Facts in 2007 Best-selling Memoir Challenged by Australian Newspaper

by Staff

A newspaper in Australia recently published a report challenging the accuracy of A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier (Sara Crichton Books, 2007), a debut book by Ishmael Beah that was marketed in Starbucks and chosen as one of the best nonfiction books of the year by Time magazine. The Australian alleges that Beah's chronology in the book, which recounts his experiences as a child who was forced to fight in Sierra Leone's civil war, is innacurate, and that his claim that he spent two years as a soldier, beginning when he was thirteen, may be flawed. The newspaper alleges that Beah was in fact fifteen when he was recruited into the army and that he therefore served only a few months.

Beah, his publisher, and his agent, Ira Silverberg, have not yet commented on the report.