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

by Ishmael Beah

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7,1833121,275 (4.02)1 / 260
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. 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. Ishmael Beah, now 25 years old, tells 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.--From publisher description.… (more)
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 World Reading Circle: A Long Way Gone, Ishmael Beah2 unread / 2mirrani, January 2014

» See also 260 mentions

English (310)  French (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (312)
Showing 1-5 of 310 (next | show all)
Biography
  BooksInMirror | Feb 19, 2024 |
This is a very remarkable memoir of Ishmael Beah's two years as a child soldier. He graphically displays what post traumatic stress disorder can do to anyone yet also proves that rehabilitation is possible for even the most psychologically and physically mangled patients. It is something I wish the American court system would consider. If we instead took the time to really work with these children (who committed violent acts), perhaps we could turn them in to college graduates instead of trying them as adults and putting them to death. Beah killed his fellow country men, become addicted to drugs, and became numb to this lifestyle. Yet after all of this, he had proper medical treatment and then graduated from Oberlin and now works for the Human Rights Watch. ( )
  tyk314 | Jan 22, 2024 |
This is a very remarkable memoir of Ishmael Beah's two years as a child soldier. He graphically displays what post traumatic stress disorder can do to anyone yet also proves that rehabilitation is possible for even the most psychologically and physically mangled patients. It is something I wish the American court system would consider. If we instead took the time to really work with these children (who committed violent acts), perhaps we could turn them in to college graduates instead of trying them as adults and putting them to death. Beah killed his fellow country men, become addicted to drugs, and became numb to this lifestyle. Yet after all of this, he had proper medical treatment and then graduated from Oberlin and now works for the Human Rights Watch. ( )
  tyk314 | Jan 22, 2024 |
This is one of those books that reads like fiction and you really really wish it was, because you can't believe the author is alive to tell the story. It is an amazing story of overcoming all odds. Very powerful. ( )
  KarenDeLucas | Nov 13, 2023 |
What an amazing story of survival! In 1992, Ishmael was only 12 years old when he and his older brother set out on a 16-mile journey to another village in southern Sierra Leone, West Africa, to participate in a talent contest with some friends, when rebels claiming to be fighting for freedom began attacking surrounding villages while they were on their journey. Thus, began a civil war that would last 10 years, until 2002. This would be the last time Ishmael would ever see his family again.

He and a group of young boys would stay on the run trying to stay alive, running through thick forests and abandoned villages, hiding from the rebels. At age 13, he and a group of friends ran into the governments military forces and was forced into their regime. They were not given a choice!

The rebels began their raiding and killing in the name of freedom with just a few unorganized teams that turned into an all-out killing spree, and grew as they inducted young boys to their cause. These rebels murdered whole villages, women, children and babies alike. They cut off their heads, burned families alive in their huts, made sons have intercourse with their mothers, cut babies from pregnant women’s wombs and then killed the babies, stole all their valuables and ammunition and/or weapons, and ate up all the food in the village.

The government military forces that inducted Ishmael and his friends pretty much did the same thing, except they brainwashed their children soldiers and told them to kill in revenge for killing their parents and their family members. Both armies liberally gave the kids drugs to induce courage. They were given white pills for energy, snorted cocaine and brown brown (cocaine with gunpowder). This alone kept them fighting. There were over 300,000 children forced into war at this time. Ishmael served with a 9 and 11-year-old who were actually not even strong enough to hold up their weapons all the way. As they marched, the points of their weapons dragged the ground.

At age 25, Ishmael tells his story and how he made it out of this hell war and how he became rehabilitated. It was such a long journey, and just when he thought he was out and away from the war, and living up in Freetown with his uncle and family, in northwest Sierra Leone, the war found him again. But, he miraculously made it out and managed his way through 15 checkpoints to Conakry, Guinea’s state capital, and, with the help of a “mother” figure from New York, he was able to apply and seek asylum in the U.S. ( )
  MissysBookshelf | Aug 27, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 310 (next | show all)
The book, A Long Way Gone: Memoir of a Boy Soldier, is a story about how a boy at a young age had to witness something major that was taking place in Africa, his homeland. This leave the audience shocked because he explains what he went through as a child and how it affected him as the war went by. For the ones who have read this book understand the struggle that the main character, Ishmael, Ishmael Beah, went through. He was separated from his family and was taken in by the group who would kill the rebels to survive. The rebels are known as the ones who started the war.
added by Kayla_Tovar | editBook, Kayla Tovar (Dec 17, 2018)
 

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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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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. 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. Ishmael Beah, now 25 years old, tells 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.--From publisher description.

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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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