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Publisher's Summary

This is how wars are fought now by children, hopped up on drugs, and wielding AK-47s. In the more than 50 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. In A Long Way Gone, Beah, now 26 years old, tells a riveting story in his own words: how, at the age of 12, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence. By 13, 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 a rare and mesmerizing account, told with real literary force and heartbreaking honesty.
©2007 Ishmael Beah (P)2007 Macmillan Audio
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By B. Bunt on 11-01-13

Author's voice

What did you like best about this story?

I appreciated that the account was written and narrated by a boy with first-hand experience. He explains his fear and struggle for survival from his own experiences and you begin to understand, reluctantly, how an innocent child with such a big heart could perform such atrocities. You also learn that these tainted children, at least some of them, have the capacity for rehabilitation and the ability to attain happiness after such horrible experiences full of hatred and violence. His story makes you question humanity, but his survival and recovery will return hope and faith of the good in this world. This book makes you want to become an activist for the plight of these children and their families.

What about Ishmael Beah’s performance did you like?

I like that it was his story; it added to the narrative knowing it was his experiences he was telling you about.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

It did get under my skin and I had a hard time not thinking about it when I was away.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

By Amazon Customer on 04-17-14

Fascinating and tragic story

If you could sum up A Long Way Gone in three words, what would they be?

Sad yet hopeful.

What did you like best about this story?

I like that he was able to be rescued from the life of child soldier and go on to present about these issues at the UN.

What does Ishmael Beah bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

It's his memories. One thing is when he signs some of the songs that made him happy as a kid, you can tell they still do.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Rachel on 02-15-17


This deeply harrowing and personal book is made all the more emotional by the fact it is read by the author. The horrific nature of the experiences are poignant and unavoidable.

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Customer Reviews

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By Bridget Pearce on 09-05-16

Needs editing.

I chose to read this book with a senior literacy class and they couldn't get into it despite such pressing subject matter. It was terribly structured. Half way through my students doubted the authenticity of the story and found compelling articles from the Australian that totally discredit Beth's version of events. We felt cheated for sympathising with him. Sad, because I am sure Beah's story would be strong enough without gratuitous embellishments.

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By Larissa on 01-17-16

Important story

What a life some people have!! Very sad at times but very much worth listening to!!

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