Review: We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates


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Published: 3 October 2017

Publisher: One World

Category: Nonfiction/Politics/Essays

Powerful and necessary, a state-of-the-nation portrait of America under Obama from the prize-winning, bestselling author of Between the World and Me

From 2008-2016, the leader of the free world was a black man. Obama’s presidency reshaped America and transformed the international conversation around politics, race, equality. But it attracted criticism and bred discontent as much as it inspired hope – so much so, that the world now faces an uncertain future under a very different kind of US President.

In this essential new book, peerless writer Ta-Nehisi Coates takes stock of the Obama era, speaking authoritatively from political, ideological and cultural perspectives, and draws a sophisticated and penetrating portrait of America today.

Rating: 4 Stars

I have not read Ta-Nehisi Coates’s books before, but I have seen videos of interviews and speeches he’s done. He comes across as knowledgeable and with an intense, resonating  voice. I wanted to see if this was the same in his books as in his presence on stage and so I requested his newest book, a collection of essays about the years in which Obama was president, what that time was like, and what the time is like that we now face under a very different leadership.

The essays contained herein were at times a little difficult to read, not because of the way they were written but because the content deals with some truths and observations about our society that are not pleasant. Prior to each essay is a blog post Coates wrote around the same time and the very first one speaks to the experience of black people and success or failure and how those instances are used by white supremacists for their own agenda. It’s heartbreaking and infuriating to see this happening and all those things again plus sobering when you see them written down.

We Were Eight Years in Power is an important book and one that I think could be very beneficial to discussions about the state of American politics and society. The essays encompass views and experiences that need to be told and shared, probably with the very people who think they don’t need to read them at all. It’s not the end-all-be-all book to read or to talk about, but it’s definitely an essential step. The essays, interspersed with personal moments from the author, highlight the state of things in the U.S., in the politics governing the benefit or deficit of the people, and the experience growing up in a world the disgraces itself with how it treats people of different races.






I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

All media (pictures, quotes, etc.) belong to the respective owners and are used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

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