A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah Essay example

A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah Essay example

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Book Summary
In A Long Way Gone, Ishmael Beah, a former boy soldier with the Sierra Leone army during its civil war(1991- 2002) with the rebels of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), provides an extraordinary and heartbreaking account of the war, his experience as a child soldier and his days at a rehabilitation center. At the age of twelve, when the RUF rebels attack his village named Mogbwemo in Sierro Leone, while he is away with his brother and some friends, his life takes a major twist. While seeking news of his family, Beah and his friends find themselves constantly running and hiding as they desperately strive to survive in a land rendered unrecognizable by violence. During this time, he loses his dear ones and left alone in the wilderness, is forced to face many physical and psychological dangers. By thirteen, he has been picked up by the government army, and is conditioned to fight in the war by being provided with as many drugs as he could consume (cocaine and marijuana), rudimentary training, and an AK-47. In the next two years, Beah goes on a mind-bending killing spree to avenge the death of his dear ones. At sixteen, he was picked up by UNICEF, and through the help of the staff at the rehabilitation center, he learns to forgive himself and to regain his humanity.
Document Analysis
During the author’s life in New York and Oberlin College, he understood that people who have not experienced being in a war do not understand what the chaos of a war does to a human being. And once the western media started sensationalizing the violence in Sierra Leone without any human context, people started relating Sierra Leone to civil war, madness and amputations only as that was all that was spoken about. So he wrote this book out o...


... middle of paper ...


...it may help us arrive at an understanding of the war situation through the eyes of what were those of an innocent child. It is almost unique in the sense that this was perhaps the first time that a child soldier has been able to directly give literary voice to one of the most distressing phenomena of the late 20th century: the rise of the child-killer. While the book does give a glimpse of the war situation, the story should be taken with a grain of salt.






Works Cited

http://observer.com/2008/02/ithe-australiani-continues-assault-on-ishmael-beahs-credibility-citing-school-records/
http://oneminutebookreviews.wordpress.com/tag/a-long-way-gone/
http://chrisblattman.com/2008/03/05/credibility-a-long-way-gone/
http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2008/03/the_fog_of_memoir.html
http://resources.mhs.vic.edu.au/contextwhosereality/Downloads/ishmaelbeah.pdf

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