|Publisher:||Farrar Straus & Giroux|
|Publish Date:||Aug 2008|
|Number of Pages:||229|
|Shipping Weight (in pounds):||0.5|
|Product in Inches (L x W x H):||5.75 x 8.25 x 0.75|
Rarely does one encounter anything but outrage, sadness, and pain when reading about the exploitation of child soldiers, but Beah's account also offers hope, humility, bravery, and, yes, peace. Beah was 13 years old when rebels attacked nearby villages in his native Sierra Leone. He was separated from his family (he learned later that they perished) and was on the run from both the rebels and the Sierra Leone Military Forces for over a year.
Eventually captured by the military, which could behave as horrendously as the rebels, the boy was forced to join the army, carrying guns or grenade launchers. Like the thousands of other children traumatized by these events, Beah needed rehabilitation when his "tour of duty" was over. A former juvenile center turned counseling house afforded him a safe haven. After being chosen to speak at a UN conference in New York, he began the long process of relocating to the United States.
The brutality of war is brought out early in this narrative, and just to have survived is amazing. Beah writes with frankness and honesty about his experiences but also with other people in mind; his account of the healing process after the horrors he saw is remarkable. His book, especially relevant in today's world, should be in all high school, public, and academic libraries.
- James Thorsen, Madison Cty. Schs., Weaverville, NC
(c). Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
In this real-life Beasts of No Nation, Beah details his experience as a 13-year-old compelled by government forces in his native Sierra Leone to pick up an AK-47. Now he's a member of the Human Rights Watch Children's Division Advisory Committee.
"Why did you leave Sierra Leone?"
"Because there is a war".
"You mean, you saw people running around with guns and shooting each other?"
"Yes, all the time".
I smile a little.
"You should tell us about it sometime".
What is war like through the eyes of a child soldier? 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 until now, there has not been a first-person account from someone who came through this hell and survived.
In A Long Way Gone, Beah, now twenty-five years old, tells a riveting story: 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.
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