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Customer Review

65 of 70 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating story.....with some blanks, June 1, 2010
This review is from: The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates (Hardcover)
This is a very well-written book, with a fascinating story to tell. It's clear that the author has done his research and he demonstrates the reason for "the other" West Moore's life turning out the way it did. What is less excellent is that he does not provide the same level of insight into his own life, particularly in his teen-age and later years. [We get a great deal of detail of his early life and his feelings of displacement, his skipping school, etc.]. Yes, he tells what happened and what he did but he leaves out the guts. For example, he goes from describing the initial days of Valley Forge Military Academy to, suddenly, his position as leader of the 700-strong Cadet Corps. What happened in between? Yes, he names his mentors there but what did HE do? For another example, he attends junior college at VFMA - and, suddenly, he is eligible for Johns Hopkins despite less-than-required grades. OK, it appears that there was some affirmative action here but that would not account for his graduating from Hopkins Phi Beta Kappa (at least, I hope not). What happened to make him such a stellar student?

It's clear by the end of the book that the author is a star - and I'm not giving away anything that is not on the book jacket. Unfortunately, I didn't feel that I really knew him or what made him tick. Nonetheless, I would recommend the book for the extraordinarily detailed and insightful portrait of his and the other Wes' early lives.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 11, 2010 11:14:07 AM PDT
ishism says:
You know I wondered about this as well. I would like to understand the turning point in military school. We missed how he went from serial runaway to cadet corps leader. I'm not so concerned about getting in his gaining admittance to Johns Hopkins, as those born into privelige but not the smarts often matriculate from Ivy League schools because of their names/money. Affirmative action (and it's not a dirty word to me) might have gotten him in the door but would not have resulted in his graduating Phi Beta Kappa at Johns Hopkins.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2010 2:00:06 AM PDT
You make a very fair point about affirmative action not accounting for his Phi Bete graduation from Hopkins, although it seems that it could certainly account for his admission. The turning point at Valley Forge Military Academy is so critical, obviously, and I wonder that neither the author nor the editor noticed the hole created. Whole books have been written JUST about such turning points......and it is missing here.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 16, 2010 4:25:31 PM PST
BMD says:
I went to Hopkins for graduate school and now teach at another university. Hopkins doesn't really go for affirmative action, but they, and my university, do prize diversity, and not just for Blacks. Hopkins aims to produce stars and if they see star potential in someone they will far more at that than SATs or grade point average, of course the same can be said for their recruiting lacrosse players. Also, it's been my experience that students prize diversity even more than school administrators. More than twenty years ago when I first began teaching, my university was 95% white and upper middle class. We found ourselves losing some of our best students because they didn't think school was the real world. We have more diversity now--and that includes Hispanics and lower middle class white kids---and our selectivity has gone up. I can tell you that we've never had a student from Idaho, but if a reasonably qualified student applied he would not only get in but almost certainly receive financial aid--to aid our diversity.

Posted on Dec 18, 2010 9:26:51 AM PST
Emily Joy says:
I agree with you. I think that the "turning point" that Wes experienced in military school could have easily shown a contrast to what was missing in the second Wes's life, that contributed to his lifetime sentence.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 18, 2010 7:27:05 PM PST
Thanks, Emily. Maybe that turning point would have made the book more appealing and thus a better seller....

Posted on Dec 9, 2012 10:22:11 PM PST
Horse Crazy says:
I think he wants us to fill in the blanks. The elder student at Valley Forge.... Hill, if we fill in the blanks, had a huge impact on him and was the role model the other Wes did not have. His brother cared deeply about him but was flawed.
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