Thursday, July 15, 2010


Recently, at a conference in Philadelphia, I was lucky enough to hear Wes Moore speak about the formative events in his remarkable life and how through good luck and the support of real mentors he was able to change his attitude and become a genuine leader.

THE OTHER WES MOORE tells the stories of two Wes Moores, both of them involved as children in criminal activities. The Wes Moore I met, through the sacrifice of several family members, attended Valley Forge Military College (which he initially resisted), studied International Relations at Johns Hopkins, completed his M.A. as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, served in Afghanistan, worked as a White House fellow assigned to Condaleeza Rice and was a featured speaker at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. And, he's only 32.

When the Baltimore papers ran a story about Wes's Rhodes scholarship, they also ran a story about another Wes Moore who had participated in a botched robbery of a jewelry store that resulted in the death of an off-duty police officer. Wes decided to write a letter to the other Wes Moore, now serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole. What came out of their correspondence and subsequent visits in jail is recounted in this powerful memoir. As Moore observes, "the chilling truth is that his story could have been mine. The tragedy is that my story could have been his."

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