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0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ishmael Beah Narrator: Ishmael Beah Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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.
In A Long Way Gone Beah, now twenty-six years old, 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 a rare and mesmerizing account, told with real literary force and heartbreaking honesty.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Everyone in the world should read this book. Not just because it contains an amazing story, or because it’s our moral, bleeding-heart duty, or because it’s clearly written. We should read it to learn about the world and about what it means to be human.”

    Washington Post

  • “Beah speaks in a distinctive voice, and he tells an important story.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “A breathtaking and unselfpitying account of how a gentle spirit survives a childhood from which all innocence has suddenly been sucked out. It’s a truly riveting memoir.”


  • “When Beah is finally approached about the possibility of serving as a spokesperson on the issue of child soldiers, he knows exactly what he wants to tell the world…‘I would always tell people that I believe children have the resilience to outlive their sufferings, if given a chance.’ Others may make the same assertions, but Beah has the advantage of stating them in the first person. That makes A Long Way Gone all the more gripping.”

    Christian Science Monitor

  • “In place of a text that has every right to be a diatribe against Sierra Leone, globalization, or even himself, Beah has produced a book of such self-effacing humanity that refugees, political fronts, and even death squads resolve themselves back into the faces of mothers, fathers, and siblings. A Long Way Gone transports us into the lives of thousands of children whose lives have been altered by war, and it does so with a genuine and disarmingly emotional force.”

    Minneapolis Star Tribune

  • “What Beah saw and did during [the war] has haunted him ever since, and if you read his stunning and unflinching memoir, you’ll be haunted, too…It would have been enough if Ishmael Beah had merely survived the horrors described in A Long Way Gone. That he has written this unforgettable firsthand account of his odyssey is harder still to grasp. Those seeking to understand the human consequences of war, its brutal and brutalizing costs, would be wise to reflect on Ishmael Beah’s story.”

    Philadelphia Inquirer

  • “Beah’s memoir is off the charts in its harrowing depictions of cruelty and depravity. What saves it from being a gratuitous immersion in violence is his brilliant writing, his compelling narrator’s voice, his gift for telling detail.”

    Seattle Post-Intelligencer

  • “That Beah survived at all, let alone survived with any capacity for hope and joy at all, is stunning, and testament to incredible courage…That Beah could then craft a memoir like this, in his second language no less, is astounding and even thrilling, for A Long Way Gone is a taut prose arrow against the twisted lies of wars.”


  • “Beah writes his story with painful honesty, horrifying detail, and touches of remarkable lyricism.”


  • “Deeply moving, even uplifting…Beah’s story, with its clear-eyed reporting and literate particularity—whether he’s dancing to rap, eating a coconut, or running toward the burning village where his family is trapped—demands to be read.”

    People (Critic’s Choice, 4 stars)

  • “Beah’s memoir, A Long Way Gone, 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.”


  • “Americans tend to regard African conflicts as somewhat vague events signified by horrendous concepts—massacres, genocide, mutilation—that are best kept safely at a distance. Such a disconnect might prove impossible after reading A Long Way Gone…a clear-eyed, undeniably compelling look at wartime violence…Gone finds its power in the revelation that under the right circumstances, people of any age can find themselves doing the most unthinkable things.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “This absorbing account…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.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • A Long Way Gone is one of the most important war stories of our generation…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.”

    Sebastian Junger, author of The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea

  • “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.”

    Steve Coll, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001

  • “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.”

    Walter Isaacson, author of Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

  • 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 intact, it’s the least you can do.”

    Jeannette Walls, New York Times bestselling author of The Glass Castle: A Memoir

  • A #1 New York Times Bestseller
  • A 2007 Time Magazine Top 10 Book for Nonfiction
  • Winner of the 2008 Christopher Award
  • Winner of the 2008 YALSA Alex Award
  • A 2008 ALA Top Book for Young Adults
  • A 2010 Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee
  • New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Nonfiction, 2007
  • A 2007 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Nominee for Current Interest
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