About the Author

Ishmael Beah

Ishmael BeahIshmael Beah was born in Sierra Leone in 1980 and moved to the U.S. in 1998. In 2004 he graduated from Oberlin College with a B.A. in political science. He is a member of Human Rights Watch Children’s Division Advisory Committee, and has spoken before the United Nations, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Center for Emerging Threats and Opportunities (CETO) at the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory. Beah’s writings have appeared in Vespertine Press and LIT magazine. He lives in New York City.

A Long Way Gone is a unique autobiography about the civil war in Sierra Leone, as recorded by one who took up an AK-47 at the age of 12. Now in his mid-20s, Beah is both perceptive and eloquent in his account of fleeing attacking rebels, searching for his lost relatives, seeking out food and shelter in the bush, and wandering a land rendered unrecognizable by brutality and violence. Yet once he’s been picked up and recruited by the government army, Beah, a gentle boy at heart, finds that he, too, is capable of truly terrible actions. A Long Way Gone is a mesmerizing work that addresses a 21st-century, and international, nightmare: the collision of war and childhood.