A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

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by allenp
Last updated 7 years ago

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A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

A Long Way Gone is a memoir that depicts Beah's lost childhood growing up in a war torn country that has taken his family and friends, and left him to fend for himself, wandering the countryside with other boys in his situation. It describes all of Beah's experiences as a refugee at first, then a boy soldier as well as his rehabilitation and reintegration into society. The book shares both the culture of his country, the horrors of war, but most importantly demonstrates the human will to survive and recover even when it seems all is lost.

Ishmael Beah was born on November 23, 1980 in Mogbwemo, Sierra Leon. When the ongoing civil war reached his hometown in 1993, he was separated from his family and later fought for the army against the rebels at the age of 13. He escaped in 1997 and made his way to New York City to live with Laura Simms, who agreed to adopt him. He finished high school and later graduated from Oberlin College in 2004. He is now a member of the Human Rights Watch Children's Rights Division Advisory Committee and has also started the Ishmael Beah Foundation.

"We are all brothers and sisters. What I have learned from my experiences is that revenge is not good. I joined the army to avenge the deaths of my family and to survive, but i've come to learn that if I am going to take revenge, in that process I will kill another person whose family will want revenge; then revenge and revenge and revenge will never come to an end."


"The villages that we captured and turned into bases as we went along the forests that we slept in became my home. My squad was my family, my gun was my provider and protector, and my rule was to kill or be killed."

Tools of the Trade: AK47, G3, RPG

R&R Time: When not in combat, Beah's child unit was exposed to war movies, marijuana, and brown brown (cocaine + gunpowder)

child soldier





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