We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy
By Ta-Nehisi Coates
2018 • One World Press
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” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)—including the election of Donald Trump.
The years between 2008 and 2016 don’t just mark two terms of a historic presidency but define a dramatic era in politics, activism, culture, and historiography that have reshaped this country and its public discourse. During this same period, Ta-Nehisi Coates, who begins the book in an unemployment office and ends it having interviewed President Obama in the Oval office, became one of the country’s most important voices through his work at The Atlantic. There he wrote a series of blockbuster, award-winning articles that changed the public conversation around race, culture and political possibility, and became, himself, an example of how the Obama era changed individual lives and opened opportunities for new voices to find a place at the center of the American story.
This important volume offers Ta-Nehisi’s most prominent and influential Atlantic articles, from “Fear of a Black President” to “The Case for Reparations” to “The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration.” But the book’s daring, imaginative format—real-time journalism combined with retrospective essays that range from the personal to the historical to the analytical and create a cohesive narrative arc—is the key to its uncanny ability to offer the essential account of the Obama years, while also making a powerful, transformative argument about history, identity, and the American future.
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