A Long Way Gone

Memoirs of A Boy Soldier

Beah, Ishmael

Book - 2007
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
A Long Way Gone
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. 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 25 years old, tells 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.--From publisher description.

Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, c2007
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 0374105235
Branch Call Number: 355.0083 B365L 2007
Characteristics: 229 p. :,map ;,22 cm


From Library Staff

Beah's memoir of his excruciatingly violent life in Sierra Leone as a child solider, and finding redemption as human rights activist.

2008 Everybody Reads

A Long Way Gone is the riveting, firsthand account of Ishmael Beah, a 12-year-old child soldier, hopped up on drugs and wielding an AK-47, who gets swept up in the horrors of civil war in his African homeland.

From the critics

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Nov 03, 2014
  • Courtenay777 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This was one of the hardest books I have ever read. Right up there with Man's Search For Meaning. It breaks my heart that there is such a lack of humanity in the world, yet I find myself uplifted at the same time to see the return of this man from such a destroyed soul to such a kind and grateful one. I cried throughout the story, and bawled my eyes out reading his acknowledgements. The chronology was enlightening and frightening as well. This book may cause a stir in you and should certainly humble all who read it.

Aug 30, 2014

To one of the comments made below, this was written by a person who went through terrible tragedies and therefore, this story could not have been told in it's true form if it had been written by a "bona fide author". Some people just don't get it. Smh

Very compelling and sad. Graphic violence so not for the faint of heart. Inspiring and brave, none-the-less. This story makes you want to hug your family tighter, kiss the American soul that you walk on, and become more aware of the crimes against humanity going on in the world to this day.

This was a school assignment given to my high school age son for a summer reading assignment and I read it before him. I would not recommend to anyone under a freshman in HS or who can't handle violence and war crimes.

Jul 21, 2014
  • Madreley rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Good reading if you want a first person account of a child soldier in Sierra Leone. It is sad what people will do to each other and how they will justify it. Book is very brutal and graphic in places. It is amazing how these things could be happening in the 21st century. I think it basically comes down to that people are greedy and will take whatever they want in any way possible. What a hell-hole of a country to live in.

Feb 07, 2014
  • Chandy19 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A truly inspirational story…despite all his struggles and what he went through he was able to lift his spirit and find peace in a not so kind world.

This is for all those who never had a way out….

Jul 10, 2013
  • destiny1218 rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

not really my style of book. was recommended but i would not recommend it to others

Jul 08, 2013
  • Tolu01 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

a very good book and inspiring

Jul 02, 2013

A well written book - not for the "faint at-heart". Another tragic story that reminds me --thank God I was born in the U.S.A.

Feb 06, 2013
  • DeltaQueen50 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

What I most admire about Ishmael Beah is his unflinching and unselfpitying manner of telling his story in A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier. His individual story of being a child who lost almost everything in a vicious war speaks for children caught in the same manner around the world. .

I could go into superlatives about this book, but would rather simply say it was a genuine and emotional read.

Jan 13, 2013
  • fgomez98 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Just read it, honestly. It will change you. I loved it.

Jul 07, 2012
  • raymay411 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I loved this book! It was captivating and interesting. I loved how the history of Sierra Leone was built into the book. What made the book so good was that it was a true story. Fascinating! I give it 5 stars!! Recommended to al!

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Add Age Suitability

Aug 30, 2014

Ktmay429 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Jun 21, 2012
  • Ólive rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Ólive thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Jun 20, 2012
  • Mlawrence99 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Mlawrence99 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 14 and 10

Jun 09, 2011
  • MelissaBee rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

MelissaBee thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

Sep 02, 2010
  • belleétoile rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

belleétoile thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Feb 04, 2010
  • laurenemmeline rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

laurenemmeline thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Jun 10, 2008
  • olieYT rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

olieYT thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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Jun 21, 2012
  • Ólive rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

There were all kinds of stories told about the war that made it sound as if it was happening in a faraway and different land. It wasn't until refugees started passing through our town that we began to see that it was actually taking place in our country. Families who had walked hundreds of miles told how relatives had been killed and their houses burned. Some people felt sorry for them and offered them places to stay, but most of the refugees refused, because they said the war would eventually reach our town. The children of these families wouldn't look at us, and they jumped at the sound of chopping wood or as stones landed on the tin roofs flung by children hunting birds with slingshots. The adults among these children from the war zones would be lost in their thoughts during conversations with the elders of my town. Apart from their fatigue and malnourishment, it was evident they had seen something that plagued their minds, something that we would refuse to accept if they told us all of it. At times I thought that some of the stories the passersby told were exaggerated. The only wars I knew of were those that I had read about in books or seen in movies such as Rambo: First Blood, and the one in neighboring Liberia that I had heard about on the BBC news. My imagination at ten years old didn't have the capacity to grasp what had taken away the happiness of the refugees

Apr 02, 2011

At age 12, Ishmael Beah fled his village after it was attacked. At age 13, he joined the government armgy and is feed drugs in order to attack villages. At 16, he is removed from fighting by UNICEF and through the help of staff at his rehabilitation centre, he learned how to forgive hmself to regain his humanity and finally to heal. He eventually imigrates to the US and is adopted by a family. He attended school and university.


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Jun 10, 2008
  • olieYT rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Violence: This title contains Violence.


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