A Long Way Gone: Memoirs Of A Boy Soldier By Ishmael Beah

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A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of A Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah is a memoir of

his experiences as a soldier during the civil war in Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone is a country

in West Africa that had a civil war that lasted from 1991 till 2002. The war started when

Revolutionary United Front (RUF) attempted to overthrow the Joseph momoh

government. The war resulted in over 50,000 deaths. During the civil war, children as

young as seven years old were recruited to serve in the army but they weren't really

recruited at all, they were threatened to join or they would be killed or kidnapped.

Ishmael was threatened and forced to join the army of Sierra Leone at the age of

twelve. By that time he was a killing machine. Ishmael describes his experiences of …show more content…

During his time in

the army Ishmael becomes addicted to drugs (marijuana, cocaine and other pills). One

day a UNICEF truck comes to his normal life, but Ishmael and many others have

withdrawals from drugs. During his rehabilitation he is reminded of his love for rap

music. With help of rap and a nurse named Esther, Ishmael is be fully rehabilitated. He

then goes to live with his Uncle Tommy in Sierra Leone. Ishmael is chosen to meet and

speak with the UN about his experiences as a child in the war. While he’s there he meets

Laura Simms, a good role model for him. After he returns to Sierra Leone he escapes and

catches a flight to America, where he is adopted and lives with Laura.


An important theme throughout the book is Survival. Ishmael is forced to survive

on his own after he loses his family and friends. Ishmael survives his training in the army.

Then he is forced to fight on the front lines of battles. During his rehabilitation, Ishmael

fights his addiction to drugs, and in the end he wins. Ishmael survives all of these

obstacles, flees to America and lives happily ever after.


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