We Were Eight Years in Power

We Were Eight Years in Power

An American Tragedy

Book - 2017
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * 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.

"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)

Praise for We Were Eight Years in Power

"Essential . . . Coates's probing essays about race, politics, and history became necessary ballast for this nation's gravity-defying moment." -- The Boston Globe

"Coates's always sharp commentary is particularly insightful as each day brings a new upset to the cultural and political landscape laid during the term of the nation's first black president. . . . Coates is a crucial voice in the public discussion of race and equality, and readers will be eager for his take on where we stand now and why." -- Booklist (starred review)
Publisher: New York : One World, [2017]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780399590566
Branch Call Number: 973.932 COA
Characteristics: 367 pages ; 25 cm

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vm510 Nov 30, 2017

This book of essays from Ta-Nehisi Coates is worth a read and made me think in new ways. Specifically, I saw a black conservatism I didn't know much about before. My favorite essay by far is "Why Do So Few Blacks Study the Civil War?" for its insight on revising and reframing history. Coates is skeptical and thoughtful.

v
voisjoe1_0
Nov 05, 2017

Ta-Nehisi Coates, journalist for "The Atlantic" magazine, released this book with eight of his magazine articles, one for each of eight years with the magazine. Also included for each article are eight contemporary essays, one for each of the eight articles. The highlights of the book are the long research articles "The Case for Reparations" and "The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration." I rate this book right up there with the recent books "Stamped from the Beginning" and "The Half has never been Told." Reading these three books will get you far along for you bachelor's degree with specialization in America's long history of white supremacy.

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smithpaula
Nov 01, 2017

Not finished yet. Love this book and Coates. I need so desparately to know more of the black experience and rascism so this is helping I'm sure.

OPLJessG Oct 12, 2017

WE WERE EIGHT YEARS IN POWER revisits the best of Coates's writing in The Atlantic from the past 8 years - one for every year of Barack Obama's presidency - in the context of today. Coates doesn't mince words; we are living in a racist, imperfect time and there's no guarantee America will see that end in any of our lifetimes. President Obama's election couldn't change it, and now the country has embraced shameless, boldfaced racist rhetoric in direct response to his administration, rather than pretending it doesn't exist. The truth is that America as we know it could not exist without systemic racism built into our laws, into the very founding of the country itself. We have to acknowledge this past in order to start any reasonable discussion of racism today.

This is not a hopeful book. There are no answers within the pages. But if there was ever essential reading, this is a fine place to start.

s
StarGladiator
Sep 25, 2017

I have not read this yet, but did read some of those essays in The Atlantic, not a mag I would recommend - - last really decent story in there was back in 1973 or thereabouts.
This fellow falls into the extremely large class of writers/pundits who believe the politician is at the head of the food chain - - still cannot believe such ignorance and gullibility exists today, but that is part and parcel of the massive pop culture indoctrination to that effect.
The Clintons and Obama, were [are??] owned by BlackRock [an offshoot of the Blackstone Group, founded with Rockefeller family seed money] or at least its proxies. Hillary Clinton's chief advisor [was her name Cheryl Mills or Miller???] was with BlackRock at that time, Bill Clinton received free office space and major donations from the Blackstone Group during his first presidential campaign, and the major donor to President Obama was BlackRock, which he rewarded with that Pentagon/DoD move to privatize their pensions awhile back, which benefitted BlackRock. Politicians are simply those minions of the super-rich above us.

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