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A Long Way Gone PDF is the memoir of Ishmael Beah, who grew up during the civil war in Sierra Leone. This first-hand account tells of a young boy who becomes an unwilling soldier in that war.

When he was twelve, his village was attacked while he was away with friends. He wanders from village to village with his brother and some friends in search of food and shelter. In their struggle to survive the boys find themselves doing things they never would have thought they were capable of. This would include stealing food from children.

Eventually, Ishmael is conscripted as a soldier by the army. During his time there he becomes the very thing he always feared: a killing machine capable of horrible violence. The army becomes Ishmael’s family. He is brainwashed into believing that each rebel’s death will avenge his own family’s slaughter. The boys become addicted to cocaine, marijuana, and other drugs. These give the boys courage to fight and the ability to repress their emotions.

Written by Beah in the United States after he returned to civilian life, this book provides real-life insight into how children can be coerced to commit terrible acts of violence. His story is ultimately a striking portrayal of the horror of war, the innocence it crushes, and the small acts of kindness amidst the carnage.


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