In late 2000, Wes Moore, an ex-military officer and soon-to-be Rhodes scholar, came across a series of articles in the Baltimore Sun that caught his attention. They chronicled the aftermath of a robbery gone awry: A few months earlier a group of armed men had broken into a Baltimore jewelry store, and in the process of making their escape, shot and killed an off-duty police officer named Bruce Prothero. It wasn't just the violence of the act that shocked Moore, it was the name of one of the suspects: Wes Moore. Several years later, when Moore (the Rhodes scholar) returned from his studies at Oxford, the story continued to haunt him. Here were two men with the same name, from the same city, even the same age, and two dramatically different trajectories. In the hopes of finding out why, Moore began writing and visiting the man (who had since been sentenced to life in prison). The result is “The Other Wes Moore,” Moore's vivid and richly detailed new book about both men's childhoods in Baltimore and the Bronx.
Both, as it turns out, grew up in single-parent households with working-class mothers, in neighborhoods rife with crime and drugs. But while one Wes Moore was saved from delinquency and falling grades by a transfer to a military school, the other Wes fathered several children, surrounded himself with addicts, and fell deeper and deeper into the drug trade before, eventually winding up behind bars. The book is also a call to action: It includes a glossary of vetted community organizations, and proceeds of the book will be donated to several nonprofits.