The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates
By Wes Moore
Spiegel & Grau; 256 pages
"It takes a village to raise a child," goes the African proverb. This book is a cautionary tale of what happens when the village is ill equipped to do so. The author, a Rhodes scholar and investment banker, intercuts his life story with that of another young man with the same name. Both were born around the same time in the same Baltimore neighborhood; both were fatherless; both suffered under the weight of poverty, drugs and crime. The other Wes Moore, however, will spend the rest of his life inside a prison cell for murder. "Wes's story could have been mine; the tragedy is that my story could have been his," Moore writes. Of course, nothing is ever that simple. When it appeared her son's life was headed for disaster, the author's mother moved in with her supportive parents and found money to send him to military school. Yet despite interviews with family and the other man, we never fully understand the other Wes Moore's motivations. The author knows it took many helping hands to save his life. In the case of the other Wes Moore, there appears to be no clear answer as to what went wrong.