Given Coates read the audio version of *Between the World and Me* himself, I was quite surprised that an actor took on this project until I saw the length of the book. Readers expecting another visceral shot of cultural context like *Between the World and Me* may be surprised by the sheer length of *We Were Eight Years in Power*.
The difference in length is your first signal that this is a very different work than Coates' breakout hit a couple years ago. Rather than a standalone piece of blistering nonfiction, *We Were Eight Years in Power* is a collection of Coates' work over Obama's presidency; a piece for each of the eight years. Each piece is framed by a contextual essay in which Coates enumerates what drove the piece, what has stood the test of time, what he would change now, and what he would correct if he could. These contextual essays are robust in their own right, and so readers who have been keeping up with Coates' work in *The Atlantic* and elsewhere may well find lots to challenge and surprise them here.
The pace of this is slower, the prose more academic, and the tone more refined than *Between the World and Me*, but *We Were Eight Years in Power* shines brilliant insight into what otherwise appears to be the whipsaw shift between America’s first Black president and Donald Trump. Recommended for fans of Coates, and anyone interested in #BlackLivesMatter or Black history generally.
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