Published in 2007 by Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux, Ishmael Beah’s memoir, A Long Way Gone, is one of the few memoirs written about child soldiers. Critics have called it a testament to the desecration of war-torn, third-world countries. Throughout the memoir, Beah avoids self-pity and melodrama and develops his story as he remembers it. Critics around the country hail Beah’s memoir as being hauntingly honest; the memoir is delivered in prose that is vivid, calm, and accessible. After its release, the book became a national bestseller and was selected as the first reading selection for the Starbucks reading club. The Library Journal praised the memoir and stated that it should be made available in all high school and public libraries.
The publication of A Long Way Gone thrust Beah into the role of spokesperson for the issue of child soldiers. He is currently a member of the Human Rights Watch Children’s Rights Division Advisory Committee, and he has spoken before the United Nations and several other NGOs. Beah continues to work on behalf of child soldiers for their rescue and rehabilitation.
Despite the overwhelming success of A Long Way Gone, there have been several claims posited by the media that challenge the authenticity of Beah’s story. Three reporters from the Australian claim that the details in Beah’s memoir are highly exaggerated based on alleged conversations with a man claiming to be Beah’s father. Beah says in his memoir that his entire family was killed in a fire during a village raid; however, a reporter from the Australian claims to have met the father during a trip to Sierra Leone. The Australian has published several articles attacking the authenticity of A Long Way Gone,to which Beah’s publishers have directly responded. Laura Simms, Beah’s foster mother in the United States, drafted a series of questions based on details that Beah gave her that could only be answered by Beah’s true father. When the responses came back incorrect, Simms realized that the allegations of Beah’s supposed father were false. Beah has made public statements denouncing the claims made by the Australian and attesting to the verity of the events in A Long Way Gone.
A Long Way Gone Argument Essay examples
990 WordsMar 21st, 20134 Pages
December 5, 2012
A Long Way Until The End of This Essay
The author of A Long Way Gone argues against boy soldiers but also against the loss of innocence. Beah’s parents are burned alive by the rebels; this is the first step towards his animosity towards them. In his story he talks about snorting brown brown, shooting men and how he was slowly corrupted by the men around him, turning him into a machine. It tells the story of a world as horrendous as any imagined by the darkest of fiction writers. However, upon completion of the book, I have realized that I have made a journey from darkness to redemption along with the author. Look in the book where the UNICEF officials are dehumanizing the…show more content…
Despite the violence caused by the children, one of the staffers, Nurse Esther, becomes interested in Ishmael, learning about his childhood love of rap music. As a gift Esther gets him a rap cassette and Walkman, when she takes Ishmael and his friend Alhaji to the city. It is through this connection and his numerous counseling experiences with Esther that Ishmael eventually turns away from his violent self and starts to heal from his mental wounds. The second part of the book takes an uncompromising look at the difficulties this entailed for the boy soldier and his peers, who for a long time resist the most determined efforts to restore their humanity, their anger at having been taken from their family. Children are meant to be protected from violence and war. They are extremely vulnerable both physically and psychologically, to abuse and misguidance. They are easily influenced by those around them because they are young and incapable of forming independent opinions. Adult soldiers at Ishmael’s base were snorting brown brown and smoking marijuana, Ishmael, as naive as any child would be, was influenced by these people and looked up to the adults as role model and leader and so he began to do it as well. “I took turns at the guarding posts around the village, smoking marijuana and sniffing brown brown” The job of a soldier is to fight wars, to take lives, to kill if not be killed. If these children are taught hatred