The first-person account of a 25-year-old who fought in the war in Sierra Leone as a 12-year-old boy. 'My new friends have begun to suspect that 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. ...
The first-person account of a 25-year-old who fought in the war in Sierra Leone as a 12-year-old boy. 'My new friends have begun to suspect that 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."' This is how wars are fought now: by children, hopped-up on drugs and wielding AK-47s. In the more than fifty conflicts going on worldwide, it is estimated 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. Ishmael Beah, now twenty-five years old, tells a riveting story: how at the age of twelve in Sierra Leone, 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 he was capable of truly terrible acts. This is a rare and mesmerizing account, told with real literary force and heartbreaking honesty. Ishmael Beah came to the United States when he was seventeen, and graduated from Oberlin College in 2003. He lives in New York City.
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This is a reguired reading for my daughter's high school honors English class this summer. She said it was a very good read.
Oct 3, 2007
This truly unforgettable autobiography relates a lifestyle that only a few Americans could ever be familiar with. The courage and honesty of the author takes my breath away. An important story that everyone should read
Sep 20, 2007
10 out of 10 child in a warzone
This is one of the very best autobiographies I have every read. He was a child soldier in Sierra Leonne which was a warzone. How he got through it with the traits common to all survivors. This book is a profile in courage, bravery and mental strength and what it takes to endure. A must read for anyone who thinks they had it tough. There is always someone who had it tougher.
Sep 12, 2007
Children at War
In a long way gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, Ishmael Beah brings forth an account of the violent and savage assult a war can shed, not only on a country, but on it's people and their children. His testimony as a child witness and participant to such an unspeakable tragedy is chilling and heart rendering; akin to those of Anne Frank and Elie Wiesel, both childhood lives greatly disturbed by war and greatly celebrated for the courageous ways inwhich they shared their experiences. This is a must read for all teens and adults.
Jun 20, 2007
Story of survival and humanity
I would recommend this book to teenagers and adults. It is a moving story of the author's boyhood. It shows what any of us are capable of doing in order to survive. Also, it helps us to understand that redemption is possible. We are not always what we do or, in the author's case, are forced to do. The author's basic human nature was able to rebound from his horrible experiences.
Publishers Weekly, 2006-12-18 This absorbing account by a young man who, as a boy of 12, gets swept up in Sierra Leone's civil war goes beyond even the best journalistic efforts in revealing the life and mind of a child abducted into the horrors of warfare. Beah's harrowing journey transforms him overnight from a child enthralled by American hip-hop music and dance to an internal refugee bereft of family, wandering from village to village in a country grown deeply divided by the indiscriminate atrocities of unruly, sociopathic rebel and army forces. Beah then finds himself in the army-in a drug-filled life of casual mass slaughter that lasts until he is 15, when he's brought to a rehabilitation center sponsored by UNICEF and partnering NGOs. The process marks out Beah as a gifted spokesman for the center's work after his "repatriation" to civilian life in the capital, where he lives with his family and a distant uncle. When the war finally engulfs the capital, it sends 17-year-old Beah fleeing again, this time to the U.S., where he now lives. (Beah graduated from Oberlin College in 2004.) Told in clear, accessible language by a young writer with a gifted literary voice, this memoir seems destined to become a classic firsthand account of war and the ongoing plight of child soldiers in conflicts worldwide. (Feb.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly, 2007-05-28 Beah's harrowing story of a boy caught up in the civil strife in Sierra Leone is not an audio to curl up with before bedtime. Beah's even-toned narrative is particularly disturbing because it's almost exactly the same whether he is enjoying the company of a newly found uncle or busy shooting and maiming rebels and even burying them alive. His monotone works particularly well when he is recounting his dreams, for he cannot distinguish his nightmares from his waking life. Beah speaks with a thick accent that omits "th" sounds. Many words are understandable in their context, but a few are not. He also stumbles over some longer and more complex words. Despite these drawbacks, Beah's tale is a riveting snapshot of childhoods stolen from all too many, not just in Sierra Leone but in Somalia, Iraq, Palestine and other places ravaged by civil wars. Simultaneous release with the FSG hardcover (Reviews, Dec. 18). (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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