Alo Evans's Reviews > The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates

The Other Wes Moore by Wes  Moore
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's review
Feb 27, 14

really liked it
Read in February, 2011

This memoir follows two men from Baltimore with the same name. One of these men, called Wes Moore, actually named Westley, is the author of this book, a Rhodes scholar, a devoted husband and decorated officer in the United States military.

The other had a lengthy criminal record, four kids from two women, none of whom he could support and no education past his GED. He currently sits in prison, where he is sentenced to stay for the rest of his life. This Wes Moore (Wesley), was convicted for his role in a robbery that resulted in the death of an off-duty police officer as he tried to stop the thieves.

Wes, the author, began correspondence with the prisoner and put together some of each man's defining moments. Each chapter begins with a conversation they shared as one Wes visits the other. From this conversation, stems a piece of history from one boy, then the other, one teen, then the other, one young man, the the other, until reaching their adult lives. The stories do not start out very differently, as both boys grew up without fathers, both had run-ins with the law at a very young age and both were defiant and independent. It is clear, though, that one man was much more fortunate in many ways. He found hope in the form of caring individuals that were willing to give him a chance.

The life of the imprisoned Moore was not doomed from the start. There were several situations in which it was clear that choices put him in the path of easy money, as he saw it. I found it profoundly sad that as one of these young men was finding his way and earning and education, the other was being sucked into the world of dealing drugs. There were defining moments that could have completely reversed the path of either of these men, and this is the point that Westley Moore makes in this book.

The author is not self-righteous about being the successful man he is today. In fact, the reason that Wesley's story affected him so much was that he felt they had so much in common. He felt that one story could have belonged to the other. In the book, he rarely seems to take credit, even for succeeding when it was clear it had to have taken a great deal of effort. He is always grateful to his parents, even after losing his dad so early he could barely remember him. He writes about the many people in the course of his life that helped him be a better student, a better member of society and a better man. Family, friends and mentors were the reason he made it and he makes that very clear. I think those reading this book will be left with a yearning to help youth at these crossroads, where the decisions could mean the difference between success and failure, or even life and death. This is why, after his epilogue, Moore has included a list of hundreds of organizations that do just that. The names, basic description and contact information is given, along with the location of their scope of influence. I highly recommend this book and hope that those who read it are as affected as I was to be a mentor.

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