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A Long Way Gone

by Ishmael Beah

Added by: DEnver



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 them.What is war like through the eyes of a child soldier? How does one become a killer? How does one stop? Child soldiers have been profiled by journalists, and novelists have struggled to imagine their lives. But until now, there has not been a first-person account from someone who came through this hell and survived.In A Long Way Gone, Beah, now twenty-five years old, tells a riveting story: how at the age of twelve, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence.

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ISBN: 0374531269
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All quotes: 22


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At crowded villages where we sometimes stopped to spend the night, the men stayed up to keep an eye on us. When we went to the river to wash our faces, mothers would grab their children and run home.


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My children, this country has lost its good heart. People don’t trust each other anymore. Years ago, you would have been heartily welcomed in this village.


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“If you are alive, there is hope for a better day and something good to happen. If there is nothing good left in the destiny of a person, he or she will die.”


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There was no soap, but in the forest there was an area that had a particular kind of grass that could be used as a substitute.


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I had passed through burnt villages where dead bodies of men, women, and children of all ages were scattered like leaves on the ground after a storm. Their eyes still showed fear, as if death hadn’t freed them from the madness that continued to unfold. I had seen heads cut off by machetes, smashed by cement bricks, and rivers filled with so much blood that the water had ceased flowing.

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