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The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates Hardcover – April 27, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
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Several months earlier, in the same paper, Mr. Moore had noticed a series of articles about two young black men who killed a Baltimore policeman while robbing a jewelry store. The name of one of the killers struck him: his name was Wes Moore.
This coincidence prompts the author to seek out "the other Wes Moore." He contacts Wes in prison. "How did this happen?" he asks. The question jumpstarts the story of these two young men whose life paths diverged, one into triumph, the other into tragedy.
The author comes to realize that this seemingly complicated story, a too-familiar story that is freighted with societal, economic and racial impact, comes down to a few simple moments in time. "These forks in the road can happen so fast for young boys," he says. "Within months or even weeks, their journeys can take a decisive and possibly irrevocable turn."
I would more specifically pin the divergence on the boys' mothers. The author is born into a two-parent home, both parents college educated, but his father dies when Wes is just three. His mother moves to the Bronx, so that her parents can help provide a stable home life. She works multiple jobs so that she can put her boys in private school. When the author starts to feel the pull of the streets, she packs him off to military school.
The other Wes Moore grows up in a single-parent household of starkly different character. His father is absent and his mother frequently dumps him on friends and family so she can go out clubbing.Read more ›
That probably would have made for an interesting book, but Moore chose to examine his life and the second Wes Moore's life in parallel with one another in an effort to determine where-- and, more importantly, why-- their fates diverged. That makes this an important book, because it raises a critical question: What makes so many young men-- and particularly black, poor young men raised mostly by their mothers-- choose the drug trade and all of the violence that attends it as a career?
As it turns out, Moore can't answer that question. As he explains, both he and the other Wes Moore were raised at the same time in the same high-poverty, drug- and crime-plagued area. They both began to struggle in school at about the same time. They both had early brushes with the law due to petty crimes at about the same time. However, their lives took dramatically different paths.
Moore never specifically says it, but nonetheless, as one reads his account of their parallel lives, the difference is in the ways that their mothers lived their own lives and reacted to what their sons were doing.Read more ›
In the end, I was left with the impression that this was a vanity project for the author.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Quite simply, one of the best books I've ever read. Very thought-provoking; it made me question the absolute randomness of everything. Read morePublished 1 hour ago by Tom Reeves
Touching book. Very thoughtful and well written. I was not disappointed and learned a lotPublished 1 day ago by cggycgycf
Well written and true story. I found it a compelling read as you learn forces that lead to different paths. Good read!Published 2 days ago by Amazon Customer
Hate the book but needed for a college class reading. Delivered on time and in great condition, cannot complain.Published 4 days ago by Maccadoo
This was a great read it shows how two men grew up in the same area but their lives turned out so differently...they came together to tell their stories.Published 4 days ago by Amazon Customer
Tracking two black boys from Baltimore over the first 30 years of their lives, Moore evokes images of the precarious and delicate paths that young men like them must navigate. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Desiree
Great book. Really makes you think and reflect. Received in a timely manner which was great.Published 9 days ago by ElizabethR