The first-person account of a 26-year-old who fought in the war in
Sierra Leone as a 12-year-old boy. 'My new friends have begun to
suspect that I haven't told them the full story of my life. "Why
did you leave Sierra Leone?" "Because there is a war." "You mean,
you saw people running around with guns and shooting each other?"
"Yes, all the time." "Cool." I smile a little. "You should tell us
about it sometime." "Yes, sometime."' This is how wars are fought
now: by children, hopped-up on drugs and wielding AK-47s. There are
more than fifty conflicts going on worldwide and it is estimated
there are some 300,000 child soldiers fighting. 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 unrecognizable 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 mesmerizing account, told with real literary
force and heartbreaking honesty.