NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The “compassionate” (People), “startling” (Baltimore Sun), “moving” (Chicago Tribune) true story of two kids with the same name from the 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.
In development as a feature film executive produced by Stephen Curry, who selected the book as his “Underrated” Book Club Pick with Literati
The chilling truth is that his story could have been mine. The tragedy is that my story could have been his.
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 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.
BONUS: This edition contains a new afterword and a The Other Wes Moore discussion guide.
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. \n
The other Wes Moore
Great book, makes you stop and think about how it how it does require a town to bring a child into this world.
This is a beautiful book. Well written, intriguing and inspiring. It is amazing what is possible for those who believe.
Full of Topics for Discussion
I read this book with my soon-to-be-fourteen son. I loved the fact that with each reading session, there were plenty of topics for us to talk about. The author does a great job of showing the importance of individual choices, but also makes the reader wrestle with the notions of support, opportunities, and resources.
The author also does not finish the book with some grand position of having all the answers. Instead, he makes us each think about the possible “answers” ourselves (and perhaps have us reflect about what we can do as individuals and communities).
The book was mature enough to hold my attention as an adult, yet fast-paced enough to keep my teenaged son engaged (not an easy task). I recommend this book for any and all parents of young children (regardless of gender or race) because it helps springboard conversations that parents and children should have.