We Were Eight Years in Power

We Were Eight Years in Power

An American Tragedy

Downloadable Audiobook - 2017 | Unabridged
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A sweeping collection of new and selected essays on the Obama era by the National Book Award–winning author of Between the World and Me "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. Now 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. Praise for Ta-Nehisi Coates and Between the World and Me "I've been wondering who might fill the intellectual void that plagued me after James Baldwin died. Clearly it is Ta-Nehisi Coates."—Toni Morrison "Powerful . . . a searing meditation on what it means to be black in America today."—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times "Brilliant . . . [Coates] is firing on all cylinders."—The Washington Post "Urgent, lyrical, and devastating . . . a new classic of our time."—Vogue "A crucial book during this moment of generational awakening."—The New Yorker "Titanic and timely . . . essential reading."—Entertainment Weekly
Publisher: New York : Random House Audio, 2017
Edition: Unabridged
ISBN: 9780525494836
Call Number: OverDrive Audiobook
Characteristics: 1 sound file : digital
audio file
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc


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Apr 06, 2019

This is a very well narrated audio book that gives a complex and highly educated perspective on racism and white supremacy in the United States. It is a series of essays written by the author during the Obama administration for The Atlantic with commentary and perspective added after the election of Trump. If you are curious, go to the author's website and watch his lecture at West Point Military Academy. Both this book and the lecture are well worth the time to listen and ponder.

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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