- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 7 hours and 48 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Macmillan Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: June 19, 2013
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00DHOVL6S
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier Audiobook – Unabridged
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While reading this book it was clear the kind of violence took place in Sierra Leon, what wasn’t clear was what the competing groups were fighting for. It was mind-boggling to read about villages being burned and people killed for no apparent reason.
A good book to read about how and where the boy soldiers came from, especially how adults around them transformed them from being innocent children into deadly killers.
His story is riveting and the thoughtful way he writes makes this an incredible read. The sad realities of a war torn country and the corruption, desperation and killing that went on during his time are mind bending. Humans can be so good and so bad. The author has redeemed himself via great insight.
Ishmale had dreams and hopes like any young person. After so many of his family members and friends were killed, he said the idea of death didn’t cross his mind and killing had become as easy as drinking water. He was recruited by the national army to fight the rebels who just took villages and killed people. He was addicted to killing, violence and also addicted to the cocaine that the army made readily available.
After being rescued by people from UNICEF, he spent many months in rehabilitation and became a spokesperson talking to gatherings of people, advocating about child soldering and how it must be stopped.
When speaking at a conference at the United Nations about children and violence, Ishmael said “I have been rehabilitated now. I am not a soldier anymore. I am a child. We are all brothers and sisters. What I have learned from my experience is that revenge is not good. I joined the army to avenge the deaths of my family and to survive. But I have come to learn that if I am going to take revenge, in that process I will kill another person whose family will want revenge, then revenge and revenge and revenge will never end”.
As I neared the end of the book, I looked back at Ishmael’s journey in complete awe.
After his rehabilitation period, Ishmael’s anger slowly begins to fade and the horror of his young life turns around in the wonder of his advocacy as he becomes a shining light to other teens experiencing such violence.
As it says in the lyrics of the Jackson Browne song The Long Way Around “When I was a kid, everything I did was to be free, now I’m a long way gone down this wild road I’m on. It’s going to take me where I’m bound but it’s the long way around”.
The book starts off with the author describing his life before the war stretched to his village. As in life, things happen quickly and people come and go. The author's cultural value in storytelling lends to his compelling voice, bringing you to understand how a child can evolve into something so unbelievable to middle-class America.
I'll read this book again and again, and recommend to seriously anyone. The more we understand about these horrifying truths, the better we understand our fellow human.
In fact, I think that teenagers would appreciate this book more than adults. There are some areas where the story is a bit choppy or the timeline skips around. I would have preferred to learn more about Ishmael Beah's transitions from typical boy to soldier to recovering patient to healthy state to narrow escape from the ravages of his country.
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I had put off reading this for a while because I knew it would be sad (especially after w seen movies...Read more