As someone who grew up in Baltimore and NYC, I am aware of the mean streets and privileged parts of both cities. The insights provided by the author about "the other Wes Moore" still haunt me as a mother, grandmother, and "brother's keeper" in belief system. Both boys had loving mothers, both boys have exceptional skills, both boys had opportunities: the difference between them seemed to be a Father figure---a man to respect who contributed half of their genes. In the author's case, his father left him through death, in the other's case, his father was not a presence after the sperm donation. It's more than a good example for a son, it's an image to respect in order to gain self respect and a moral compass as the boy matures to the man.
This is not just a fascinating and well-written story, but a story that makes you ponder how any child can ever escape the bleak inner city and why we, in America, even have such places of desperation. And for every mother who ever threatened their child with the prospect of military school, this one's for you! Wes Moore is a great narrator as well.
I enjoyed this book. It is primarily a chronicle of the different opportunities and choices Wes Moore and Wes Moore made, and it allows the reader (listener) to discern the impact of different events on the two boys and young men. Having read many ethnologies, this falls into that category better than a proper memoir. The narration was very good and made listening enjoyable.
What a dissapointment. The concept of this book is very intriguing. The social context of juxtaposing these two fellows with the same name resulting in very different lives. Wes Moore is more an apologist than an analyst. He is more of a Condoleezza Rice than a Cornell West of black academia. Late in the book we learn Moore was in fact towing the coat tails of Condoleezza Rice for a full year. Moore is willing to accept the social injustices as simple happenstance combined with military training. Sending every black boy to military school is an unrealistic means of achieving social justice.