“Everyone in the world should read this book. Not just because it contains an amazing story, or because it’s our moral, bleeding-heart duty, or because it’s clearly written. We should read it to learn about the world and about what it means to be human.”
“A breathtaking and unselfpitying account of how a gentle spirit survives a childhood from which all innocence has suddenly been sucked out. It's a truly riveting memoir.”
“Beah is a gifted writer. . . Read his memoir and you will be haunted . . . It’s a high price to pay, but it’s worth it.”
“Deeply moving, even uplifting…Beah's story, with its clear-eyed reporting and literate particularity—whether he's dancing to rap, eating a coconut or running toward the burning village where his family is trapped—demands to be read.” (Critic’s Choice, Four stars)
“Beah’s memoir, A Long Way Gone
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux), is unforgettable testimony that Africa’s children—millions of them dying and orphaned by preventable diseases, hundreds of thousands of them forced into battle—have eyes to see and voices to tell what has happened. And what voices! How is it possible that 26-year-old Beah, a nonnative English speaker, separated from his family at age 12, taught to maim and to kill at 13, can sound such notes of family happiness, of friendship under duress, of quiet horror? No outsider could have written this book, and it’s hard to imagine that many insiders could do so with such acute vision, stark language, and tenderness. It is a heart-rending achievement
.” —Melissa Fay GreeneChristian Science Monitor
“When Beah is finally approached about the possibility of serving as a spokesperson on the issue of child soldiers, he knows exactly what he wants to tell the world: “I would always tell people that I believe children have the resilience to outlive their sufferings, if given a chance.” Others may make the same assertions, but Beah has the advantage of stating them in the first person. That makes A Long Way Gone all the more gripping
.” Minneapolis Star Tribune
“In place of a text that has every right to be a diatribe against Sierra Leone, globalization or even himself, Beah has produced a
book of such self-effacing humanity that refugees, political fronts and even death squads resolve themselves back into the faces of mothers, fathers and siblings. A Long Way Gone transports us into the lives of thousands of children whose lives have been altered by war, and it does so with a genuine and disarmingly emotional force
.” Philadelphia Inquirer
“What Beah saw and did during [the war] has haunted him ever since, and if you read his stunning and unflinching memoir, you'll be haunted, too . . . It would have been enough if Ishmael Beah had merely survived the horrors described in A Long Way Gone
. That he has written this unforgettable firsthand account of his odyssey is harder still to grasp. Those seeking to understand the human consequences of war, its brutal and brutalizing costs, would be wise to reflect on Ishmael Beah's story.
”The Wall Street Journal
“Beah speaks in a distinctive voice
, and he tells an important story.”
“Hideously effective in conveying the essential horror of his experiences.”
“Extraordinary . . . A ferocious and desolate account of how ordinary children were turned into professional killers.”
"A Long Way Gone is one of the most important war stories of our generation. The arming of children is among the greatest evils of the modern world, and yet we know so little about it because the children themselves are swallowed up by the very wars they are forced to wage. Ishmael Beah has not only emerged intact from this chaos, he has become one of its most eloquent chroniclers. We ignore his message at our peril." —Sebastian Junger, author of A Death in Belmont and A Perfect Storm
"This is a beautifully written book about a shocking war and the children who were forced to fight it. Ishmael Beah describes the unthinkable in calm, unforgettable language; his memoir is an important testament to the children elsewhere who continue to be conscripted into armies and militias." —Steve Coll, author of Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001, winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for general Nonfiction
"This is a wrenching, beautiful, and mesmerizing tale. Beah's amazing saga provides a haunting lesson about how gentle folks can be capable of great brutalities as well goodness and courage. It will leave you breathless."
—Walter Isaacson, author of Benjamin Franklin: An American Life
“A Long Way Gone hits you hard in the gut with Sierra Leone’s unimaginable brutality and then it touches your soul with unexpected acts of kindness. Ishmael Beah’s story tears your heart to pieces and then forces you to put it back together again, because if Beah can emerge from such horror with his humanity in tact, it’s the least you can do.”
—Jeannette Walls, author of The Glass Castle: A Memoir
Work in Progress » Blog Archive » Editor & Author: Sarah Crichton and Ishmael Beah
I published Ishmael Beah's A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier in 2007. Ishmael was born in Sierra Leone, and A Long Way Gone tells the story of how he was swept up in a civil war when he was only twelve years old.
- FSG's Work in Progress
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