Long Way Gone, by Ishmael Beah

The NOVEL Novel

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Like I did for author Lauren Oliver, in looking for information on Ishmael Beah’s memoir, I went straight to the source– his website.

New York City, 1998

My high school friends have begun to suspect I haven’t told them the full story of my life.

“Why did you leave Sierra Leone?”

“Because there is a war.”

“Did you witness some of the fighting?”

“Everyone in the country did.”

“You mean you saw people running around with guns and shooting each other?”

“Yes, all the time.”

Cool.

I smile a little.

“You should tell us about it sometime.”

“Yes, sometime.”

This is how wars are fought now: by children, traumatized, hopped-up on drugs and wielding AK-47s. Children have become the soldiers of choice. In the more than fifty conflicts going on worldwide, it is estimated that there are some 300,000 child soldiers. Ishmael Beah used to be one of…

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