A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier – Ishmael Beah.
Shocking. Violent. Graphic. This book opened my eyes to some of the realities of civil war and conflict for me. I think when we hear these stories in the news of conflicts in Africa and other places, we somehow don’t really get it. This book helped me get it. In it, Ismael Beah tells the story of how one day while away from home visiting a friend the civil war in Sierra Leone reached his home. He is 12 years old, and alone. Little does he know that he’ll never see his family again, and in his attempts to find safety finds himself conscripted into the army, addicted to drugs and committing horrendous acts of cruelty as a boy soldier. He even tells of children he knew who were in training at the age of 7 or 8.
He is one of the ‘lucky’ ones who was helped to get away from the front lines and eventually rehabilitated. He now lived in New York where he works to help children in conflicts.
An excellent book.