Since writing his critically acclaimed book, The Other Wes Moore, about another young man from Baltimore who shares his name but a very different fate, it’s been a whirlwind of interviews, lectures, and awards for Wes Moore. We catch up with him to see how he’s handling the ride.
Where did you go to school?
I graduated from Junior College at Valley Forge Military College and was commissioned as an Army Officer. I then completed my undergraduate education at Johns Hopkins University.
What book or film most changed your life?
Fab Five by Mitch Albom is the book that most changed my life because it was the first time I fell in love with reading.
What is the best advice you ever got?
As I was leaving for Afghanistan, my grandparents gave me a Bible and wrote in the front of it, “Have Faith, not Fear.” I carry that quote with me with everything I do.
Who would play you in the movie of your life?
Jaden Smith. Besides, his mother is a Baltimorean!
What is your guilty pleasure?
I enjoy a good cigar every once in a while. I can be found hanging out at Conheads on Howard Street or at Cross Street Tobacco.
Tell us about the public’s reaction to the book.
I have been humbled at how universal the reaction has been. I think people realize this book is about much more than simply two boys, or one city, or one socio-economic group. Its about all of us, the decisions we make, and the people we have in our lives helping us to make those decisions.
Some think you sympathize too much with Wes, who is a criminal.
Taking time to understand the life of Wes Moore is not about sympathizing with him, but about helping to keep these tragedies from happening again. Silence is not a solution to our challenges. And exploration is not glorification.
What was going on Oprah like?
It was an honor. She was engaging and kind.
What’s next for you? More writing? Politics?
I am firm believer that public service does not have to be an occupation, but should be a way of life. Being a part of the public discourse and public improvement is important to me. And always will be.
Have other people named Wes Moore contacted you?
I think I have now met dozens of Wes Moores around the country. And all of them think I should write a book called The Other Other Wes Moore!