The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates
Wes Moore, 2010
Two kids with the same name were born blocks apart in the same decaying city within a year of each other. One grew up to be a Rhodes Scholar, army officer, White House Fellow, and business leader. The other is serving a life sentence in prison. Here is the story of two boys and the journey of a generation.
In December of 2000, the Baltimore Sun ran a small piece about Wes Moore, a local student who had just received a Rhodes Scholarship.
The same paper ran a huge story about four young men who had 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 of their names was Wes Moore
Wes Moore, the Rhodes Scholar, became obsessed with the story of this man he’d never met but who shared much more than space in the same newspaper. Both had grown up in similar neighborhoods and had had difficult childhoods.
After following the story of the robbery, the manhunt, and the trial to its conclusion, he finally he wrote a letter to the other Wes, now a convicted murderer serving a life sentence without possibility of parole. His letter tentatively asked the questions that had been haunting Wes: Who are you? Where did it go wrong for you? How did this happen?
That letter led to a correspondence and deepening relationship that has 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: they were both fatherless, were both in and out of school; they’d hung out onsimilar corners with similar crews, and had run into trouble with the police.
And they had both felt a desire for something better for themselves and their families—and the sense that something better was always just out of reach. At each stage of their young lives, they came across similar moments of decision that would alter their fates
Told in alternating dramatic narratives that take readers from heartwrenching 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. (From the publisher.)
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