We Were Eight Years in Power

We Were Eight Years in Power

An American Tragedy

Large Print - 2017
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"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.
Publisher: New York : Random House Large Print, [2017]
Edition: First large print edition
ISBN: 9780525624516
Characteristics: xxii, 551 pages (large print) ; 24 cm
large print,rda
Additional Contributors: Coates, Ta-Nehisi


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AnnabelleLee27 Jan 26, 2018

Thorough, thought-provoking, challenging, well written, and bleak. This book is a series of essays published during the Obama presidency, each with a newly written introduction - these reflective and often personal introductions were some of the best and most moving elements of the book. Coates includes a lot of fascinating historical and social context in his analysis but offers no hope, a concept which he addresses directly. I found the final section on Trump's election particularly interesting and disturbing.

Jan 25, 2018

This book includes eight essays, one for each year of the Obama Presidency. There is an epilogue which talks of the tragedy of electing Donald Trump. I found that I enjoyed this book much more than Coates' bestseller, "Between the world and me." The book is well researched and well presented and I now have a much better understanding of what African Americans have undergone over the last three centuries. Coates shows how important it is to offer reparations to the African Americans so they can "Catch up." Each essay touches on a different topic but the undercurrent is the same. Yes, Coates has risen from a Black author to an American author by writing this book which I thoroughly enjoyed.

JCLMELODYK Jan 16, 2018

I'm a big fan of Coates and I enjoyed his notes about his essays where he lays out in hindsight what he was thinking and grappling with when he penned the eight essays. The essays were wonderful as well but it was just really interesting to me to read his commentary on his own writing.

My two favorite essays are "This is How We Lost to the White Man" which is especially fascinating in light of all that was revealed about Bill Cosby. A bit was known to Coates at the time but not the full scale. "The Case for Reparations" is also enlightening because of the history of other reparations that Coates discusses in this essay.

lindab2662 Jan 14, 2018

Comprehensive. Well written. Thoughtful. Most chilling prediction: "Trumps legacy will be exposing the patina of decency for what it is and revealing just how much a demagogue can get away with. It does not take much to imagine another politician, wiser in the ways of Washington, schooled in the methodology of governance, now liberated from the pretense of anti-racist civility, doing a much more effective job than Trump."

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.

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.

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.

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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