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

The Other Wes Moore by Wes  Moore
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's review
Oct 22, 2011

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bookshelves: read-books-2011
Read from October 22 to 29, 2011

Two Wes Moores, two fates: both grow up poor and fatherless in an urban environment, both have skirmishes with the law when they are young, but while one goes on to military school, becomes a decorated Army veteran, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Johns Hopkins and a Rhodes Scholar, the other continues on a path to more serious crime, fathers four children out of wedlock, and is eventually convicted for murdering an off-duty cop and will spend the rest of his life in prison.

The successful Wes Moore was so curious about the path of the man who shared his name that he ended up writing to and eventually visiting him in prison. He then spent three years interviewing others involved in both mens' lives, in an attempt to describe the parallels in their journeys and the fateful point where their paths diverged.

Though Obama may have the edge in terms of writing style, Moore's prose is engaging. He makes it sound like just a little slip one way or another and his path might have been the same as the Wes Moore that is in jail. But there are some important differences: Wes Moore the "success" had a mother and grandparents who were college graduates, and who were able to muster some resources to send him away to school when it was clear his neighborhood influences were dragging him down. Wes Moore the prisoner had none of those advantages.

I thin the author would want readers to focus less on what made one Wes a star and one a prisoner, however. His stated goal is that society should provide more opportunities for success for all its Wes Moores. That's a motive I can support.

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