A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah

A Long Way Gone

By Ishmael Beah

  • Publication Date: 2007-04-01
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
4.5 Score: 4.5 (From 772 Ratings)

Book Overview

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."
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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Recent Reviews

  • So Inspiring

    By Msaintlouis1988
    When I started to read this book. I could not put it down! I wanted to learn everything. And Ishmael helped us to visualize the life of a child soldier in Sierra Leone in that time. His childhood was stolen from him! He lost his family! But he was able to still live through everything to tell a story that will remind me that I shouldn’t complain! Wonderful read!
  • A must read

    By Nicole364677
    I had to read this book for an English class and at first I thought that I would not enjoy it. However once I started reading it I could not put it down.
  • Mind changer

    By MrNoDaysOff592
    Great book to read
  • Best book ever

    By eclipse2003
    In my language arts class I started to read this it's a great book I'm so excited to be finished it is a story that has me hooked unable to stop reading great job Ishmael beah sad but good book MUST READ this is a pretty graphic book I'm In 7th grade I stopped a few times to prepare myself predicting what will happen
  • A Long Way Gone

    By Ka-Ching Ka-ching
    This book is by far one of the most gripping and heart wrenching stories I have ever read. I first heard the author speak on a podcast and knew I needed to read this book. It would be fantastic if there were a way to make this into a movie. This tale must be shared with the entire world so that the world may change. No child should ever have to experience the extreme hardships that young Ishmael and his brothers and sisters had to endure. His story is a testament to the strength of the soul. Thank God for his second life! And thank you Ishmael for sharing your story.
  • Wow. Wow. Wow.

    By Girltoo
    Wow is all I can really say. I'm going to be a sophomore in high school and this was my summer reading book. It has taught me so much and to appreciate every thing life gives me. This is easily the best book I've ever read. 100% recommend this to any young readers.
  • Amazing

    By Ricky^.^
    Powerful Story
  • Wonderful

    By Picy203
    I loved this book. Didn't want it to end.
  • A Long Way Gone

    By monuments
    This is a captivating book, a true personal narrative of a boy soldier during the Sierra Leone civil wars. Ishmael incongruously writes in impeccable and lyrical English about the unspeakable atrocities he witnessed - and committed - while trying to survive the brutal fighting that overwhelmed his country. That he was able to overcome the emotional and physical toll it placed on him is a testament to his strength and spirit and also to the compassion of the many people who helped him find redemption. Reading this book will give anyone a stronger appreciation for their own good fortune.
  • A Book everyone should read

    By Jrosehuskey
    It's terribly sad and devastating but gives a new perspective of foreign wars. Ishmael Beah wrote it beautifully and realistically, especially for it being written in his second language. Amazing story that will stay with me forever.