THE OTHER WES MOORE:
One Name and Two Fates.
By Wes Moore.
Spiegel & Grau. 233 pp. $25
Fatherhood is a touchy subject among black American men. Well over half of black kids grow up in a household without a dad. No wonder black public figures ranging from Louis Farrakhan to Bill Cosby to President Barack Obama have exhorted black men to “step up” and be responsible fathers. Some liberal advocates dismiss these pleas as bootstrap sermons that blame poor blacks for systemic problems. Others, conservative and liberal alike, counter that the three pillars that once bolstered black Americans—community, school, and family—are now miserably failing at-risk black kids, not least because of the plague of deadbeat dads.
The Other Wes Moore chronicles the parallel lives of two black men from Baltimore’s hardscrabble turf. The author overcomes his financially challenged, fatherless childhood to become a husband, Rhodes Scholar, White House fellow, and investment banker. The “other” Wes Moore, who is two years older, emerges from a financially challenged, fatherless childhood to receive a life-without-parole sentence for his role in a cop slaying during a botched robbery in 2000. It’s as if Pudd’nhead Wilson met The Prince and the Pauper on the streets of black America. How did these two men wind up in such radically different places?
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Rich Benjamin is the author of Searching for Whitopia: An Improbable Journey to the Heart of White America, which earned a 2009 Editor’s Choice award from Booklist/The American Library Association. He is a senior fellow at Demos, a nonpartisan think tank.more from this author >>
By Martin Stannard.
W.W. Norton. 627 pp. $35 MADE IN AMERICA:
A Social History of American Culture and Character.
By Claude S. Fischer.
Univ. of Chicago Press. 511 pp. $35 THE FLIGHT OF THE INTELLECTUALS.
By Paul Berman.
Melville House. 299 pp. $26
THE OTHER MUSLIMS:
Moderate and Secular.
Edited by Zeyno Baran.
Palgrave Macmillan. 211 pp. $30