Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Other Wes Moore, by Wes Moore

On the day that an announcement of the author's becoming a Rhodes Scholar appeared in his home-town newspaper, another item announced that a man of the same name had been sentence to life in prison for his part in a robbery/murder. The author found himself nearly obsessed with how two people with the same name, from the same town, of the same age, and with similar backgrounds could have had such radically different outcomes. Eventually, he met the imprisoned Wes Moore and began researching his story. The book recounts the two men's childhoods, adolescence, and young adulthood (the author is quite an accomplished person).

I can understand why the author found this question so intriguing, but the conclusion that, with different breaks, either of the men could have gone the other direction, does not seem all that helpful or insightful.  (And I am loath to think that military school, which is where the author ended up for an extended time, is the solution for the problems of young men who get into some trouble at traditional school.) Overall, I found the book well-intentioned but disappointing.

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