Literary Criticism and Significance
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...
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