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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This story is truly amazing
I like to say that "A Long Way Gone" is quite a depressing story but very inspiring. Ishmael Beah tells the story of becoming a boy soldier in Sierra Leone and of his later rehabilitation. This was a heartbreaking story and very difficult to read from an emotional standpoint. I read the book over a short period of time as it is so gripping that I did not want to put it...
Published on June 23 2007 by Jenny J.J.I.

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Very informative
This book is informative and teaches us how to appreciate a normal life, with a loving mother and father, rather than a father who comes and goes. This young boy survived but only by joining in the killings and butchering of hundreds of people. Very sad. Very little love in this child's life and then he turns to killing others to survive and get food, and drugs. He has...
Published 2 months ago by penelope costin


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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This story is truly amazing, June 23 2007
By 
Jenny J.J.I. "A New Yorker" (That Lives in Carolinas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: A Long Way Gone (Hardcover)
I like to say that "A Long Way Gone" is quite a depressing story but very inspiring. Ishmael Beah tells the story of becoming a boy soldier in Sierra Leone and of his later rehabilitation. This was a heartbreaking story and very difficult to read from an emotional standpoint. I read the book over a short period of time as it is so gripping that I did not want to put it down, but at the same time it brought an overwhelming sense of sorrow. The horror that Beah so well describes, was unbelievably moving.

The book is well written and flows rather nicely. However, the story itself is so incredible that, even if it were poorly constructed, it would have been worth reading. Saying that it was "worth reading" is not really adequate. All people should read it in order to remind us what the reality of life is outside of Western culture. It is partly because we block incidents like those described by Beah that they can continue to happen.

I would not presume to know how to stop the carnage that occurs in so many Third World countries, but I can not help but think that if we as a society, were more aware of them and had to face the emotions and gut wrenching sorrow that come with the knowledge of such atrocities, we would be far less willing to allow them to happen.

Ishmael Beah has demonstrated that he is a remarkable individual with great reserves. He shows what changes can come about when people are caring and thoughtful of others. I would venture to say that Ishmael Beah feels guilt for what he has done. However, I think he should be proud of the fact that he has endured and triumph over so much evil and pain in becoming who he is today. It was an honor to be allowed to read Beah's story, as it must have been as equally difficult to recount it, as it was to live through it. Highly recommended.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What an absolute stunner., Sept. 7 2008
By 
Jack Blatant (Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Long Way Gone (Paperback)
Incredible. I remember when I saw Jon Stewart's interview with Ishmael Beah that Stewart said that the book "made my heart hurt." Incredibly, terribly, amazingly true. Beah tells his story in a way that is simple and genuine. His writing style is not terribly developed and at times can be a bit rough, but that is more than compensated for by the fact that the story he has to tell is so mind-boggling. Beah chronicles the collapse of order in Sierra Leone, at least insofar as it affected his village and local area; his flight from his home and attempts to survive in the wild; his recruitment as a boy soldier, and his rehabilitation.

His story is so compelling that it held my grade eleven class of hard-bitten non-readers spellbound as I read the entire book to them aloud over the course of a few weeks. When I read the book for the first time, I went and hugged my wife and all of my children just to give thanks for their lives, and I'm not the sort of person who does that sort of thing ordinarily. (Not that I'm a jerk or anything, I just don't cry when Bambi gets shot.)

This is one of the books that everyone should read, if only to realize how damn lucky most of us are.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just my opinion, July 10 2007
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This review is from: A Long Way Gone (Hardcover)
In my opinion, all great books are depressing and at the same time, uplifting. Such is the case with LONG WAY GONE. I'm attracted to books set in exotic locales, and this one fit the bill perfectly. What I wasn't prepared for was the remarkable writing style and great story. The story of a boy becoming a man, this is no average "coming of age" tale. Ishmael Beah teaches us something great in this work--that we can change, and that we can change others. Given the situation of the world today, I can't help but think this book is all the more relevant. I've recently read three incredible books lately, and this was by far the best---actually a tie with A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS and the incredible novel MIDDLESEX by Eugenides. I highly recommend all these.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Very informative, Feb. 14 2014
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This book is informative and teaches us how to appreciate a normal life, with a loving mother and father, rather than a father who comes and goes. This young boy survived but only by joining in the killings and butchering of hundreds of people. Very sad. Very little love in this child's life and then he turns to killing others to survive and get food, and drugs. He has a cocaine habit along with other drugs by the age of 14. Astounding how anyone survives this type of life and is later saved by 'good' people and goes on to lead a normal life in the west. Should be read to get an idea of the horrors of genocide.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, Feb. 7 2014
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This review is from: A Long Way Gone (Hardcover)
This novel s a look into what usin the west almost never see. Imagining that this is a real story is beyond belief. This is a definite read!!!! For anyone taking their life for granted.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible, May 23 2013
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This review is from: A Long Way Gone (Hardcover)
What an amazing story - and so well written. Very sad but very empowering at the same time. Highly recommend this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A boy soldier's account, April 29 2013
This review is from: A Long Way Gone (Paperback)
Ishmael Beah's book "A Long Way Gone" is the written account of a boys life during wartime in Sierra Leone. Not only is the book riveting in its use of innate vocabulary, but it provides a basis for the understanding of how war effects young children and their meaning of normalcy. I think it can be generally agreed upon that children have no place in war and "A Long Way Gone" using the thoughts and actions of a prepubescent is able to accurately portray this content.

It is often regarded as a book of fiction, but when watching the interview with Ishmael Beah on a talk show, it can be clearly seen that this man was victimized by the war as a young child and managed to escape the ruthlessness that is recruiting child soldiers by the kind act of the United Nations.

Using a globalized and feminist lens, the book details such accounts of war that are hardly conceivable. This includes the use of rape as a tactical aspect of war to initiate chaos in the private sphere of the family and also the use of children in war that destroys some of the same structures of family that rape does. Overall, it was a complete destruction of the private sphere that will last decades upon decades as the children of rape grow older and the child soldiers do as well. It is incredibly rewarding to have read such a detailed first-hand account of such brutality because it gives recognition to the chaos behind the tactfulness and scientific methodology of war. It begs to question how the world organizations could not have had more of a swift role in this war as to protect the valuable culture in Sierra Leone. In fact, the use of conflict for our Globalization 3.0 high-tech smart phones plays a huge part in the conflict. The digging up of these conflict minerals for use in the screen of my cellphone alone makes me a part of this war.

It is easy to assume that the conflicts in Sierra Leone are something of the "other" and we are somehow unrelated, but we are a part of the demand and thus we are implicit. A silent supporter is a supporter none the less and there is no way to avoid this. Like it or not, the United States creates a huge demand for the conflict minerals and as long as there is a demand there is a supply. As long as there is a need to supply there is war.

I would recommend this book to future globalization courses because it shows the dangers of globalization in a more personal setting. Making the story a personal one makes the issues far more real than distancing from the actual offset of globalization.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Shocking, Dec 28 2008
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\This memoir was told so honestly and descriptively that I couldn't put it down. It made me want to run to Africa and save not only every child but every person who has been touched by this war.

The story is told from the author's perspective on everything that happened to him during a civil war in Sierra Leone. It's amazing to see how his perspective on the war and how his life changes throughout the book. Most of what was happening in Sierra Leone I had no idea about. To read about what is happening there from someone who has been there and been involved in it is truly amazing.

I started this book because we were reading it in English class but it is now one of my favourite books. I think everyone should read this memoir. After reading it I had nights where I couldn't fall asleep because I couldn't stop thinking about it. I just stayed up and thought about everything that this book talked about. Read it, you won't be disappointed.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like a moth to the flame, March 16 2007
This review is from: A Long Way Gone (Hardcover)
For some reason, I'm drawn to books that deal with a human beings ability to deal with adversity. Perhaps it's my own experiences that have played some part in this, but for whatever reason I find that these stories inspire me; bring me to a new level. Books like "Night" and "Bark of the Dogwood" come to mind---books that take you through the fire and bring you out the other side. So, it was only natural that I'd be attracted to LONG WAY GONE by Ishmael Beah. This book is not for those who want to shy away from the graphic and ferocious accounts of war. Nor is it for those who are terribly sensitive to the plights of children, especially in war times. But it really should be read, not only for its harrowing story, but for the quaility of writing. The pacing is very effective and sometimes, well, a bit too real. I recommend this read to anyone who wants to know the full impact of war.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars May not be entirely authentic, but still worth the read, July 7 2010
By 
Rodge (Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: A Long Way Gone (Paperback)
A first-person account of a child soldier that has had its authenticity challenged, and at the very least may not be independently verifiable, this is still worth the read. First of all, I don't think there's any doubt that Ishmael did indeed grow up in Sierra Leone and have some experience of the civil war. So although his account may be somewhat problematic and some things may have been added/removed to make the narrative more palatable, we're not talking a complete fabrication here. And frankly, what memoir doesn't have its credibility problems? At any rate, even if Beah's memory is faulty, we still have a pretty powerful indictment of child soldiery and a world that isn't doing nearly enough to stop it. This is not sensationalist, for the most part, and I'm afraid that what's true here includes the horrific psychological and social damage caused by civil war and the creation of child soldiers. Pick away at the evidence if you will, but there's still a story here that you need to read and need to think about - and do something about.
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A Long Way Gone
A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah (Paperback - Aug. 5 2008)
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