We Were Eight Years in Power

We Were Eight Years in Power

An American Tragedy

Downloadable Audiobook - 2017
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In these "urgently relevant essays,"* the National Book Award-winning author of Between the World and Me "reflects on race, Barack Obama's presidency and its jarring aftermath"*--including the election of Donald Trump.

New York Times Bestseller * One of Time 's Top 10 Non-Fiction Books of the Year * One of USA Today 's top 10 books of the year * A New York Times Notable Book

"We were eight years in power" was the lament of Reconstruction-era black politicians as the American experiment in multiracial democracy ended with the return of white supremacist rule in the South. In this sweeping collection of new and selected essays, Ta-Nehisi Coates explores the tragic echoes of that history in our own time: the unprecedented election of a black president followed by a vicious backlash that fueled the election of the man Coates argues is America's "first white president."

But the story of these present-day eight years is not just about presidential politics. This book also examines the new voices, ideas, and movements for justice that emerged over this period--and the effects of the persistent, haunting shadow of our nation's old and unreconciled history. Coates powerfully examines the events of the Obama era from his intimate and revealing perspective--the point of view of a young writer who begins the journey in an unemployment office in Harlem and ends it in the Oval Office, interviewing a president.

We Were Eight Years in Power features Coates's iconic essays first published in The Atlantic, including "Fear of a Black President," "The Case for Reparations," and "The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration," along with eight fresh essays that revisit each year of the Obama administration through Coates's own experiences, observations, and intellectual development, capped by a bracingly original assessment of the election that fully illuminated the tragedy of the Obama era. We Were Eight Years in Power is a vital account of modern America, from one of the definitive voices of this historic moment.

* Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Essential . . . Coates's probing essays about race, politics, and history became necessary ballast for this nation's gravity-defying moment."-- The Boston Globe
Publisher: New York :, One World,, [2017]
ISBN: 9780525494836
Branch Call Number: Online Audio Book
Characteristics: 1 sound file :,digital
audio file, rda
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc

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SPL_Shauna Feb 17, 2018

Given Coates read the audio version of *Between the World and Me* himself, I was quite surprised that an actor took on this project until I saw the length of the book. Readers expecting another visceral shot of cultural context like *Between the World and Me* may be surprised by the sheer length... Read More »


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SPL_Shauna Feb 17, 2018

Given Coates read the audio version of *Between the World and Me* himself, I was quite surprised that an actor took on this project until I saw the length of the book. Readers expecting another visceral shot of cultural context like *Between the World and Me* may be surprised by the sheer length of *We Were Eight Years in Power*.

The difference in length is your first signal that this is a very different work than Coates' breakout hit a couple years ago. Rather than a standalone piece of blistering nonfiction, *We Were Eight Years in Power* is a collection of Coates' work over Obama's presidency; a piece for each of the eight years. Each piece is framed by a contextual essay in which Coates enumerates what drove the piece, what has stood the test of time, what he would change now, and what he would correct if he could. These contextual essays are robust in their own right, and so readers who have been keeping up with Coates' work in *The Atlantic* and elsewhere may well find lots to challenge and surprise them here.

The pace of this is slower, the prose more academic, and the tone more refined than *Between the World and Me*, but *We Were Eight Years in Power* shines brilliant insight into what otherwise appears to be the whipsaw shift between America’s first Black president and Donald Trump. Recommended for fans of Coates, and anyone interested in #BlackLivesMatter or Black history generally.

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