A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

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.

Related: Biography, Sierra Leone, Young Adult (ages 14-18)

2 thoughts on “A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

  1. Marilyn Carpenter says:

    This true story sears itself into the heart. It is for high school students and above. The violence, horror and lost described by Ishmael Beah is graphic. Students who read this book will begin to understand the effects of war on a child soldier. Beah tells how American films like Rambo were used to desensitize the young boy soldiers against killing. A discussion about such violence in the media could alert students to how they may have also been desensitized towards war and killing.

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