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We Were Eight Years in Power Audiobook

We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy

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Publisher's Summary

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' 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.

©2017 Ta-Nehisi Coates (P)2017 Random House Audio

What the Critics Say

"I've been wondering who might fill the intellectual void that plagued me after James Baldwin died. Clearly it is Ta-Nehisi Coates." (Toni Morrison)

"Powerful...a searing meditation on what it means to be black in America today." (Michiko Kakutani, New York Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.7 (126 )
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    Richard Mann 10-20-17 Member Since 2014
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    "Powerful book"

    Horrible narration! The attempt to sound like the character is embarrassing and trivializes the message.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Connie 10-20-17
    Connie 10-20-17
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    "Great read"

    I am enjoying the writing as well as the information in the book. I am also enjoying the voice of the reader.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Claire Z. Evans 10-19-17
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    "Evolved"

    Your historical references will hopefully do much to help others fertilize their personal brain trusts with a richer more varied American soil from which to birth their ideas. I thoroughly enjoyed your recount of exchanges with President Obama. I applaud your participation in this chapter of American history. It reminds me of obscure historical letters by American's written to our Founders. Excellent body of work you are achieving. Thank you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lawrence 10-18-17
    Lawrence 10-18-17
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    "Narrator Horribilis"

    The narration of this book is the worst I've heard in hundreds of audiobooks I've listened to and I had to warn others not to purchase this.

    With an odd rhythm and mismatched accent (some almost offensive), the narrator completely undermines the substance of this important work.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rachel 10-17-17
    Rachel 10-17-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Horrible narration"

    Like a lot of people, I struggle with Ta-Nehisi Coate's pessimism and have trouble finishing his essays sometimes but know that they ought to be read. I chose to listen to this as audiobook, because I thought it would make difficult reading more digestible. However, the narration for this book is terrible to the point that it takes away Ta-Nehisi's message. For instance, the narrator uses voices to read quotes and dialogue, and chooses to read nearly all quotes from white people as an old southern man. I am not advocating any degree of deference for the words of William F. Buckley, but to read his quotes as if he were a redneck completely undermines the idea that racism is an institutional problem that needs to be addressed by many different members of our society. I recommend reading this one in print.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fred 10-17-17
    Fred 10-17-17 Member Since 2017
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    "must read"

    even if youve read some (or all) of the included essays, its worth reading. Coates' vision and use of language is currently unmatched by his contemporaries

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Anonymous 10-16-17
    10-16-17
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    "Good overall"

    I’ve read Between the World and Me which I loved and appreciated the nuance. Ive already read most if not all the Atlantic articles when they were published so there wasn’t a lot more to gain beyond the first chapter. Looking forward to the next book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Jimmie L Heags Jr 10-15-17
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    "best book to understand what's going on in America"

    this is by far one of the best books written on the current political climate. specifically this book does a beautiful job connecting historical events in order to help make sense of what happened in the election.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    uncleguff maryland 10-14-17
    uncleguff maryland 10-14-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Embarrassing performance of a great book."

    Many times, a memorable audiobook performance can enhance an already great book (check out Joe Morton’s performance of Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man” — spectacular!!). But in the case of “We Were Eight Years in Power” the opposite is true. Beresford Bennett’s performance is... I don’t know how to put it... forced?!? It just didn’t fit. His rhythm was off. The accents he used when African Americans or southerners were quoted sounded more like cartoon caricatures. His phraseology didn’t seem to be in step with what was written (yes, I was reading along).

    I was hoping to enjoy this audio performance. But it was simply not up to par. Truth be told, Ta-Nehisi Coates should have narrated it. Books like this are better served when read by the author.

    My recommendation? Buy the book and read it. The audiobook is just very odd. :(

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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    C. Thompson 10-13-17
    C. Thompson 10-13-17
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    "The best American cultural and historical work of 2017"

    If your goal is to truly understand the American past and present, read this first.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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