A Long Way Gone,” Ishmael Beah’s harrowing 2007 memoir of his years as a child soldier in Sierra Leone’s brutal civil war, turned him into not just a best-selling author but also, for many, a potent symbol of hope. Here was someone who had emerged from years of murderous frenzy to write a memoir of not just

uncommon horror but uncommon tenderness, topped by a smiling, open-faced author photo one reviewer called “welcome and timely reassurance” of the enduring power of humanity.