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The Other Wes Moore  By  cover art

The Other Wes Moore

By: Wes Moore,Tavis Smiley - afterword
Narrated by: Wes Moore
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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best seller.

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 listeners 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.

©2010 Wes Moore (P)2010 Random House

Critic Reviews

“Moving and inspiring, The Other Wes Moore is a story for our times.” (Alex Kotlowitz, author of There Are No Children Here)

“A tense, compelling story and an inspirational guide for all who care about helping young people.” (Juan Williams, author of Enough)

“This should be required reading for anyone who is trying to understand what is happening to young men in our inner cities.” (Geoffrey Canada, author of Fist Stick Knife Gun)

What listeners say about The Other Wes Moore

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Insightful lesson in self-determination

If you ever thought your life was written out in the stars, or that you were dealt a bad hand at birth due various reasons, reading this book should change your mind. You can be anything or anyone you want to be, with people around you who believe in you. That might be the most important part, that not only is your fate not written in stone at birth, but you have to listen to the role models around you in order to succeed. You might have to leave your present neighborhood because too many people do not have an interest in seeing you succeed. As a matter of fact, to the contrary, they might want to see you fail because "misery loves company." The same idea of writing your own ticket with your own self-adopted mentors is also described in the autobiography, I Beat the Odds by Michael Oher. It is a fabulous book written by an amazingly reflective young man. These two books should be required high school reading (especially in inner city or rural schools) along with the 7 Habits of Highly Successful Teens, and The Four Agreements.

11 people found this helpful

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Compare and Contrast with Te-Nehisi Coates

All three men’s narratives — Wes Moore’s and Coates Between the World and Me — give a perspective of the African American /minority’s tensions, energy, grit, and depth of being. Highly recommended for all interested in bridges rather than walls.

5 people found this helpful

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He doesn't know what made the difference! Really?

I almost threw the book across the room when I got to the part where the author says he doesn't know what made the difference between him and the other Wes Moore! Are you serious? You literally wrote a book about it! YOUR MOTHER and YOUR ENVIRONMENT made the difference! If it wasn't for her pulling you out of the ghetto, and putting you into a respectable environment of the military school, you'd end up similar to the other Wes Moore. I hope to God, you thank your mother every day for it; and if you don't I hope she beats you with a slipper!

Are we sure the author went to John Hopkins? I watched an interview with him and he said the word "especially" like "eXpecially". That was it for me. I needed to eXscape the ignorance!

5 people found this helpful

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Two lives!

I became interested in this book last year. My son in law's brother had to read it for school. They live in California. He summarized the book in a way that peaked my interest! I just finished this audio book for the second time. I glean more insight with every session. Thank you Wes Moore and Wes Moore. Your candor and beautiful story telling made me feel close to both of you. I appreciate both of you sharing yourselves with the world! I love in Southern Maryland, but I am very familiar with Baltimore and it's regional issues.

4 people found this helpful

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I couldn't stop listening.

I found myself being late for appointments because I would sit in my car in the parking lot waiting to hear what happens next. Not only is this a good story (actually two stories), but also a wonderful example of weaving two intertwining timelines together to create a synergistic narrative.

3 people found this helpful

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Genetics? Environment? Luck?

The Other Wes Moore is the story of two guys with the same name, living in the same city, fatherless with both having had run ins with the police. However, one turns into a Rhodes Scholar while the other ends up serving a life sentence. What was the difference? Did their fates separate because of genetics? Environment? Luck? Or did one of the guys surround himself with people who kept pushing him to see more than what was right in front of him allowing his choices to pave a different future?

1 person found this helpful

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Very inspiring

I could not stop listening to see the different perspectives and how it is still a struggle for under served.

1 person found this helpful

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The Other Wed Moore

I got this book on my summer reading list. It was an interesting book, but I read the book then had to listen to it. Then I got the difference between the two Wed Moore's

1 person found this helpful

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Biography and Autobiography in One

What other book might you compare The Other Wes Moore to and why?

If you enjoy reading biographies of contemporary people, you might also enjoy The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, by William Kamkwamba, or Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different, by Karen Blumenthal, or Aung San Suu Kyi, by Sherry O'Keefe.

Any additional comments?

The author Wes Moore had a challenging childhood. His father died when he was very young, his mom had to work multiple jobs to support their family after his death, and they had to live in neighborhoods plagued with drugs and gangs.

Moore survived his turbulent youth, however, and went on to become a decorated war veteran, college graduate, and Rhodes scholar. It was when he was in South Africa on his Rhodes fellowship that his mother told him about another young man, about his age, and from his home town, who had just been arrested for robbing a jewelry store; the robbers had killed a security guard. This young man’s name was also Wes Moore, and this Wes Moore was convicted to a life sentence in prison.

The shock that there could be another person, with his identical name, growing up in a very similar situation who ended up in such a different place made the author want to understand the other Wes Moore, and how their lives had diverged so significantly. This is the biography and autobiography of the two Wes Moores.

1 person found this helpful

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Enlightening! Great book!

What made the experience of listening to The Other Wes Moore the most enjoyable?

Opening my eyes to the deep quagmire of issues that poor young black men face. It was very honest and poignant.

What did you like best about this story?

Seeing how both boys struggled and how their support structure made all the difference.

1 person found this helpful