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The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates

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The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates Cover

ISBN13: 9780385528191
ISBN10: 0385528191
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Staff Pick

The Other Wes Moore is the fascinating tale of two men who shared a name and a birthplace; their lives started out in similar circumstances and ended up very differently (one a Rhodes Scholar, the other serving a life sentence in jail). A moving, intelligent, and gripping work.
Recommended by Tessa, Powells.com

Review-A-Day

"Fatherhood is a touchy subject among black American men. Well over half of black kids grow up in a household without a dad. No wonder black public figures ranging from Louis Farrakhan to Bill Cosby to President Barack Obama have exhorted black men to "step up" and be responsible fathers. Some liberal advocates dismiss these pleas as bootstrap sermons that blame poor blacks for systemic problems. Others, conservative and liberal alike, counter that the three pillars that once bolstered black Americans — community, school, and family — are now miserably failing at-risk black kids, not least because of the plague of deadbeat dads." Rich Benjamin, The Wilson Quarterly (read the entire Wilson Quarterly review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Two kids with the same name lived in the same decaying city. One went on to be a Rhodes Scholar, decorated combat veteran, White House Fellow, and business leader. The other is serving a life sentence in prison. Here is the story of two boys and the journey of a generation.

 

In December 2000, the Baltimore Sun ran a small piece about Wes Moore, a local student who had just received a Rhodes Scholarship. The same paper also ran a series of articles about four young men who had allegedly killed a police officer in a spectacularly botched armed robbery. The police were still hunting for two of the suspects who had gone on the lam, a pair of brothers. One was named Wes Moore. 

Wes just couldn’t shake off the unsettling coincidence, or the inkling that the two shared much more than space in the same newspaper. After following the story of the robbery, the manhunt, and the trial to its conclusion, he wrote a letter to the other Wes, now a convicted murderer serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole. His letter tentatively asked the questions that had been haunting him: Who are you? How did this happen?

That letter led to a correspondence and relationship that have lasted for several years. Over dozens of letters and prison visits, Wes discovered that the other Wes had had a life not unlike his own: Both had grown up in similar neighborhoods and had had difficult childhoods, both were fatherless; they’d hung out on similar corners with similar crews, and both had run into trouble with the police. At each stage of their young lives they had come across similar moments of decision, yet their choices would lead them to astonishingly different destinies.

Told in alternating dramatic narratives that take readers from heart-wrenching losses to moments of surprising redemption, The Other Wes Moore tells the story of a generation of boys trying to find their way in a hostile world.

 

Review:

"Two hauntingly similar boys take starkly different paths in this searing tale of the ghetto. Moore, an investment banker, Rhodes scholar, and former aide to Condoleezza Rice, was intrigued when he learned that another Wes Moore, his age and from the same area of Greater Baltimore, was wanted for killing a cop. Meeting his double and delving into his life reveals deeper likenesses: raised in fatherless families and poor black neighborhoods, both felt the lure of the money and status to be gained from dealing drugs. That the author resisted the criminal underworld while the other Wes drifted into it is chalked up less to character than to the influence of relatives, mentors, and expectations that pushed against his own delinquent impulses, to the point of exiling him to military school. Moore writes with subtlety and insight about the plight of ghetto youth, viewing it from inside and out; he probes beneath the pathologies to reveal the pressures — poverty, a lack of prospects, the need to respond to violence with greater violence — that propelled the other Wes to his doom. The result is a moving exploration of roads not taken." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

One of the top young business leaders in America delivers the true story of two boys born in the same neighborhood in the same town with the same name, and their starkly different fates.

Video

About the Author

Wes Moore is a Rhodes Scholar and a combat veteran of Afghanistan. As a White House Fellow, he worked as a special assistant to Secretary Condoleezza Rice at the State Department. He was a featured speaker at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, was named one of Ebony magazine’s Top 30 Leaders Under 30 (2007), and, most recently, was dubbed one of the top young business leaders in New York by Crain’s New York Business. He works in New York City.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

izzybatz, January 25, 2011 (view all comments by izzybatz)
The two lives profiled in the book are so multi-faceted that it generates discussion. One life alone propelling along it's course in time is affected by a multitude of factors. The author begins with just one factor--for different reasons, they both had a missing father. As the story progresses, you begin to see more details emerge that contribute to the fates of the growing individuals. Although the author presents factors, you will find yourself suggesting some of your own ideas on the matter.

The book opened up facts about growing up in a very real drug neighborhood and the feelings and thoughts of those living there. I own a new perspective on this statistical group.

Schools have made this book required class reading. The two Wes Moores will agree this is a smart move on the educational systems's decision making.

Upon finishing this read, you may see where you HAVE fit into another's life journey, or you may see where decisions you make COULD make a difference.

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PM1968, April 20, 2010 (view all comments by PM1968)
I had never heard of Wes Moore before I was lucky enough to be in the audience at the Oprah Winfrey Show when he was a guest (episode air date 04/27/10). As a parting gift, we received an advance copy of The Other Wes Moore. In the few minutes that our Wes Moore was on stage, I was immediately struck by his charisma, enthusiasm for life and belief in a brighter future for others who begin life as he did. I read the book from cover-to-cover the moment I returned home.

As I read the book I was searching for the thought processes that made this Wes Moore, successful and upwardly mobile in life and the other Wes, headed for defeat and failure. I wanted to know what this Wes Moore was made of – whether innately there or implanted and nurtured by others. The book sheds light on this.

Our Wes Moore comments, “Young boys are more likely to believe in themselves if they know that there’s someone, somewhere, who shares that belief. To carry the burden of belief alone is too much for most young shoulders.” At crucial junctures when our Wes was unable to carry the burden, his mother, friends, grandparents and mentors helped shoulder it with him but he remained part of the mix.

By contrast, from prison, the other Wes Moore comments, “We take other’s expectations of us and make them our own. The expectations that others place on us help us form our expectations of ourselves. We will do what others expect of us. If they expect us to graduate, we will graduate. If they expect us to get a job, we will get a job. If they expect us to go to jail, then that’s where we will end up too. At some point you lose control.” To that, our Wes Moore, adds, “True, but it’s easy to lose control when you were never looking for it in the first place.”

Both Wes Moore’s started out with the odds stacked against them and innately, I think both wanted to succeed but there finally came a time when they each chose a different path for themselves. At a later point in his life when our Wes is firmly on the right path, he visits South Africa and speaks with a woman who survived apartheid. She states, “The common bond of humanity and decency that we share is stronger than any conflict, any adversity, and challenge. Fighting for your convictions is important but finding peace is paramount. Knowing when to fight and when to seek peace is wisdom.”
Also in South Africa, Wes meets a boy who is days away from going through the Xhosa adult circumcision ritual and when Wes asks if the boy is scared of the pain and the process, the boy replies, “It’s not the process you should focus on; it’s the joy you will feel after you go through the process.”

That sums up the meaning of this book for me. Life is a process and the end result is the prize. Our Wes Moore is deserving of joy. He has earned it and he continues to pay it forward in his life.

I am now a fan of Wes Moore. I have no doubt that his name will become a household when the Oprah show airs and his book hits newsstands. Pick up several copies, as I have, to give as gifts to those looking for inspiration – a local Boys and Girls Club or other families-helping-families type organization would benefit greatly from this book.

Ultimately, I think you are left with the realization that we are responsible for ourselves and for each other. These are not mutually exclusive actions. Wes benefitted from a loving, self-sacrificing family but he kept himself as part of the equation. The other Wes removed himself at some point. Keep your eyes on this rising star!
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780385528191
Author:
Moore, Wes
Publisher:
Spiegel & Grau
Author:
Smiley, Tavis
Afterword by:
Smiley, Tavis
Afterword:
Smiley, Tavis
Subject:
Ethnic Studies - African American Studies - General
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
Youth -- Conduct of life.
Subject:
Baltimore (Md.)
Subject:
cultural heritage
Subject:
African American Studies
Subject:
Biography - General
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20100431
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
2 8-PP B/W PHOTO INSERTS
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
10.10x5.68x1.03 in. 1.06 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Health and Self-Help » Self-Help » Memoirs
History and Social Science » African American Studies » General
History and Social Science » American Studies » General

The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$8.50 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Spiegel & Grau - English 9780385528191 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

The Other Wes Moore is the fascinating tale of two men who shared a name and a birthplace; their lives started out in similar circumstances and ended up very differently (one a Rhodes Scholar, the other serving a life sentence in jail). A moving, intelligent, and gripping work.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Two hauntingly similar boys take starkly different paths in this searing tale of the ghetto. Moore, an investment banker, Rhodes scholar, and former aide to Condoleezza Rice, was intrigued when he learned that another Wes Moore, his age and from the same area of Greater Baltimore, was wanted for killing a cop. Meeting his double and delving into his life reveals deeper likenesses: raised in fatherless families and poor black neighborhoods, both felt the lure of the money and status to be gained from dealing drugs. That the author resisted the criminal underworld while the other Wes drifted into it is chalked up less to character than to the influence of relatives, mentors, and expectations that pushed against his own delinquent impulses, to the point of exiling him to military school. Moore writes with subtlety and insight about the plight of ghetto youth, viewing it from inside and out; he probes beneath the pathologies to reveal the pressures — poverty, a lack of prospects, the need to respond to violence with greater violence — that propelled the other Wes to his doom. The result is a moving exploration of roads not taken." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "Fatherhood is a touchy subject among black American men. Well over half of black kids grow up in a household without a dad. No wonder black public figures ranging from Louis Farrakhan to Bill Cosby to President Barack Obama have exhorted black men to "step up" and be responsible fathers. Some liberal advocates dismiss these pleas as bootstrap sermons that blame poor blacks for systemic problems. Others, conservative and liberal alike, counter that the three pillars that once bolstered black Americans — community, school, and family — are now miserably failing at-risk black kids, not least because of the plague of deadbeat dads." (read the entire Wilson Quarterly review)
"Synopsis" by , One of the top young business leaders in America delivers the true story of two boys born in the same neighborhood in the same town with the same name, and their starkly different fates.
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