A long way gone: memoirs of a boy soldier, by Ishmael Beah, is the true story of a twelve year old boy who lost his parents in an attack on his village. While he, his brother, and their friends escaped immediate death, they were nevertheless forced to survive by hiding and by stealing food, even from other children. At the age of thirteen, Ishmael was conscripted (forced into military service) by the Sierra Leone army to fight against rebel soldiers in a civil war. The army became his family, and they trained him to be a ruthless killer. He and the other child soldiers were given drugs to suppress their fear instincts and to dull the horror of their actions in the service of the army.
Despite the trauma of being a child soldier, Ishmael survived. And, even more so, he became a writer. A long way gone is his story, how he survived the war, and how, with the help of good friends, he was able to rebuild his life.
The things that happened to Ishmael were, and are, unspeakable. But they must be spoken. People need to know that this happened. Seriously. Read the book.