A Long Way Gone

Memoirs of a boy soldier by: Ishmael Beah


Ishmael Beah, the writer of “A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier”, was born in Sierra Leone in 1980. In 1991 a Civil war began in his country. The rebels invaded his home town, Mogbemo, and he was forced to flee. He was forced to become a child soldier. Later After he escaped, he was adopted and moved to New York City where he attended the United Nations International School. In 2004 he graduated from Oberlin College with B.A in political science. He is now a member of the Human Rights Watch Children's Rights Division Advisory Committee.

Brief summary of the Sierra Leonne war

The Revolutionary United Front, a rebel group, took over Sierra Leone in attempt to overthrow the “Joseph Momoh”. The Rebels were composed of mostly child soldiers who were brainwashed to fight for them. the war lasted 11 years.

Memoir Summary

A Long way gone is a memoir written by Ishmael Beah about how his home town was taken over by rebels who were fighting in the civil war of his home country. Ishmael is forced to become a child soldier to fight in the civil war.

Before he was forced to become a child soldier he was a refugee, running from the rebels along with his brother and a few friends. Looking for food and a safe place to stay they wonder from village to village to survive.

Eventually he is forced by the government to become a soldier to fight the rebels off. He is brainwashed to believe that killing rebels will avenge his dead family members. Also while he is fighting in the war, he along with other boys become addicted to cocaine and marijuana which where given to the soldiers by the government to keep them calm while fighting and killing.

Ishmael continues to fight as a soldier until his Lieutenant hands his troop over to UNICEF. Ishmael along with other child soldiers are taken to rehab where Ishmael recovers from the war physically and mentally before leaving to live with his extended family in New York.



“Some nights the sky wept stars that quickly floated and disappeared into the darkness before our wishes could meet them. ”

― Ishmael Beah, A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

This is symbolizes how help was too far for their cries of help to be heard

“...children have the resilience to outlive their sufferings, if given a chance.”

― Ishmael Beah, A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

This explains the mind set that the rebel leaders were in and why they created child soldiers

“I joined the army to avenge the deaths of my family and to survive, but I've come to learn that if I am going to take revenge, in that process I will kill another person whose family will want revenge; then revenge and revenge and revenge will never come to an end...”

― Ishmael Beah, A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

This is Ishmaels realization that violence is not the answer, it just leads to more violence.

Writers Purpose

Ishmael wrote this memoir to tell his story and let the people who read it know what happened in the war, to explain what why he killed other people and also to vent the way he felt about his actions.

Major Themes

family is all you have.

Violence is not the answer.


The stars: the stars are hope but hope is so far, like a star.

The moon: a person who never does anything wrong, nobody dislikes the moon, it provides light and is beautiful.

Personal Reaction

I was very appalled at what the kids were forced to do and how it brainwashed the kids to thinking that killing was OK. An over all interesting memoir. It really made me thankful to have a safe life.

Personal Recomendation

I recommend this book to anyone who can handle reading this kind of brutal and graphic material. It is a very eye opening book that will bring a first world person to be thankful for their safety.


Brrrrrrraa brrrrrrraaa

1 dead

we must have revenge

Brrrrrrraaa brrrrraaa

5 dead

we must have revenge

brrrraaa brrrrraa

10 dead

we must have revenge

brrrrrrrrrraaa brrrrrrrrrrrraa

15 dead

we must have revenge.

We will never have revenge.