We Were Eight Years in Power (audiobook)

An American Tragedy

13.7 hrs • 11 CDs • Unabridged
Nonfiction/Social Science
Target Audience: Adult
Release Date: 10/03/17
Library CD Library Edition CD titles are packaged in an attractive, full-sized, durable vinyl case with full color art. Cloth Sleeves keep compact discs protected and in numerical order. 
- 10/03/17 9780525494805
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New York Times bestseller

Esquire Magazine Best Book of the Year So Far

In these “urgently relevant essays,” (Kirkus Reviews), the National Book Award–winning author of Between the World and Me reflects on race, Barack Obama’s presidency and its 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’ 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.ext

Review Quotes

“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)

“Stunningly incisive essays…Emotionally charged, deftly crafted, and urgently relevant.”

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Taking in Coates’s essays from start to finish is…a bracing thing, like drinking a triple scotch, neat…He introduces each magazine story with an essay that serves not just as connective tissue, binding one work to the next, but as meta-commentary.”

New York Times

“Essential…Coates’ probing essays about race, politics, and history became necessary ballast for this nation’s gravity-defying moment.”

Boston Globe

“Ta-Nehisi Coates has published a collection of the major magazine essays he wrote throughout the Obama years…But Coates adds an unexpected element that renders We Were Eight Years in Power both new and revealing. Interspersed among the essays are introductory personal reflections…Together, these introspections are the inside story of a writer at work, with all the fears, insecurities, influences, insights and blind spots that the craft demands. ”

Washington Post

“A master class on the essay form…Coates’s book brings us to a boil, then lets us simmer, and anyone who wants to know who we are—and where we are now—must sit with him for a good while…It should inspire us as writers, and as Americans, that he urges us, in exile or online, to become better—or at least clearer on why we’re not.”

New York Times Book Review