- Paperback: 250 pages
- Publisher: Spiegel & Grau; Reprint edition (January 11, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0385528205
- ISBN-13: 978-0385528207
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1,166 customer reviews
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#3,742 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #5 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Specific Demographics > Minority Studies
- #5 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Library & Information Science > General
- #26 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Specific Demographics > African-American Studies
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The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates Paperback – January 11, 2011
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“Startling and revelatory . . . a rocketing real-life narrative.”—Baltimore Sun
“A moving book . . . a call to arms.”—Chicago Tribune
“This intriguing narrative is enlightening, encouraging, and empowering. Read these words, absorb their meanings, and create your own plan to act and leave a legacy.”—Tavis Smiley, from the Afterword
“[A] compassionate memoir—a story that explores how some survive and others sink in urban battlegrounds.”—People
“Moore vividly and powerfully describes not just the culture of the streets but how it feels to be a boy growing up in a world where violence makes you a man.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
“Inspiring . . . a story for our times.”—Alex Kotlowitz, author of There Are No Children Here
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.
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Passages of Mr. Moore's book made my stomach hurt. It is a wonderful example showing how the trope "pull yourself up by your own bootstraps" to rise out of poverty is pure B.S. The author clearly understands that he had an extended family who personally sacrificed in an effort to save him from being claimed by the streets. It does take a village. The other Wes Moore, however, was not so fortunate despite also being quite intelligent. 'The Other Wes Moore' is snapshots of events which occur between their early childhood in 1982 through to 2000. Mr. Moore writes in a sensitive manner and does a good job explaining the mood of the kids living in black slums as well as the enticements and many obstacles in their way. I grew up in a rural Maine paper mill town. Alcoholism was a big problem but, compared to what is portrayed in 'The Other Wes Moore', our small community had it made.
Our country is littered with ghettos which are landmarks of generational racism towards minorities. Mr. Moore's book like other such works as 'There Are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in The Other America' by Alex Kotlowitz effectively humanize the inner-city predicament. The challenges of living in slums are not someone else's problem. It's a national disgrace and requires a collective effort to rectify or at the very least ameliorate. The author did a public service by writing the book. I'm gonna go hug my sons.
One thing that was difficult about this book is that you are very aware that this was written by a person who only had first-hand knowledge of his own story. So, when reading another character's internal dialog or details about an interaction that he was not a part of, instead of being engrossed in the story I began asking myself, "I wonder who provided that detail? Who provided that perspective?" And the action began to be viewed differently depending on who I thought had actually provided the content.
It must have been extremely difficult to get that information. So, for that, the details of the story are amazing. But, I think those very same content providers also may be hindering the book. I think we have a man convicted of a crime who wants to be free. Perhaps is exploring appeals. I have no idea. But he's still claiming his innocence against overwhelming evidence. Then, another content provider for the book is his mom, who I'm sure would also love to have her son be released. So I feel like we're being fed a filtered "truth" from the convicted Wes Moore and family. Such as convicted Wes Moore's mom dumping all of his drugs down the toilet, yet Wes had found pot in his mom's closet. Would she actually have dumped pot down the toilet or set that aside? Why the hypocrisy of throwing out drugs when also okay with using some? I also feel like she would have known that flushing the drugs could have put him in a serious situation in regards to owing money to dealers who may not have peacefully resolved the debt. This who scene didn't feel true to me. Perhaps I just needed more internal perspective from mom.
We are also left with the impression that his mom assumed he was guilty, given her behavior while he and his brother were on the run, yet there is no statement about that from his mom in the book. Or even proclaiming his innocence. Maybe it's that silence that is the most telling. Overall, the book was good, but I feel like it could have been so much more. I feel like we are left with an unresolved feeling.
I wish convicted Wes could have admitted his wrongdoings, describing and explaining his actions while on the run.
The celebrated Wes Moore lists some of his accomplishments at the end of the book, but there is almost a feeling of embarrassment in regards to celebrating his success. As if he is overwhelmed by survivor's guilt. It was probably hard to say, okay, this guy is spending the rest of his life in prison, but let's now look at what I've accomplished. Perhaps this could have been best accomplished by quoting his mom. (Mom's love to brag! :)
I feel like there was a lot of story left on the table, and what was not said in some ways feels heavier and more significant.