack occur at that very moment - very dramatic. There's apparently some controversy about this memoir, focused mostly on the very long stint as a soldier (accusations from reporting staff of The Australian). Still, I'm sure some of this account is very true, and it is very disturbing story. ( )
  Sandydog1 | Jun 1, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 240 (next | show all)
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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
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My high school friends have begun to suspect I haven't told them the full story of my life.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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.
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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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 10 descriptions

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