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A Long Way Gone
Cover of A Long Way Gone
A Long Way Gone
Memoirs of a Boy Soldier
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In A Long Way Gone Ishmael Beah tells a riveting story in his own words: how, at the age of twelve, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence. By thirteen, he'd...
In A Long Way Gone Ishmael Beah tells a riveting story in his own words: how, at the age of twelve, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence. By thirteen, he'd...
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  • In A Long Way Gone Ishmael Beah tells a riveting story in his own words: 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 how wars are fought now by children, hopped up on drugs, and wielding AK-47s. In the more than fifty violent conflicts going on worldwide, it is estimated that there are some 300,000 child soldiers.
    Ishmael Beah used to be one of them. 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 it is rare to find a first-person account from someone who endured this hell and survived.
    This is a rare and mesmerizing account, told with real literary force and heartbreaking honesty.

 

Awards-

About the Author-

  • Ishmael Beah, born in 1980 in Sierra Leone, West Africa, is the New York Times bestselling author of A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier. The book has been published in over thirty languages and was nominated for a Quill Award in 2007. Time magazine named the book as one of the top ten nonfiction books of 2007, ranking it at number three. His work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Vespertine Press, LIT, Parabola, and numerous academic journals. He is a UNICEF Ambassador and Advocate for Children Affected by War; a member of the Human Rights Watch Children's Rights Advisory Committee; an advisory board member at the Center for the Study of Youth and Political Violence at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; visiting scholar at the Center for International Conflict Resolution at Columbia University; visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Center for the Study of Genocide, Conflict Resolution, and Human Rights at Rutgers University; cofounder of the Network of Young People Affected by War (NYPAW); and president of the Ishmael Beah Foundation. He has spoken before the United Nations, the Council on Foreign Relations, and many panels on the effects of war on children. He is a graduate of Oberlin College with a B.A. in Political Science and resides in Brooklyn, New York.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    May 28, 2007
    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).

  • AudioFile Magazine Ishmael Beah was just 11 when civil war ripped apart Sierra Leone and killed his parents and brothers. He became one of tens of thousands of child soldiers in that conflict, and in this disturbing memoir he describes how he survived almost three years of hell. He killed countless people, both in battle and by execution, all before he turned 16. He tells his story without self-pity or apology as he explains how he eventually came to understand that what happened was not his fault. Beah is not a trained narrator, and his accent is occasionally difficult to understand, but it's impossible to imagine how anyone else could read this intensely personal story with more power than he does. D.B. (c) AudioFile 2007, Portland, Maine
  • Publishers Weekly (starred review) '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...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.'
  • Melissa Fay Greene, Elle Magazine 'Beah’s memoir, A Long Way Gone (Farrar, Straus and ­Giroux), is unforgettable testimony that Africa’s children—millions of them dying and orphaned by preventable diseases, hundreds of thousands of them forced into battle—have eyes to see and voices to tell what has happened. And what voices! How is it possible that 26-year-old Beah, a nonnative English speaker, separated from his family at age 12, taught to maim and to kill at 13, can sound such notes of ­family happiness, of friendship under duress, of quiet horror? No outsider could have written this book, and it’s hard to imagine that many ­insiders could do so with such acute vision, stark language, and tenderness. It is a heart-rending achievement.
  • Kirkus Reviews 'Hideously effective in conveying the essential horror of his experiences.'
  • The Guardian UK 'Extraordinary . . . A ferocious and desolate account of how ordinary children were turned into professional killers.'
  • Sebastian Junger, author of A Death in Belmont and A Perfect Storm "A Long Way Gone is one of the most important war stories of our generation. The arming of children is among the greatest evils of the modern world, and yet we know so little about it because the children themselves are swallowed up by the very wars they are forced to wage. Ishmael Beah has not only emerged intact from this chaos, he has become one of its most eloquent chroniclers. We ignore his message at our peril."
  • Steve Coll, author of Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CI 'This is a beautifully written book about a shocking war and the children who were forced to fight it. Ishmael Beah describes the unthinkable in calm, unforgettable language; his memoir is an important testament to the children elsewhere who continue to be conscripted into armies and militias.'
  • Walter Isaacson, author of Benjamin Franklin: An American Life 'This is a wrenching, beautiful, and mesmerizing tale. Beah's amazing saga provides a haunting lesson about how gentle folks can be capable of great brutalities as well goodness and courage. It will leave you breathless.'
  • Jeannette Walls, author of The Glass Castle: A Memoir 'A Long Way Gone hits you hard in the gut with Sierra Leone’s unimaginable brutality and then it touches your soul with unexpected acts of kindness. Ishmael Beah’s story tears your heart to pieces and then forces you to put it back together again, because if Beah can emerge from such horror with his humanity in tact, it’s the least you can do.'

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