Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier” as Want to Read:
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

4.15  ·  Rating Details ·  119,230 Ratings  ·  8,953 Reviews
My new friends have begun to suspect I haven't told them the full story of my life.
"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."
"Cool."
I smile a little.
"You should tell us about it sometime."
"Yes, sometime."

This is how wars are fought now: by children, hopped-up on
...more
Audio CD, 0 pages
Published August 5th 2008 by Macmillan Audio (first published February 13th 2007)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Long Way Gone, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Diane Armstrong You read the book, first, making notes about your observations about
the book's different aspects...story, characters, language, author if relevant,…more
You read the book, first, making notes about your observations about
the book's different aspects...story, characters, language, author if relevant, point of the book, what you learned from the book if it gave a lesson(s) to you.

Then you write a small essay about those feaatures and your evaluation of their quality for its audience.

OK?(less)
ChiaraK You are wrong and right at the same time. Though this book contains mature themes and you need have a small background of whats happening, this can be…moreYou are wrong and right at the same time. Though this book contains mature themes and you need have a small background of whats happening, this can be understood by a middle school or up student. I am in middle school, and though I am very exposed to lots of the material in the book, I understood it fully. It was such a good book. I just want to make sure that your question didn't stop anyone from reading it. It is so good and very educational.(less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Chris
Jan 31, 2008 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I will never. Never. Complain about my childhood again.

Okay, that's not true. I will. But when I let out a sad sigh of remorse that I didn't figure out exactly why I really wanted to be friends with that one guy in band in high school until it was way too late to do anything about it, I will at least think, "At least I wasn't killing people and snorting gunpowder."

Like most of you reading this, I knew absolutely nothing about what was happening in Sierra Leone in the 1990s. I didn't know there w
...more
Jennifer (aka EM)
I'm sorry, I'm so very sorry for what I am about to do. It seems unbelievably curmudgeonly of me to judge this book harshly given its subject matter. But I can't let the deep empathy I feel for this former Sierra Leonean child soldier cloud my judgement of his memoir. I give him five stars - more! - for his courage, his honesty and the remarkable work he is doing to shed light on the life of child soldiers in Sierra Leone and elsewhere; to raise consciousness and motivate political action to put ...more
Whitney Atkinson
May 26, 2017 Whitney Atkinson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017, memoir
4.5 Stars

TW: Violence/gore, rape, drug abuse

This book reminded me of Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys, not because their subject matter is anything alike, but because I had the same reaction to both books. Throughout the duration of the book it was very impactful and heavy, and I may have shed a tear or two, but as soon as I closed the book the weight of it just fell upon me and it made me start crying in full.

Wow. This book is truly unlike anything I've read before. I can't even fathom t
...more
Praj
Mar 04, 2010 Praj rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dear Ms. Naomi Campbell,

I have always been an ardent aficionado of your work; from your heydays sashaying the YSL runaways along with Linda Evangelista to crooning in George Michael’s Freedom video. Your numerous sexual trysts with celebrated oligarchs and other questionable chaps were highly fascinating although not marvelous. But lately, you seem to forego your sadistic tantrums and suffer from a transient global amnesia. Is it due to those numerous chalky dust lines running through your nasal
...more
Elyse
Jul 22, 2010 Elyse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book in 2007 when this book was first released. It was a year when local High School kids in our area were assigned to read this book. Then later in the year --Ishmael came to speak at our local state University to a room of more than 1,000 people.

It was a powerful night!

Ismael Beach was 26 years old when this book came out. He tells his story of becoming a child soldier in Sierra Leone and of his later
rehabilitation.

Heartbreaking -(horrors) - children in war..fighting, killing, d
...more
Nandakishore Varma
Nov 20, 2011 Nandakishore Varma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs
This is a very important book, though not an easy one to read. Ishmael's style leaves a lot to be desired, and he is especially weak, I feel, when he tries to be philosophical. But he makes up for that with the descriptions of war, to the depravity which human beings can descend to. The fact that he does this with a child's candour, unemotionally, makes it even more disturbing.

Children can be easily moulded. And cruelty comes easily to children, because they do not think of it as "cruel" in the
...more
Muhammed Hebala
Mar 05, 2014 Muhammed Hebala rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
كتاب جميل جدا
و ذكريات صعبة جدا جدا جدا
و عمل إنساني فوق الوصف
أنا فعلا مش متخيل ازاي ممكن إنسان يمر بكل الأحداث دي و يفضل على إنسانيته
و كمان متخيل كمية الألم و هوه ماسك القلم و بيفتكر اللي مر بيه و يعيشه من تاني و يكتبه
ازاي الصراع من أجل البقاء ممكن يحولك لحيوان ضاري مفترس, و إزاي ينسيك آدميتك, وازاي شهوة السلطة بتعمي لدرجة انهم يجندوا أطفال في حرب أهلية

الكتاب رائع و مؤثر جدا جدا, إشمائيل كتب بصدق و سحر توفيق ترجمت بأجمل أسلوب , فعلا هيه دي الترجمة

الكتاب موجع لكنه مهم إنك تقراه و تعرف الدنيا حوالي
...more
steven
Feb 02, 2008 steven rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ahmad Sharabiani
A Long Way Gone. Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, Ishmael Beah
تاریخ نخستین خوانش: نوزدهم فوریه سال 2016 میلادی
عنوان: راهی طولانی که رفتم، خاطرات یک کودک سرباز؛ نویسنده: اسماعیل بئا (به آ)؛ مترجم: مژگان رنجبر؛ تهران، کوله پشتی، 1394؛ در 240 ص؛ شابک: 9786007642412؛ چاپ دوم 1395؛
شاید رقمی بالغ بر سیصدهزار کودکْ سرباز، نشئه از مواد مخدر، و کلاشنیکف به دست، در بیش از پنجاه منازعه و جنگ، در سرتاسر دنیا حضور داشته باشند. «اسماعیل به آ» یکی از همین کودکْ سربازان بوده، و یکی از نخستین افرادی ست که داستان و مشا
...more
Amr Mohamed

قصة مؤلمة جدا...لم اقرأ عن السيراليون قبل ذلك...

اتفرجت علي فيلم
Blood diamond
وشوفت ازاي المتمردين بيجندوا الاطفال ويتم تحويل طفل برئ يخاف كل شئ الي قاتل محترف

وايضا فيلم
Lord of war
الذي اوضح ان تجارة السلاح تساهم او السبب الرئيسي وراء تلك المذابح التي تتم في افريقيا..

فذلك الكتاب يحكي
قصة حياة اشمائيل الطفل الذي فقد عائلته واخذ يهرب خائفا ومرعوبا من المتمردين ، الذين تمردوا علي فساد الحكومة فقاموا بأعمال اسوأ مليون مرة من الحكومة

اعمال سرقة وقتل واغتصاب وحرق احياء وتمثيل بالجثث وقطع رؤس وتجنيد الاطف
...more
Rebecca McNutt
For anyone out there who thinks war is "exciting" or "cool", that it's like a videogame or a film, this harrowing account from a former child soldier will make you think twice, no doubt about it. As he recalls the fear, grief and horror of the situation, his story becomes really powerful and one that hopefully people will remember for a long time.
Marc
Aug 20, 2007 Marc rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who wants to broaden their cultural horizons
Gut-wrenching and virtually unbelievable to a modern, Western-minded suburban sheltered life, this compelling first hand account of contemporary struggle and tragedy landed like a thud in my soul. I read the book in about three days, and unfortunately it tempered my view of the people around me, wondering what atrocities they were capable of committing, what sort of terror these faces or even my own hands could carry out under the right circumstances. In the end, though, it is a tale of individu ...more
إبراهيم   عادل
Mar 23, 2013 إبراهيم عادل rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to إبراهيم by: Arwa
هذا الكتاب/المذكرات .. يستحيل في ظني ألا تتعاطف معه ..
هنا شهادة صادقة وموحية وأليمة لأحداثٍ عاشها كاتبها يومًا بيوم، واستطاع ببراعة فائقة أن يصفها ويعرضها بتفاصيلها القاسية المؤلمة، ويبدو لي أن الكاتب تمرَّن كثيرًا على الكتابة، أو هو ـ على الأقل ـ موهوبٌ بالفكرة، لأنه استطاع أن يعرض لحياته مع كل هذا الألم بهاذ التشويق، وعرض لحظات ومشاهد حيَّة كانت بالغة العذوبة والبساطة والتأثير معًا ..
كلًَّما قرأت فصلاً من الكتاب أو جزءًا منه كنت أعود إلى صورة الغلاف وأتخيَّل ذلك الطفل المسكين الذي قادته ظر
...more
Lain
Nov 30, 2007 Lain rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As an over-privileged white American, it can be tough to even begin to fathom the struggles and atrocities that Africans face. When I started reading this book, I wondered if the stories Ishmael Beah would tell would be so horrific that I couldn't continue to read, much less comprehend, them.

However, Meah tells his tale with a blend of humor, distance, and insight that took me right to the edge. Any further, and I think I would have shut down. Any less far, and I believe I wouldn't have gotten
...more
Sarah Arlen
Aug 08, 2007 Sarah Arlen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: favorites
This is one of those uber-rare books that everyone in the world should be required to read. If I can cry while reading it on a train full of strangers and feel lifted up at the end of its conclusion, than I think it's touching in all the best ways. It is one of the most sincere books I've ever read in my life and contains chronicling of a type of human experience that I've never seen and find too easy to ignore, that of the child in a war state on the front lines. For those of you who love stori ...more
Lucy
Feb 07, 2008 Lucy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Heartbreaking. I can't believe people have life experiences like Ishmael Beah. Ishmael, a 27 year-old refugee from Sierra Leone now living in New York City, left his home with his brother and some friends to practice a new rap routine in a neighboring village. He was twelve years old. He never saw his home or his parents again. Rebel forces attacked his village, killing most, and causing the rest to flee.

Without a home to return to, he and his peers managed to spend several months wandering from
...more
Diane
Nov 16, 2007 Diane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"If you are alive, there is hope for a better day and something good to happen."

This is an amazing memoir about a child soldier in Sierra Leone. In 1993, when Ishmael was 12, rebels attacked his village and he fled, never to see his parents again. After weeks of walking and scrounging for food, he was picked up by the government military, given an AK-47 and was trained how to fight. The boys were given drugs, including cocaine and amphetamines, and sent into battle. Ishmael spent years fighting
...more
Kristine
Jul 25, 2007 Kristine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book- short, simple, he describes his experience as a child soldier. Pretty amazing, bc you figure not that many of those child soldiers have the opportunity or inkling to write about it. I do wish the book had a clearer timeline and sense of the history and politics surrounding his personal experience in the conflict, but hey- the guy is not a historian, so I am not gonna bitch about that.

The topic of the Sierra Leone conflict though is FASCINATING, not to mention disgusting when you see w
...more
James
Mar 01, 2008 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finally got around to reading the highly lauded A Long Way Gone.

“Africa breaks your heart.” That’s what David Denby of The New Yorker concluded at the very beginning of his review for “Blood Diamond,” drawing on the then recent releases of “Hotel Rwanda,” “The Constant Gardener,” “And The Last King of Scotland.”

I concur, having read Ishmael Beah’s memoir relatively close on the heels of Dave Eggers’ What is the What and Beasts of No Nation. I suppose I could complete the cycle with This Voice
...more
Walid Elalfy
Nov 07, 2011 Walid Elalfy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
في كل مرة يأتي أناس إلينا وهم عازمون على قتلنا كنت أغلق عيني وأنتظر الموت. ورغم أني مازلت حياً، أشعر في كل مرة أسلم فيها للموت وكأن جزءاً مني يموت وسرعان ما سوف اموت تماما وكل ما سوف يبقى هو جسدى الفارغ يسير معكم . سوف يكون اكثرا هدوءا منى ”

ان تكون جلاد وضحيه فى نفس الوقت . انا تحارب من اجل كل شىء ومن اجل لا شىء , ان تنتزع الادميه والبراءه من الاطفال ويتحولوا الى قتله يتسابقون من فيهم الاسرع فى قطاع الرقاب ومن يقتل بطريقه اكثرا ايلاما . ان تحمل اشجار الغابه جميعها نقاط دماء لتظل شاهده طوال العمر
...more
Tania
Sep 25, 2013 Tania rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, audio
I listened to this on audio, and I adored the author's accent. I struggled to really emphathize with Ishmael for the first half of the book as the horrors of what was happening with him was so far removed from what I know. I can't even imagine children having to deal with these situations - as a victim, and as a perpetrator. The section that dealt with the rehabilitation of the child soldiers were my favorite section in the book. I admire the people who have the heart and the guts to do these am ...more
BAM The Bibliomaniac
How horrific! The amount of trauma both incurred and inflicted is immeasurable. What these boys have experienced simply to have their needs met is no way to live. Ishmael is the exception not the rule.

2017 Lenten nonfiction Buddy Reading Challenge book # 37
Salsabil Emam
Apr 14, 2012 Salsabil Emam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
الكتاب يجذبك من أول صفحة لآخر صفحة .. لقد صحبني الكاتب إشمائيل بيه معه في رحلته الشاقة الطويلة .. هذه الرحلة التي لن تملك سوى أن تدمع عيناك معه في بعض صفحاتها .. و بدلاً عنه في البعض الآخر !!! رحلة تأخذك لجمال طبيعة أفريقيا .. تحديداً هنا في سيراليون .. جمال أحراشها .. ونقاء أهلها .. الترابط المجتمعي المفقود في المدن الضخمة .. ثم تفاجئ معه ببدئ هجوم المتمردين و بدء الحرب .. ستُفاجئ و كأنك جزء من الحكاية في رحلة شاقة على النفس .. هذه الحرب التي تبدأ فجأة في عصر من الظلم الذي لم يكن يتصور أن يُقلب ...more
فتحي سرور
الكتاب مؤلم جداُ و هذا طبيعي كونه يتناول مواضيع كالحرب الأهلية و تجنيد الأطفال،وما يجعل تلك المواضيع أكثر ألماً هو تناولها في قصص فردية بعيداً عن الأحصاءات.

الكتاب يعرض في البداية لصور من نشأة أسماعيل و شغفه بالمويسقى واللعب في جو أسري هادئ ،لكن تصدمه الحرب التي تفرقه عن أبويه و أخيه الأصغر و كل رفاقه بأستثناء أخيه الأكبر و أثنين من أصدقائه سيشاركونه الهرب من قرية إلى قرية تحت وطأة الحرب الأهلية و مجازرها المفجعة قبل أن يفترق عنهم مرغماُ في أحدى تلك الفاجعات،ليواصل الهرب منفرداُ مدة قصيرة قبل أن
...more
Toai Trinh
Dec 10, 2013 Toai Trinh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ishmael Beah’s A Long Way Gone tells the story of himself, a young teen in the midst of political upheaval, where rebels everywhere are killing many of the innocent civilians of Africa. The book is set in Sierra Leone, where many African rebels were causing chaos at every town they passed by. Hoping to survive and maybe reunite with his family, Ishmael runs around Sierra Leone, where rebels hope to recruit young Africans like Ishmael himself. Ishmael wanders around Sierra Leone, examining the p ...more
Donna
What an incredibly sad story. This book went full circle as it covered the life of a little boy in war-torn Sierra Leone. It starts out with him happily tucked between two families that love him, then he is ripped out of that little piece of reality . This story covers how the limits one sets for himself in life can be eroded away by life experiences that pick away at that line, blurring it, especially when survival and safety are on the line. Such tragedy.
Chelsea Cripps
May 25, 2007 Chelsea Cripps rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was one of the more incredible books I've ever read. The book is the true story of the author's life in Sierra-Leone, and the story of many other children swept up in the war there. When the author is 12-years-old his village is destroyed and his family lost. He wanders for years, sometimes with groups of other boys, sometimes alone, trying to avoid the rebels and to find a safe place to exist. Eventually swept into the war, hopped up on drugs and handed guns, the boys find themselves soldier ...more
محمد على عطية
أفضل تعليق يمكن كتابته عن هذا الكتاب هو تعليق أختي سلسبيل إمام هنا
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

و ما يمكن أن أزيده هو أن أقول أن هذا الكتاب هو قصة حقيقية مؤثرة عن الصراع في بلدٍ لا يدري أكثرنا أن حوالي 70% منه يدين بالإسلام, لكن ستعرف الكثير خلال قراءتك للكتاب عن طبيعة الدين الذي يختلط بالتراث الشعبي و الأديان القديمة, كما ستتعرف على نمط العلاقة التراحمي في هذا الجزء من القارة السوداء و بالأخص في القرى

ربما يكون من الجميل أن تشاهد فيلم Blood Diamond
قبل أن تطالع الكتاب, و أن تعلم أن ترا
...more
Yazeed AlMogren
Aug 17, 2016 Yazeed AlMogren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
عندما يجتمع الجهل والفقر يحدث مالا يمكن لعقل الإنسان أن يتخيله، يتحدث مؤلف الكتاب عن طفولته عندما تم تجنيده وهو في سن الثالثة عشرة ليشارك في الحرب الأهلية في سيراليون، الكتاب يعتبر من أفضل الكتب التي تتحدث عن قضية تجنيد الأطفال في الحروب
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
In the 1990s Sierra Leone, a small country in West Africa, found itself sinking into a very bloody internal war between corrupt government soldiers and armed rebels. It lasted at least ten years, and while now the country is stable and has a booming tourism industry, during the war countless innocent civilians were slaughtered and hundreds of boys were recruited by both sides.

Ishmael is twelve when the rebels arrive at his small mining town in the south-west, not so far from the ocean. He is wit
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Book Review 1 9 Jan 18, 2017 04:29PM  
Book Review 1 6 Nov 08, 2016 06:41AM  
A Long Way Gone Review 2 13 Jun 30, 2016 08:22AM  
  • An Ordinary Man: An Autobiography
  • War Child: A Child Soldier's Story
  • The Translator: A Tribesman's Memoir of Darfur
  • They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky: The True Story of Three Lost Boys from Sudan
  • Tears of the Desert: A Memoir of Survival in Darfur
  • Kaffir Boy: An Autobiography
  • The Bite of Mango
  • Africa's World War: Congo, the Rwandan Genocide, and the Making of a Continental Catastrophe
  • Do They Hear You When You Cry
  • God Grew Tired of Us: A Memoir
  • Notes from the Hyena's Belly: An Ethiopian Boyhood
  • They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children: The Global Quest to Eradicate the Use of Child Soldiers
  • Facing the Lion: Growing Up Maasai on the African Savanna
  • Nine Hills to Nambonkaha: Two Years in the Heart of an African Village
  • Darfur Diaries: Stories of Survival
  • Love in the Driest Season: A Family Memoir
  • Blood Diamonds: Tracing the Deadly Path of the World's Most Precious Stones
  • 28: Stories of AIDS in Africa
24189
Ishmael Beah was born in Sierra Leone in 1980. He moved to the United States in 1998 and finished his last two years of high school at the United Nations International School in New York. In 2004 he graduated from Oberlin College with a B.A. in political science.

He is a member of the Human Rights Watch Children’s Rights Division Advisory Committee and has spoken before the United Nations, the Cou
...more
More about Ishmael Beah...

Share This Book



“Some nights the sky wept stars that quickly floated and disappeared into the darkness before our wishes could meet them. ” 1577 likes
“In the sky there are always answers and explanations for everything: every pain, every suffering, joy and confusion.” 210 likes
More quotes…