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Ohio State University @ The Lima Campus Library

About the Book


Welcome to the OSU Library guide to the 2016 Buckeye Book Community selection, The Other Wes Moore, by Wes Moore. This guide offers resources for those who want to explore issues central to the book.

About the book

"The chilling truth is that his story could have been mine. The tragedy is that my story could have been his."

Two kids named Wes Moore were born blocks apart within a year of each other. Both grew up fatherless in similar Baltimore neighborhoods and had difficult childhoods; both hung out on street corners with their crews; both ran into trouble with the police. How, then, did one grow up to be a Rhodes Scholar, decorated veteran, White House Fellow, and business leader, while the other ended up a convicted murderer serving a life sentence?

Wes Moore, the author of this fascinating book, sets out to answer this profound question. In alternating narratives that take readers from heart-wrenching losses to moments of surprising redemption, The Other Wes Moore tells the story of a generation of boys trying to find their way in a hostile world.

How does The Other Wes Moore relate to my first-year experience?
You’ll find many themes and events in the book that relate to your life as a new student at Ohio State. During the next year, you’ll encounter new responsibilities, communities, independence, relationships and obstacles. Wes Moore’s story is full of life lessons and stories that will prompt you to reflect on many of these ideas, specifically:

  • Overcoming obstacles
  • Community activism
  • Decision-making
  • Racial inequality
  • Perseverance
  • Privilage

Discussion Questions

Guiding questions for students
This year, the Buckeye Book Community reading selection is The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore. We hope you enjoy your copy! As you read, use the following questions to help you apply the themes of the book to your transition to college and your first year at Ohio State. When you return to campus, be prepared to start conversations and make connections with other first-year students who share the experience of the Buckeye Book Community.

  1. While studying abroad, Wes recognized cultural differences between South Africa and the Bronx and Baltimore. What is the value of joining a large, diverse community like Ohio State? How will you negotiate meeting, interacting, and living with people who are different than you?
  2. By going away to military school at a young age, Wes was challenged to be independent much earlier in life than many of his peers. As a new college student, how will you manage your new sense of independence and autonomy?
  3. As an adult, Wes recognizes the people and relationships that were sources for support during childhood, military school and college. Who is your primary support system? What are some relationships—personal and professional—that will aid in your success at Ohio State? How do you plan to find a supportive community on campus?
  4. The author says to the other Wes, “I guess it’s hard sometimes to distinguish between second chances and last chances.” What are the defining moments, second chances or last chances that led to where you are today? What are some pivotal opportunities, influential mentors or environmental factors that impacted you and/or prepared you for Ohio State?
  5. Recent events have brought considerable attention to the relationship between police forces and the young men of color in impoverished neighborhoods. Consider the similarities and differences between that relationship in the ’80s and ’90s as described in the book and what we have heard lately on the news. What systematic barriers exist that impact the relationship between men of color and the police? What can be done to improve these critical barriers?
  6. Regarding his opportunity to study abroad, Wes explained, “Aside from the formal curriculum at the university, we would spend our time learning the language, learning the country and learning more about ourselves than we ever imagined” (p. 164). Why do you think transformational experiences, such as studying abroad, are so valuable in college? What experiences or opportunities do you plan to pursue outside of the classroom while at Ohio State? What do you hope to gain from these experiences?
  7. How do things like family, money, responsibility, peers or dreams influence the behaviors of both Wes Moores? Who or what currently influences you the most? What will influence you when you get to college?