We Were Eight Years in Power
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.

We Were Eight Years in Power Details

TitleWe Were Eight Years in Power
Author
ReleaseOct 3rd, 2017
PublisherOne World
ISBN-139780399590566
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Writing, Essays, Politics, History, Race

We Were Eight Years in Power Review

  • Cheri
    January 1, 1970
    ”People get readyFor the train to JordanPicking up passengersFrom coast to coast”“Faith is the keyOpen the doors and board themThere's room for allAmong those loved the most” -- “People Get Ready” – Curtis MayfieldIn 1895, South Carolina congressman Thomas Miller appealed to the State’s constitutional convention with these words -‘We were eight years in power. We had built schoolhouses, established charitable institutions, built and maintained the penitentiary system, provided for the education ”People get readyFor the train to JordanPicking up passengersFrom coast to coast”“Faith is the keyOpen the doors and board themThere's room for allAmong those loved the most” -- “People Get Ready” – Curtis MayfieldIn 1895, South Carolina congressman Thomas Miller appealed to the State’s constitutional convention with these words -‘We were eight years in power. We had built schoolhouses, established charitable institutions, built and maintained the penitentiary system, provided for the education of the deaf and dumb, rebuilt the ferries. In short, we had reconstructed the State and place it upon the rode to prosperity.’” The title of this book, this collection of Coates’ essays, comes from this quote. On 4 November 2008, over one hundred years later, Barack Obama was declared the President-elect. “If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.” President-elect Barack Obama – 4 November 2008As in his 2015 “Between the World and Me,” this is a book about race in America. Eight articles written during the eight years of America’s first black presidency, one for each year. Along with an essay for each year, there are accompanying notes on his life, his thoughts, his frustrations on the then current events around the topic of race, and his thoughts on Barack Obama, the man, before he was President Obama, to his slow recognition that this man might actually become our president, and then through the years of his presidency. The relationship between Obama’s eight years as president followed by the election of Donald Trump.And now, slightly more than eight years have passed since Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, the first black president of this country. I would have thought that we, as a country, had become more accepting, that those who had feared Obama would be able to look back at the good that had taken place. ”In short, Obama, his family, and his administration were a walking advertisement for the ease with which black could be fully integrated into the unthreatening mainstream of American culture, politics, and myth. And that was the problem.”In the past 7 months plus, as I write this, since Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President, I am astonished at how emotionally charged our atmosphere has become, how much has visibly changed, how much more open and visible hatred has become. How timely this book is. “There ain't no roomFor the hopeless sinnerWho would hurt all mankindJust to save his own” -- “People Get Ready” – Curtis Mayfield”I have often wondered how I missed the coming tragedy. It is not so much that I should have predicted that Americans would elect Donald Trump. It’s just that I shouldn’t have put it past us.”A myriad of emotions flowed through me while reading this, sadness to anger, shame, fear, pride, hope. At times this lay heavy on my soul, but more often I found myself re-reading portions to further embrace and internalize his words. Faith, that intangible belief in something bigger and better than us, that’s what Coates words made me reflect upon. ”Have pity on thoseWhose chances are thinner'Cause there's no hiding placeFrom the kingdom's throne”“So people get readyFor the train a-comin'You don't need no baggageYou just get on board” -- “People Get Ready” – Curtis MayfieldRecommendedPub Date: 03 Oct 2017Many thanks for the ARC provided by Random House Publishing Group – Random House
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  • Cindy
    January 1, 1970
    EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS BOOK. THIS BOOK SHOULD BE STUDIED IN SCHOOLS AND UNIVERSITIES. THIS IS ESSENTIAL, MUST READ MATERIAL I cannot stress enough how essential this book is to the world and most importantly to America. This book comes at the most relevant time in America's history and should be read by every American. I am not even American and this book spoke to me in ways I could not imagine. Ta-Nehisi Coates is as Ghostface puts it, "an arsonist who burns with his pen". The writing in t EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS BOOK. THIS BOOK SHOULD BE STUDIED IN SCHOOLS AND UNIVERSITIES. THIS IS ESSENTIAL, MUST READ MATERIAL I cannot stress enough how essential this book is to the world and most importantly to America. This book comes at the most relevant time in America's history and should be read by every American. I am not even American and this book spoke to me in ways I could not imagine. Ta-Nehisi Coates is as Ghostface puts it, "an arsonist who burns with his pen". The writing in this book is impeccable, it is thoroughly researched and timely. Coates speaks on an American Tragedy- mainly on race issues but everything about this book is eloquently, rich and beautifully put together. Having read and loved Between The World And Me I knew this book would live up to the hype. Not only that, it is clear that Coates is the voice of this generation, especially on matters concerning race. He is the James Baldwin of our generation and his writings should not be ignored.I woke up shocked to hear and I am somewhat still in disbelief that Trump is the President of the USA. I remain baffled every single time his is referred to as President, it is like a nightmare that wont end and I cant help but think, "how did this happen?!!!!"... As Coates put its: "If there was a difference between me and the President, it was that I thought Trump wouldn't win, whereas Obama thought categorically, that he couldn't. What amazes me thinking back on that day is the ease with which two people, knowing full well what this country is capable of, knowing that it had once sent hundreds of thousands off to die in service of slavery, knowing it had looked away during the era of lynching, knowing that it was conceived in slavery, dismissed the possibility of a return to the old form." I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and recommend that everyone goes out and get a copy. This is essential must read material. Thanks Netgally for the ARC!
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  • Andre
    January 1, 1970
    Superb. Ta-Nehisi Coates has become the go-to guy on writing about race from the perspective of African-Americans. Happily, this is a role he doesn't shirk from, in fact he eagerly embraces his status. "I had become The Atlantic’s “Black Writer”—a phrase that described both my identity and my interests. There was always a sense that African American journalists should avoid being tagged as “black” lest they be “boxed in” and unable to pursue more “universal” topics such as the economy and global Superb. Ta-Nehisi Coates has become the go-to guy on writing about race from the perspective of African-Americans. Happily, this is a role he doesn't shirk from, in fact he eagerly embraces his status. "I had become The Atlantic’s “Black Writer”—a phrase that described both my identity and my interests. There was always a sense that African American journalists should avoid being tagged as “black” lest they be “boxed in” and unable to pursue more “universal” topics such as the economy and global policy. But the more I wrote, the more I saw I wasn’t boxed in as much as those who dismissed my chosen beat were boxed out." That perspective, I think is important and makes him an effective writer, you have to be purposeful in your writing to have the kind of impact he has had in these last eight years. So the book is a collection of eight essays pulled from his writing at the Atlantic magazine, but with each essay, we get a companion piece that gives us an idea what Mr. Coates was thinking at the time and where he was, not only mentally but physically in his personal life. "The title comes from congressman Thomas Miller. In 1895, as his state moved from the egalitarian innovations of Reconstruction to an oppressive “Redemption,” Miller appealed to the state’s constitutional convention: We Were Eight Years in Power and then he lists the great things that were accomplished over the past eight years hoping to stave off the dismantling of reconstruction. Ta-Nehisi smartly has his finger on the pulse of race relations in this country and is clear and unambiguous in his writing and these essays are a powerful testament to his talent. It is interesting to read his commentary on his own work as he looks back in the companion portions. The strongest essay is probably also the one that helped put his name on the proverbial map, The Case For Reparations.The numbers, the situations, the wrongs, the overall plunder of Black life eloquently described in this essay leaves little room for questions other than how and when will reparations be executed. He certainly makes the case for reparations crystal clear to the point of how can one object to the argument, but with emotional and financial rebuffs. "With segregation, with the isolation of the injured and the robbed, comes the concentration of disadvantage. An unsegregated America might see poverty, and all its effects, spread across the country with no particular bias toward skin color. Instead, the concentration of poverty has been paired with a concentration of melanin. The resulting conflagration has been devastating." Is this not indisputable? This is a book that needs to be read and studied. Ta-Nehisi is fully engaged and is brave, bold and brilliant in these pages and is not hesitant to call out white supremacy, respectability politics among Blacks, and even then President Obama in print and in personal meetings. All of this feels timely given the current state of affairs. I'm glad he Ta-Nehisi has risen to international prominence, his voice is needed and we're lucky to be able to read such an honest, intelligent, committed young man. Do yourself a favor and mark October 3, 2017 on your calendar. A big thank you to OneWorld and Netgalley for providing an advanced ebook in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Leonicka
    January 1, 1970
    I cycled through rage and anguish while reading this. It is a thorough retrospective on the (all too brief) moment of Obama's presidency, how it fits into the writer's life and how it fits into America's history.
  • Liz
    January 1, 1970
    "We were eight years in power." That is a quote from South Carolina state congressman Thomas Miller, an African-American who was elected at the end of Reconstruction. He was highlighting the achievements made during Reconstruction, arguing against the disenfranchisement of black voters. They had built schools, established charities, educated the deaf and dumb, and built infrastructure. But his very argument was a threat to white supremacy. Coates quotes W.E.B. DuBois in his book: "If there was o "We were eight years in power." That is a quote from South Carolina state congressman Thomas Miller, an African-American who was elected at the end of Reconstruction. He was highlighting the achievements made during Reconstruction, arguing against the disenfranchisement of black voters. They had built schools, established charities, educated the deaf and dumb, and built infrastructure. But his very argument was a threat to white supremacy. Coates quotes W.E.B. DuBois in his book: "If there was one thing that South Carolina feared more than bad Negro government, it was good Negro government."This incomplete & halted era of reconstruction is the framework against which Ta-Nehisi Coates sets his book. He pulls eight essays written around the eight years of the Obama presidency, and shows how "the symbolic power of Barack Obama's presidency - that whiteness was no longer strong enough to prevent peons from taking up residence in the castle - assaulted the most deeply rooted notions of white supremacy and instilled fear in its adherents and beneficiaries." The essays chosen for the book tackle a myriad of topics: the erasure of black history, mass incarceration, what it means to be black in the public eye, and, in my opinion the most compelling essay of them all, the case for reparations. Coates provides notes before each essay, explaining the context in which they were written, why they were relevant then, and why they are relevant now. The book shows an evolution, both in Coates' writing and thought, but also in the national conversation surrounding race, swirling towards the final chapter & epilogue, in which Donald Trump, the main force behind birtherism and much of the racist drum-beating, has been elected president.This book is brilliantly written, incisive, and extremely relevant. The events in Charlottesville last weekend have reinforced that this is not only important, but essential, reading. Read it with your families, use it in your classrooms, and give copies to your friends.
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  • Tiffany
    January 1, 1970
    I had read most of the essays when they were published in the Atlantic, but I did appreciate the inclusion of "introductions" to each in this book. To better understand the author's POV, made reading very enjoyable, informative, and proves that everyone should read his words.
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  • Kyle
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.This book made me angry, sad, happy, ashamed, reminiscent, worried, optimistic, and anguished at different junctures. At times, I wanted to quit reading this book in disgust, at other times I could not read this book quick enough to absorb the knowledge being disseminated. Regardless of you race, gender, political affiliation, belief structure, or history, you should be able to at least glean some tangible amount of kn I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.This book made me angry, sad, happy, ashamed, reminiscent, worried, optimistic, and anguished at different junctures. At times, I wanted to quit reading this book in disgust, at other times I could not read this book quick enough to absorb the knowledge being disseminated. Regardless of you race, gender, political affiliation, belief structure, or history, you should be able to at least glean some tangible amount of knowledge or perspective from this book.
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    We Were Eight Years in Power begins with this note of explanation:"This book takes its title from the words of South Carolina congressman Thomas Miller. In 1895 as his state moved away from the egalitarian innovations of Reconstruction to an oppressive 'redemption,' Miller appealed to the state's constitutional convention: 'We were eight years in power..." Miller then went on to list the many advances that had been accomplished while black people had the blessing of governmental support during t We Were Eight Years in Power begins with this note of explanation:"This book takes its title from the words of South Carolina congressman Thomas Miller. In 1895 as his state moved away from the egalitarian innovations of Reconstruction to an oppressive 'redemption,' Miller appealed to the state's constitutional convention: 'We were eight years in power..." Miller then went on to list the many advances that had been accomplished while black people had the blessing of governmental support during the period of Reconstruction ... and how fragile and vulnerable those advances were as the government threatened to remove that support. Prophetically, Miller's fears were fully realized (and much more) when we entered a period of "terrorism" with the dissolution of Reconstruction and the beginning of Jim Crow. Throughout Coates' new book he makes a connection between this period of our history and the one we are now entering:"the argument made in much of this book is that Good Negro Government - personal and political - often augments the very white supremacy it seeks to combat." Coates is a correspondent for The Atlantic and he wrote eight important essays during the span of President Obama's eight years in office. This book brings together those eight essays for the first time, which is a brilliant idea. Reading these essays in order, with no other topics between them (as you might on the blog), clearly reveals Coates' own growth in thought and understanding as he wrestles with the many facets of a complex topic. While extending and expanding the topic itself, he is still able to crystallize one salient point. By the eighth essay there is a sense of completion and clarity that justifies the "one-two" gut punches that just keep coming in the final pages.But not only do those eight essays work powerfully together, Coates inserts himself (currently) between each essay to introduce it, looking backwards and forwards with us, taking the reader around the events that originally inspired the work while also bringing us up to date, making it clear why these eight essays were chosen and why they still matter and should still interest us in this new era of life and politics in America.One thing that I appreciate about Coates' work is that he is unapologetic about how he writes for his own satisfaction: he is seeking knowledge, and writing is part of that process for him. He is honest and forthright about his work being a "process" because HE is "in process." For most Americans who are used to quick fixes freely offered on every soundbyte, streetcorner and blog post, his refusal to shrink his writing to a simplistic form of "solutionism" can be frustrating. Personally, I find it refreshing. True, any student who is willing and anxious to learn must necessarily go through a very uncomfortable phase of uncertainty and maybe even confusion before any light starts to dawn, and that is a hard thing to sit still through quietly. There may not be a tidy solution, but there is a payoff at the end if you can make it that far. (Coates described this discomfort well when he wrote about how we betray the wonder when we "privilege the appearance of knowing over the work of finding out...") This book feels like a big wrestle that climaxes and then releases into the peace that comes with knowing. We see and feel the author gathering, grappling, connecting, synthesizing, and WORKING through the significance of his conclusions... and I, the reader, felt that release, as well.I think his future work will only get bigger in scope, and this inspires and motivates me to keep learning, too. Thankfully, Coates generously shares with his readers where his own wanderings take him and where he finds inspiration. His footnotes are a fountain of opportunity. If you are looking to be educated, you can keep learning for quite a long time by following his trail of crumbs.Essays in this book include:1. This is How We Lost to the White Man2. American Girl3. Why Do So Few Blacks Study the Civil War?4. Legacy of Malcolm X5. Fear of a Black President6. Case for Reparations7. The Black Family in the Age of Incarceration8. My President was BlackCoates wrote: "... a question - from other black writers and readers and a voice inside me now began to hover over my work - why do white people like what I write? The question would eventually overshadow the work, or maybe it just felt like it did." It strikes me as I type out the titles of those eight essays how they might sound intimidating to a white reader. For myself, there were some things that I wanted to know so badly that I was willing to feel intimidated if I needed to, in order to find some answers. But I can imagine how Coates might wonder why this would be something a middle-aged, suburban, white woman might be interested in.In a Longform podcast interview, Coates told a story about being on the subway, ready to put in his ear buds, when a "middle-aged white dude" (who didn't even know how to pronounce "Ta-Nehesi") approached him, "Are you Ta-Nehesi Coates?" he asked... and then a short conversation occured in which this man simply said, "I had no idea. I thank you for doing what you're doing... keep doing it... you're doing a great service." And then another man chimed in: "I want to second that. I'm a lawyer downtown, and I really want to thank you for what you're doing."That is exactly how I feel... and that is exactly why I am interested. I had no idea. And I'm so thankful to receive this gift of knowledge that I know did not come easily from the giver."Now we have half-stepped away from our long centuries of despoilment, promising never again. But still we are haunted. It is as though we have run up a credit card bill and, having pledged to charge no more, remain befuddled that the balance does not disappear. The effects of that balance, interest accruing daily, are all around us..."*Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. The opinions expressed in this review are all my own.
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  • Ang
    January 1, 1970
    Excellent, as Coates always is. I had read most of these essays as they were published, but of course they hold up to a re-read. And the interstitial essays are illuminating and well-worth the time, even if you feel like you don't want to re-read all the essays.Thanks to the publisher and to NetGalley for the digital ARC.
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  • Jess
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to NetGalley, I was able to read and review this book prior to publication date. It has not impacted my thoughts or opinions about the book.4.5 stars. This book is a hard, necessary read, and I hope people pick it up. If you’re new to Coates’, his writing style can be a bit difficult to get into a groove with and he makes statements that are meant to rouse critical thinking and instant impact.I started this book without much knowledge of the layout or format. While I might say this is a g Thanks to NetGalley, I was able to read and review this book prior to publication date. It has not impacted my thoughts or opinions about the book.4.5 stars. This book is a hard, necessary read, and I hope people pick it up. If you’re new to Coates’, his writing style can be a bit difficult to get into a groove with and he makes statements that are meant to rouse critical thinking and instant impact.I started this book without much knowledge of the layout or format. While I might say this is a good introductory volume to Coates’ work, I think it helps if you’ve read either Between the World and Me or The Beautiful Struggle. This memoir is laid out as an essay collection that attempts to span black American history from slavery until modern day, but in the lens of President Obama’s eight-year tenure.At first I was a little disappointed. I’ve read most of Coates’ work in The Atlantic before, and the book is roughly 35 percent new content and 65 percent articles either directly from The Atlantic or adapted from the publication itself. I shouldn’t have been; Coates offered insight and new content prefacing each of these older articles, giving context and a bit of hindsight knowledge. It was also great to revisit some of Coates’ journalistic work, since I find that reading in print (or on Kindle) is a very different experience than reading in a Web browser.Those who have been living blind to their privilege may feel threatened or attacked by his words. Coates doesn’t soften the blow, and he is pretty highly critical of Obama’s race-blind policies.I would suggest reading this section by section - read the new material, then the essay or article from The Atlantic - but take breaks between sections. It’s a lot to read if you plow through it all at once like I did, and since it’s not a truly narrative volume, breaking it into sections is a good way to ponder the material. I also think this work would make a great book club pick.
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  • Tess
    January 1, 1970
    I feel neither well-versed or intelligent enough to write a proper review of this amazing collection of essays from Ta-Nehisi Coates, but suffice to say I learned a great deal about America while his words both soothed and angered me. There is no doubt that Coates is the voice we need today. Seeing the past 8 years through his eyes, and understanding how we arrived at the point this country is currently at, makes me better understand how we ended up with white supremacy in the Oval Office. The b I feel neither well-versed or intelligent enough to write a proper review of this amazing collection of essays from Ta-Nehisi Coates, but suffice to say I learned a great deal about America while his words both soothed and angered me. There is no doubt that Coates is the voice we need today. Seeing the past 8 years through his eyes, and understanding how we arrived at the point this country is currently at, makes me better understand how we ended up with white supremacy in the Oval Office. The book, which is comprised of 8 essays from the past 8 years, is best read in small doses. Coates provides an overwhelming amount of information, and it is often hard to process (both mentally and emotionally.) I had read a few of these essays on The Atlantic when they were first published, but it was interesting to revisit them now knowing how 2016 would turn out, and with his commentary before each essay as he looks back on what he had written a few years before. Coates is certainly essential reading, and it is almost hard to accept this is the final version as so much has changed even in the last few months that I'm guessing he finished. It is not a complete compendium, but it is good to know he will continue to be the voice we need in the darkness, however much longer that may last.
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  • Krystal
    January 1, 1970
    Such extraordinary work! Ta-Nehisi Coates continues to live up to his impressive reputation with this insightful book. He effectively deconstructs how white America continues its legacy!
  • Janelle
    January 1, 1970
    I was initially excited to see that Ta-Nehisi Coates had a new book coming out, and then a bit disappointed that this is a revival of previously published content. Still, I think this collection is and will be an important one. The title describes the structure - the book is divided into 8 sections, one for each year of Obama's presidency. Each section contains an essay written by Coates during that year, as well as a new introduction containing more context and reflection. The later essays were I was initially excited to see that Ta-Nehisi Coates had a new book coming out, and then a bit disappointed that this is a revival of previously published content. Still, I think this collection is and will be an important one. The title describes the structure - the book is divided into 8 sections, one for each year of Obama's presidency. Each section contains an essay written by Coates during that year, as well as a new introduction containing more context and reflection. The later essays were known to me, as I started following him after Between the World and Me was published in 2015. Those later essays are also the longest - "The Case for Reparations," "The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration," and "My President Was Black" occupy nearly half of the volume - and naturally most closely match the narrative style for which Coates is now known. It was interesting to travel back to 2008 (when his first book, The Beautiful Struggle, also appeared) and read his earlier essays. The first one focuses on Bill Cosby's black conservatism, a topic I didn't know much about and which is now tainted by the many allegations of sexual assault levied against him (Coates addresses this more recent history in his introduction). The second year's essay, "American Girl," is a gem about Michelle Obama. The third year's essay, "Why Do So Few Blacks Study the Civil War?" captured my attention as I live in a Civil War town (Gettysburg) which has both courted and suppressed black tourists over the decades. This is not a quick or easy read, especially as one must read through today's toxic fog of what has followed America's first black presidency. I appreciate the annual snapshots of Coates' mood - and to some extent, the national mood - during the nationally significant time period of 2009-2016. I hope it will bring new readers both to his work and to The Atlantic, which is an important outlet in these times.Thanks to NetGalley for providing the ARC.
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  • Heather
    January 1, 1970
    This collection feels like a blend of journalism and essay with a bit of memoir as well. Ta-Nehisi Coates has gathered his best pieces of writing from the years of Barack Obama's presidency and pulled them together with new commentary for each. With extensive reporting, relevant historical research, and incredible insight, Coates examines the situation of black Americans throughout Obama's presidency and in light of the backlash to Obama that fueled the election of Donald Trump, and considers th This collection feels like a blend of journalism and essay with a bit of memoir as well. Ta-Nehisi Coates has gathered his best pieces of writing from the years of Barack Obama's presidency and pulled them together with new commentary for each. With extensive reporting, relevant historical research, and incredible insight, Coates examines the situation of black Americans throughout Obama's presidency and in light of the backlash to Obama that fueled the election of Donald Trump, and considers the impact of it all on American history.Coates' "Between the World and Me" is brilliant, but this is even better, in my opinion, which is remarkable considering that the essays were written over a period of more than eight years. Most compilations of short works have at least a few weak pieces, but every single thing in this collection is profound, though you can see the evolution of Coates' writing in each successive year. Coates is a master at blending relevant statistics, facts, and history into a compelling narrative that includes his own story. He shows how white supremacy has been not just a small part of history that we can sweep under the rug but actually a defining element of American culture and a fundamental influence on U.S. politics, from 1776 to today. He demonstrates why the election of a black President does not mean we are living in a post-racial America. Many of us already knew that, but no one puts it all together better than Ta-Nehisi Coates. "We Were Eight Years in Power" is a must-read.
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  • Ethan
    January 1, 1970
    TNC's reflections and meditations on life during the Obama presidency along with his compelling longform articles from The Atlantic during this period.TNC derives the title from the experience of black Americans in the South during Reconstruction, one of whom spoke of being in power eight years before Reconstruction collapsed and white supremacy was re-established. He has a series of reflections on each year of the Obama presidency, providing his first person narration of the arc of his own care TNC's reflections and meditations on life during the Obama presidency along with his compelling longform articles from The Atlantic during this period.TNC derives the title from the experience of black Americans in the South during Reconstruction, one of whom spoke of being in power eight years before Reconstruction collapsed and white supremacy was re-established. He has a series of reflections on each year of the Obama presidency, providing his first person narration of the arc of his own career and life as it aligned with national events. After the reflection comes one of the articles: on Bill Cosby, on Michelle Obama, on Obama as a black president, his case for reparations, the black family in the age of mass incarceration, and his interviews with Obama toward the end of his tenure, and others. In the epilogue TNC attempts most fully and forcefully to come to terms with the election of Trump; he makes a powerful case, however inconvenient to modern sensibilities on both sides of the aisle, that white supremacy is the evidence-based explanation for both Trump's candidacy and victory. TNC writes in his usual no-holds-barred yet personal style. A compelling book which will no doubt inform the national dialogue, at least to some extent, about what happened in 2008-2016 and the way forward.**--galley received as part of early review program.
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  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    In "We Were Eight Years in Power," Ta-Nehisi Coates offers an examination of the Obama presidency, the role of race in American politics and a distressing coda related to the ascendency of Donald Trump. Some readers will find statistical and historical evidence to back up theories they may have already considered. Others may be stunned to see these facts marshaled in this way. Readers of The Atlantic will recognize large portions of the book, as each chapter is essentially a fresh introduction a In "We Were Eight Years in Power," Ta-Nehisi Coates offers an examination of the Obama presidency, the role of race in American politics and a distressing coda related to the ascendency of Donald Trump. Some readers will find statistical and historical evidence to back up theories they may have already considered. Others may be stunned to see these facts marshaled in this way. Readers of The Atlantic will recognize large portions of the book, as each chapter is essentially a fresh introduction along with an article that previously appeared in the magazine. Personally, I find Coates' synthesis impossible to refute. White people in America continue to benefit from what he describes as the "bloody heirloom," getting preferential treatment at every stage and level of existence, from the first day of kindergarten to the day they apply for a mortgage and beyond. Reading "The Case for Reparations," I am struck by the logic of his arguments. America is centuries overdue for a truth and reconciliation discussion and policy agenda."We Were Eight Years in Power" is one of the most important books of 2017.[Note: I received an advance copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.]
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  • Kristin
    January 1, 1970
    Rarely am I truly blown away by a book, but Ta-Nehisi Coates' latest should be required reading for all.I've never been naive about US history and its not-so-nice to outright genocidal actions that this country is capable of since and before its founding. Over the last few years, however, I have developed a better understanding of the consequences of these deeds. My insular little world rarely ever had exposure to this world, except through books and film.This book reminds me I can't be silent, Rarely am I truly blown away by a book, but Ta-Nehisi Coates' latest should be required reading for all.I've never been naive about US history and its not-so-nice to outright genocidal actions that this country is capable of since and before its founding. Over the last few years, however, I have developed a better understanding of the consequences of these deeds. My insular little world rarely ever had exposure to this world, except through books and film.This book reminds me I can't be silent, but whenever I open my mouth, my words fail me. I wish I could just channel passages from this book.Please read this book. Yes, it will make you uncomfortable and you might not agree with everything, but you will be a sadder, if not a bit wiser, person when you finish.
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  • Jane
    January 1, 1970
    How can I give this six stars? How is it that we are so ignorant of the history of privilege that caused and continues the racial divide in this country? This is an absolute must read. Coates chose essays he wrote during each year of Obama's presidency and added introductions that explain his thinking at the time and what has changed since. The epilogue analyzes the election of Donald Trump in an honest way that gets past the apologists and looks the horrific side of our national heritage and on How can I give this six stars? How is it that we are so ignorant of the history of privilege that caused and continues the racial divide in this country? This is an absolute must read. Coates chose essays he wrote during each year of Obama's presidency and added introductions that explain his thinking at the time and what has changed since. The epilogue analyzes the election of Donald Trump in an honest way that gets past the apologists and looks the horrific side of our national heritage and ongoing inability to admit wrong in the face. Words fail...Thank you, NetGalley, for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Sofia
    January 1, 1970
    Read this on The Atlantic - I'm guessing this is the same? Such an excellent read! Ta Nehisi Coates is an extraordinary writer
  • Chris Roberts
    January 1, 1970
    A wordy, useless diatribe of un-consented consent,or how to unerase core:If that Cross is lawn burning,I put it out -if that Klansman knifes me,I pull it out -if I'm that me, we, us,we're that forever.Chris Roberts
  • Loring Wirbel
    January 1, 1970
    "I don't ever want to lose sight of how short my time is here. And I don't ever want to forget that resistance must be its own reward, since resistance, at least within the life span of the resistors, almost always fails. I don't ever want to forget, even with whatever personal victories I achieve, that the larger story of America and the world probably does not end well. Our story is a tragedy." - Ta-Nehisi CoatesGiven Coates' sharp eye and sharp pen, I expected this survey of the two terms of "I don't ever want to lose sight of how short my time is here. And I don't ever want to forget that resistance must be its own reward, since resistance, at least within the life span of the resistors, almost always fails. I don't ever want to forget, even with whatever personal victories I achieve, that the larger story of America and the world probably does not end well. Our story is a tragedy." - Ta-Nehisi CoatesGiven Coates' sharp eye and sharp pen, I expected this survey of the two terms of the Obama administration to be a critique from an anti-imperial perspective, echoing Cornel West in some ways. And Coates could certainly make that case. Even in the staid establishment journal Foreign Affairs, Time magazine columnist Joe Klein reviewed three recent books on the Obama legacy by Peter Baker, Jonathan Chait, and Michael D'Antonio, with all three authors concluding that Obama had the tenor and caution of an old-school establishment Republican, and hence should not be judged from a perspective of being an FDR-style game changer. Even if his proclivities had been more radical and less intellectual, he could not bring about that change with a hostile and divided Congress.Coates uses that last point to give Obama a cautious and qualified defense. Yes he was establishment, but he was admirable in both his desires and his bearing. To those who would think that Obama won two terms by essentially adopting white culture, Coates shows how Obama made a conscious decision in college years to embrace Black culture in hip-hop, sports, and literature. Coates gently chides activists from Black Lives Matter and other organizations, saying that a president really has very little power to enact change, and that Obama explicitly let others know he was trying to be the president for all citizens, trying to find a way to give everyone a voice.In this book, Coates has far bigger fish to fry. He selects and modifies several of his essays from The Atlantic that span the two Obama terms. He provides autobiographical notes to link the essays together. The notes are very effective, though the book falls just short of a five-star ranking for me because he is linking dissimilar essays, providing footnoted and scholarly pieces on mass incarceration and reparations with more intimate, emotional pieces from Obama's first years in power. Coates' goal is to show that there was never any such thing as a post-racist society, that the Civil War and Reformation were followed by the horrendous Redemption/Gilded Age/Jim Crow years, from which the nation scarcely recovered when civil rights struggles emerged a century later. Trump's victory was not that surprising, he concludes, not because Hillary Clinton was such a weak candidate, but because Trump tapped into underlying irrational emotions among many voters regarding fear of "The Other" - in Coates' view, many whites do not fear their stereotyped images of "irresponsible Blacks," since they can make jokes about baggy-pants drug dealers and welfare queens. No, many whites fear "respectable Blacks" even more, because they help bring about the erosion of privilege.Coates makes a particularly strong case for Blacks following the Great Migration being herded into bad real-estate deals that were bound to create the ghettos of the Northern cities. In more recent years, we saw this pattern repeated in the speculative home loans, often to minorities, that later caused the great crash of 2007-08. When the only choices are sharecropping in the South or being herded into housing swindles in the North, Coates says, a form of slavery can be said to have survived 150 years past the end of the Civil War. Yet Coates also is not afraid to let us know when some authors go too far. He praises many aspects of Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow, yet says the author might overstate the conscious means of using lockdown to initiate race war. Vast plots are not necessary when institutional racism bring us to the same point, because it is the only game in town.The book's epilogue is the most effective section, because Coates talks about how Trump is "the first white president," meaning the first president to nakedly use dog-whistle terms for race-baiting, in the way candidates like George Wallace and David Duke did in decades past. Coates criticizes intellectuals on the left who tried as hard as they could to make the anger in the heartland seem like an economic thing, because class warfare was so much easier to assess than continued racism. And he particularly chides Nicholas Kristof, George Packer, and even Bernie Sanders for suggesting that Trump couldn't have been elected for the race card, since they know plenty of small-town Trump supporters who are not racist. I join with Coates in saying that these authors do not see that type of small-mindedness because they are not looking carefully enough.While Coates understandably paints everything along the race spectrum, I think that demagogues actually pander to all kinds of subconscious fears of The Other, from which privilege and fears of losing that privilege spring. Since the nation's founding, being white, male, straight, and Christian was the default case, and in the decades since the Civil Rights Act, the guardians of privilege have been asked to simply share their status and their toys - something that terrifies them, and causes them to claim there is a "war on Christians," a "war on whites." When this brand of Trump voter complains about political correctness, what they mean is that they don't want to have to occasionally apologize or walk anything back. Recent surveys of voters show that they elected Trump precisely because he was an asshole, because they didn't want to be nice and diplomatic any more, they wanted to be assholes when faced with The Other. Sanders may be right in warning that not all Trump voters are morons, but most do indeed make decisions based on their pontine and lower brains, rather than their cortexes. Trump so effectively tapped into this because he wanted to exploit anger. And the voters got even more outraged with Obama because he refused to play into hyper-emotions. (My own recent way of confronting Trump voters is not to place facts as an alternative to fairy tales as a way of confronting issues, but to challenge the legitimacy of voters' emotions. Germans who joined the Nazi Party in the 1920s suffered mass starvation and 10,000% inflation rates. What did U.S. voters have to get hyper-angry about, save living in a nation for eight years with a Black president? And if that's what made them angry, well they really were racist to begin with, after all.)Coates asks us to see that the nation was built on pillage and plunder. That argument can indeed be extended beyond race to class and faith and sexuality issues, though I agree with Coates that the white working class and middle class did not vote for Trump primarily because they were feeling economic pain. This was gut-level, lizard-brain response that calls into question whether we are really a sentient species at all, or even close to achieving such sentience. In fact, it might be worthwhile after reading Coates' latest work to dive into Steven Pinker's The Better Angels of Our Nature, if only to hope that there is still something of our nature worth saving. The recent primary victory of Roy Moore in Alabama with help from Steve Bannon, and the fact that Tom Tancredo sought out Bannon's help for a Colorado campaign, shows us that there now are candidates empowered by Trump to nakedly use the race card in a manner not seen since the late nineteenth century. And of course, far-rightists have been emboldened in Turkey, Philippines, Russia, Azerbaijan, Hungary, Poland, Indonesia, Burma, country after country, with only a few moderate victories like Macron in France and Merkel in Germany to slow the tide. We can recover from the Trump years, Coates says, provided we acknowledge what vermin we all are.I will mention in closing that due to some lucky timing, I finished this advanced reader copy at the same time I got a library edition of Richard White's thousand-page epic The Republic for Which It Stands, a study of how the post-Reconstruction "Redemption" era, and the Gilded Age of financiers like Jay Gould appointing U.S. presidents like Rutherford B. Hayes, was one of the ugliest, harshest, and brutal periods in American history. Coates takes the title of his book from an 1890s Reconstruction politician in the South who was convinced a period of hopelessness was coming on, a prediction for which he was unfortunately correct. Much of the introduction and first chapter of Coates' book talks about how much we are lied to in school about the Reconstruction, and the coming of Jim Crow in the South. Consequently, I will treat Coates' work as a prelude to Richard White's study, and will dive deeply into the atrocities of 1865-1900, in the hope that I can learn how to avoid a decades-long era of atrocities today.
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  • Susie Dumond
    January 1, 1970
    I'm a big fan of Coates' writing and this book is an excellent collection of some of his most groundbreaking work for the Atlantic. It also includes memoir-style commentary from Coates on his career and rise to prominence as one of the most notable writers and thinkers of our time, as well as his growing relationship with President Obama. You might note that if you've been following Coates' writing for a while, this won't all be new material for you. However, it's fascinating to read his essays I'm a big fan of Coates' writing and this book is an excellent collection of some of his most groundbreaking work for the Atlantic. It also includes memoir-style commentary from Coates on his career and rise to prominence as one of the most notable writers and thinkers of our time, as well as his growing relationship with President Obama. You might note that if you've been following Coates' writing for a while, this won't all be new material for you. However, it's fascinating to read his essays from a span of eight years in chronological order with social and political context.Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC!
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  • Bri
    January 1, 1970
    I was thrilled when I received an Advance Reader's Copy of We Were Eight Years in Power from Random House because I love LOVE loved  Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates and even included it in my list of 5 favorite reads from 2016! Coates has a wonderful style of writing that will leave you breathless (intentionally so as the author mentions in one part of this collection) and I will continue to gobble down his pieces. We Were Eight Years in Power is a collection of 9 pieces that Co I was thrilled when I received an Advance Reader's Copy of We Were Eight Years in Power from Random House because I love LOVE loved  Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates and even included it in my list of 5 favorite reads from 2016! Coates has a wonderful style of writing that will leave you breathless (intentionally so as the author mentions in one part of this collection) and I will continue to gobble down his pieces. We Were Eight Years in Power is a collection of 9 pieces that Coates has written for The Atlantic in the past 9 years, thus if you've been following Coates's online articles, you've likely read some or all of these pieces before (they're all still available online too). Before each piece begins, Coates ties each of the pieces to where he was personally, blending in some of the memoir style exemplified in Between the World and Me, and where America was socially, culturally, economically, and politically. This means that he often connects his pieces to the Obama administration (pre- and post-) and mentions how it influenced his articles, even if not explicitly stated in the features.  I often found the justifications and positioning of when the pieces were written to be more interesting than the earlier pieces in the collection, probably because I found myself more interested in Coates and his reflections than Bill Cosby's weird and harmful conservatism regarding the black community (something I hadn't read about before now). It would have been nice if the dates that the pieces were originally published had been included next to their titles, in order to help the reader position when it occurred; this would also help this book stand 20 years from now if something happened that wasn't common or accepted knowledge at the time of first publication (such as the widespread depths of Cosby's transgressions, which Coates does acknowledge in the introduction for that piece, but would be missing for things uncovered in the future).The collection includes pieces about (1) Bill Cosby, (2) Michelle Obama, (3) The Civil War, (4) Malcolm X, (5) Fear of a Black President, which is commentary on how Obama talked about race during his first presidential term, (6) The Case for Reparations , a viral piece that's widely assigned on my college campus according to my undergrads, (7) Mass Incarceration, (8) My President was Black, a feature on Obama and reflections on his presidency, and (9) White Supremacy and Trump, a piece that serves as the epilogue and also recently went viral under the title The First White President .The pieces become progressively longer as the reader progresses through the collection, presumably aligning with the growth of Coates's readership and The Atlantic assuming that their digital readers would stay along for the ride and full length of the pieces. In my opinion, Coates's writing strengthens throughout the collection, building upon his years of writing experience. In the introductions, Coates also corrects some errors that were in the previous publications of pieces or properly acknowledges sources that were neglected in the original publications.At times, We Were Eight Years in Power could feel like reading an accessible textbook, but a textbook nevertheless. The readings are dense and cannot be pored over in one sitting. I really liked the collection, but if someone were completely unfamiliar with Coates, this would not be the first piece of his I recommended. Instead, I would thrust Between the World and Me into their hands and emphatically encourage them to read it immediately. It's a bit more accessible and shorter and, within this collection, Coates perfectly sums up  Between the World and Me with this description of his mindset at the time of writing, "I imagined of crafting a singular essay, in the same fashion (as James Baldwin), meant to be read in a few hours but to haunt for years."I recommend We Were Eight Years in Power to people already familiar with Coates and who haven't read each of these pieces online yet. If you're not familiar with Coates, make Between the World and Me the next book that you read.We Were Eight Years in Power will be released at physical and digital U.S. bookstores on October 3, 2017! For more reviews, check out girlwithabookblog.com!Disclaimer: I was provided with a digital copy of this book for free from Random House Publishing Group - Random House One World via NetGalley. All opinions expressed in the review are my own and have not been influenced by Random House or NetGalley.
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  • Mary Clare
    January 1, 1970
    Full review!Format: eBook ARC from NetGalleyIn this collection of articles, one from each year of Obama's presidency, Coates explores the trajectory of race in America through interviews, histories, and current events. Each of the eight articles are accompanied by an updated introduction, which includes background, additional information, and thoughts that Coates has had on the subject since originally publishing the article.Before I move forward, I want to give a disclaimer that my experience w Full review!Format: eBook ARC from NetGalleyIn this collection of articles, one from each year of Obama's presidency, Coates explores the trajectory of race in America through interviews, histories, and current events. Each of the eight articles are accompanied by an updated introduction, which includes background, additional information, and thoughts that Coates has had on the subject since originally publishing the article.Before I move forward, I want to give a disclaimer that my experience with this book is absolutely informed by my own experiences, education, and understanding of the world through my particular lens. I am a 23-year old, Latinx woman from a privileged background. I do not want to give the impression that my word and opinion is at all definitive or representative of anyone else. When it comes to this book, please also lend your eyes and ears to the thoughts and opinions of black people.This book is timely and essential, one of the most important books that I have read in recent years. This book performs the incredible task of lending clarity to its readers by exposing the raw truths about race that are absolutely foundational to America since its conception, both the idea of America and the lived experiences of Americans.Through our schools, our government, and our culture, we are told lies and misinformation about race. Sometimes this takes the form of omitting essential information about history and government policies and sometimes it takes the form of purposefully spreading propaganda meant to shape the way we think about race. It is the responsibility of people like me to pick up books like this in order to more clearly see the truths around us and fight against it.The writing of this book is ceaselessly engaging, the research is impeccable, the introductions are enlightening, and the entire book almost seems to burst at the seams with truth. Everything is in context, every claim is given evidence. Coates's voice vibrates off of the page as he presents information and conclusions in a clear way that cannot be ignored. He manages to slice through the preconceptions and misinformation that I found clouding my head, right to the core of the issue.I am absolutely blown away by this reading experience.This book has helped me see the world more clearly. It's an absolutely phenomenal experience. If I could assign this book to the entire country to read, I would.Mark your calendars. Buy this book. I know I will be getting myself a hard copy of it.Pick up this book. Pick up more books. Then pick yourself up and do something.
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  • Liz Overberg
    January 1, 1970
    Hear me out.Ta-Nehisi Coates' new book is a collection of eight essays originally published in The Atlantic, one from each year of Barack Obama's presidency. Each essay is preceded by an introduction that ostensibly provides the context for the essay at the time it was written.Because each of the Atlantic essays can be accessed online for free, there needed to be value added in Coates' introductions, and in the overall organization of the book, to make this volume worth purchasing. And I'm not s Hear me out.Ta-Nehisi Coates' new book is a collection of eight essays originally published in The Atlantic, one from each year of Barack Obama's presidency. Each essay is preceded by an introduction that ostensibly provides the context for the essay at the time it was written.Because each of the Atlantic essays can be accessed online for free, there needed to be value added in Coates' introductions, and in the overall organization of the book, to make this volume worth purchasing. And I'm not sure that it is--worth purchasing, that is.Coates' essays are brilliant. He is one of the great writers and minds of our time, and his accolades are all well deserved. His writing gets 5 stars. The introductions to the essays, though, are inconsistent. Some fill the purported role of context for the essay that follows. Most, however, feel like Coates is delighted to have even more say about the topic of the essay, adding to what follows with additional thoughts and critiques on his own writing, providing more of a second edition of the essay than a real view of his life or his headspace at the time of writing. I hoped that these introductions would work together as a kind of memoir of Coates' growth as a writer and a public figure over the past eight years.The essays themselves all focus on race in America, but don't necessarily work as a book when placed next to each other in chronological order. Some essays repeat the same ideas or situations, because they were originally published years apart. In a book, though, these repetitions feel awkward. Coates strives, in his introductions, to make the book work as a whole. I can't help but wonder if a book with eight essays, selected for their relation to each other, rather than to Obama's presidency, would have worked better. The essays included are not necessarily Coates' best works; he just had to find one for each year from 2008 - 2016.My last critique is that the book feels overwhelmingly negative, which may have much to do with Coates himself being in a dark place during the time he wrote it, following the election of Donald Trump. I sense a lot of anger in his writing-- anger at Americans of the past, anger at Obama, anger at Bernie Sanders, anger at Hillary Clinton, and even anger at himself.Last thought: God, I miss Obama.
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  • Tanya
    January 1, 1970
    **I received an early copy of this title in exchange for an honest review.**Ta-Nehisi Coates' new book, although primarily a collection of previously published essays, is the most important work you'll read if you want to understand how the United States has gotten itself to where it is today. Each of the eight essays in this volume comes from a different year in the Obama presidency. Coates' offers a new introduction and reflection on each, noting occasionally where he sees errors he committed **I received an early copy of this title in exchange for an honest review.**Ta-Nehisi Coates' new book, although primarily a collection of previously published essays, is the most important work you'll read if you want to understand how the United States has gotten itself to where it is today. Each of the eight essays in this volume comes from a different year in the Obama presidency. Coates' offers a new introduction and reflection on each, noting occasionally where he sees errors he committed or what he might do differently now, but also why THIS piece is so important to the volume. At once personal memoir of trying to come to terms with the results of the 2016 election as well as historical analysis of our recent history, Coates is particularly noteworthy for his ability to explain how racism operates in the United States in a systemic way, not just in the individual sense of someone being racist or not. The best essay for understanding the profound ways in which racism shapes the very structure of our society and economics is Coates' award-winning piece "The Case for Reparations". If the title makes you uncomfortable, embrace that discomfort and listen to the history he knows.If you do not understand the reasons why protests continue today under the banner Black Lives Matter, if you thought that racism was over because we had a black president, if you don't think there's any connection between race and the election of Donald Trump - Coates' work will show you something you're sorely missing. Coates' understanding of the American people and American society is so different from what most white people know or can even imagine. If you can listen here, if you can open yourself to the idea that Coates' view of America is not unfounded - you'll learn a lot here.
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  • Cristina
    January 1, 1970
    We Were Eight Years in Power is a compilation of eight essays Coates published with The Atlantic. Each essay is preceded by an introductory chapter that explains why he wrote the piece, what was going on in his life, and how his perspective has changed since it was published. These "blog post-like" tidbits have an almost memoir-like quality to them, offering behind-the-scenes insight into the writing process and allowing Coates an opportunity to vent frustrations unconstrained by the more diplom We Were Eight Years in Power is a compilation of eight essays Coates published with The Atlantic. Each essay is preceded by an introductory chapter that explains why he wrote the piece, what was going on in his life, and how his perspective has changed since it was published. These "blog post-like" tidbits have an almost memoir-like quality to them, offering behind-the-scenes insight into the writing process and allowing Coates an opportunity to vent frustrations unconstrained by the more diplomatic, expository tone of the essays.Inevitably this book will be compared to Coates' award-winning Between the World and Me as they both ruminate on racial tension in the United States. But where Between the World and Me is deeply personal, raw, poetic and often bombastically esoteric, We Were Eight Years in Power feels more academic. Beautifully written and immensely powerful, it marries heavily-researched longform journalism and unapologetic sermonizing. The essays cover a wide swathe of topics that include meditations on what it means to elect a black president, brief biographies of Malcom X and the Obamas, a case for reparations, and an appeal to recognize the continuous role white supremacy has played in our nation's history.The title of the work references a post-Civil-War speech given by a member of the Reconstruction legislature in South Carolina. Yet the titular "We" also echoes modern-day citizens hoping for meaningful change in the area of race relations. The parallels abound, as we too are in the midst of an intense backlash and political tidal change following the wake of progress. As we all know, those who refuse to acknowledge history are doomed to repeat it.// I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Patricia Romero
    January 1, 1970
    This was a difficult book to review. It was also difficult to read and to know that what I was reading was truth. If you don't know it as truth, you need to go way back and look at how we became America and who the people were that made up the rules that some people, based on their sex or skin color, were considered less than. I've studied slavery and the Civil War for a long time. I worked with the Middle Passage Museum and met John Lewis, Coretta Scott King, and many other leaders of the right This was a difficult book to review. It was also difficult to read and to know that what I was reading was truth. If you don't know it as truth, you need to go way back and look at how we became America and who the people were that made up the rules that some people, based on their sex or skin color, were considered less than. I've studied slavery and the Civil War for a long time. I worked with the Middle Passage Museum and met John Lewis, Coretta Scott King, and many other leaders of the rights movement and survivors of the what is still a racist South and North. Some people are just more blatant about it.I along with a lot of other people expected Obama to stand up for race inequalities. But as it turned out he wasn't going to rock the boat either way. This journalist does. Here you get the unvarnished truth about all sides. In my humble opinion this should be a must read for all high school students. Especially places like Mississippi which in some towns have only in recent years, or make that year, have been forced to stop segregating blacks to the other side of the track schools.There is no such thing as white supremacy. There are just insecure people who need to have someone to be better than so they aren't the ones on the bottom.Thank you for this book Netgalley and Random House! Due to release October 3, 2017
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  • Elizabeth
    January 1, 1970
    We Were Eight Years in Power is a collection of essays, written during the eight years of the Obama presidency. As a longtime subscriber to The Atlantic, I had read several of these pieces previously. The book does offer a substantial amount of new material: an introduction, epilogue, and lengthy "notes" by the author before each essay.The essays are uniformly excellent and thought provoking. "My President Was Black" is a must-read reflection on the role race plays in US politics, and the author We Were Eight Years in Power is a collection of essays, written during the eight years of the Obama presidency. As a longtime subscriber to The Atlantic, I had read several of these pieces previously. The book does offer a substantial amount of new material: an introduction, epilogue, and lengthy "notes" by the author before each essay.The essays are uniformly excellent and thought provoking. "My President Was Black" is a must-read reflection on the role race plays in US politics, and the author's own sometimes conflicting feelings about the first black president. The notes sections are more of a mixed bag. They are at their best when the author uses the space to take a fresh look at his previously published works, which he does frequently during the early chapters. Some of the later notes are less focused and therefore less poignant.Readers of the excellent Between the World and Me will already be familiar with the author's life, opinions and political leanings, so much of the content here that is unique to this book concerns the twilight of the Obama era and the rise of Donald Trump. Ta-Nehisi Coates is an important voice of dissent in the Trump era. Sadly, he will likely have much more to write about in the coming years.Note: An egalley of this book was provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Diane Payne
    January 1, 1970
    After seven months of Trump, I enjoyed the, what sadly already feels nostalgic, optimism of Coates collection of essays. As many reviewers will point out, the essays have already been published in The Atlantic, so readers may be familiar with those writings. I liked the personal prefaces to the essays, the sharing of more intimate details of his personal life. Like Coates and Obama, many of us were shellshocked after the election, and we didn't believe Trump could win. We were wrong. These essay After seven months of Trump, I enjoyed the, what sadly already feels nostalgic, optimism of Coates collection of essays. As many reviewers will point out, the essays have already been published in The Atlantic, so readers may be familiar with those writings. I liked the personal prefaces to the essays, the sharing of more intimate details of his personal life. Like Coates and Obama, many of us were shellshocked after the election, and we didn't believe Trump could win. We were wrong. These essays bring to light a more contemporary, intimate view of racism. I can only wonder how the book would have ended had the Charleston riots occurred before this went to print; but, then again, Trump wouldn't have mattered as much if he spewed his racist opinions as a billionaire while Obama was president because, unlike with Trump, we counted on Obama to be our voice of reason. As we're entering a period of dark times, these essays provide us with a positive message that Americans can do much more to help strengthen our country, and that we must not be complicit or silent during these volatile times.
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