In Chapter 7, Wes says that Colin Powell's work "spoke to the core of a new set of issues (he) was struggling with." He says that Powell's book, My American Journey, helped him to "harmonize (his) understanding of America's history and (his) aspiration to serve her in uniform." In the book, Colin Powell wrote about how "black GIs during the World War II had more freedoms when stationed in Germany" than they had in America.
Despite these failings of his country, Powell was not angry. It is this reaction that Wes finds the most intriguing. Anger would, of course, be the most obvious and also the most understandable reaction of a black GI facing racial discrimination in the country he was fighting for. But Powell was instead thankful that he could serve in the army and at the vanguard of progress. Indeed, Powell says that the army lived "the democratic ideal ahead of the rest of America." In the army, there was "less discrimination, a truer merit system, and leveler playing fields." Serving in the army made it "easier for (Powell) to love (his) country."
All in all, Wes says that Powell gave him "another way to think about the American dilemma and, more than that, another way to think about (his) own life." Later, Wes also says that Powell's My American Journey "made (him) realize the incredible power of stories to change people's lives." Powell's book inspired Wes to take control of his own life, which he does by staying at Valley Forge and becoming a second lieutenant in the army.