A Long Way Gone Book Summary (PDF) by Ishmael Beah

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Why This Book Matters:

A Long Way Gone tells the story of the children of Sierra Leone amidst the civil war in the African country once focused on peace. The young boys of Sierra Leone are the focus of this story, for many were turned from young boys playing with their friends to brainwashed killing machines.

The Big Takeaways:

  1. A war erupted suddenly in Sierra Leone, changing life itself for many civilians.
    1. If Despite the Western belief that Africa is consistently in a state of war, it’s simply not true, and the eruption of a civil war in Sierra Leon took a toll on a nation once at peace.
  2. The most affected group of the civil war were children.
    1. Children often found themselves alone, away from their families, and attempting to craft a form of survival despite their little experience with the real world.
  3. Boys were in danger because everyone viewed them as a threat.
    1. Both sides of the rebellion viewed young boys as a threat, leading to the harm or death of many young boys.
  4. The nation of Sierra Leone put boys on the frontlines of the civil war.
    1. Young boys were expected to fight for their country. Being a child soldier was a sad reality for many young boys.
  5. Young boys were heavily influenced physically and mentally to become a proper soldier in the war.
    1. The young boys were forced to consume drugs and were brainwashed by the nation’s army so they would be good at killing with little remorse.

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