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A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier: Home

Guide to Ishmael Beah's memoir of the civil war in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone/Africa

Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone Scenery

School Destoyed in Civil War

Koldu Market

Koldu Street

All People's Congress (APC) Political Rally in Kabala 1968


Here are a few things to think about when reading A Long Way Gone:

  • How group-think changes an individual’s thoughts & behavior
  • The need to belong
  • Changing social relationships in times of chaos
  • Reclaiming former personality after change & trauma
  • Family & community life before, during, and after a period of upheaval
  • The pathway through self-healng and reintegrating into society


    The Sierra Leone Civil War (1991-2002) was in part a reaction to government corruption and economic collapse. It began when the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), with support from the special forces of Charles Taylor’s national Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), began their attempt to overthrow the government.

    According to the Encyclopedia of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, an estimated 150,000 people died in the war, more than half the country was rendered homeless, 600,000 refugees (12% of the population) fled to neighboring countries, more than 200,000 women were raped, and about 1,000 civilians suffered the amputation of one or more limbs. 

    For more information about the Sierra Leone Civil War and its use of child soldiers, go to World History in Context and search for Sierra Leone child soldiers.

    For more information about child soldiers, go to Global Issues in Context.


    IMPORTANT:  You must create a Films on Demand account in the Library  to view these films from other locations.  Setting up an account is easy.  Any of the librarians can walk you through the process.

    Films on Demand has several films exploring the Sierra Leone Civil War, including:

    Selected Articles

    Selected Websites