The first-person account of a 26-year-old who fought in the war in Sierra Leone as a 12-year-old boy.
This is the story of how wars are fought now: by children, hopped-up on drugs and wielding AK-47s. In more than fifty conflicts going on worldwide, it is estimated 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. Ishmael Beah, now twenty-five years old, tells a riveting story: how at the age of twelve in Sierra Leone, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognisable by violence. By thirteen, he'd been picked up by the government army, and Beah, at heart a gentle boy, found he was capable of truly terrible acts.
This is a rare and mesmerising account, told with real literary force and heartbreaking honesty. Ishmael Beah came to the United States when he was seventeen, and graduated from Oberlin College in 2003. He lives in New York City.