“We were Eight Years in Power” collects 8 essays written by Ta-Nehisi Coates between 2008 and 2016, taking readers from the early optimism of Barack Obama’s presidency through the rise of Donald Trump. The title alludes to 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. This “master class on the essay form” would “inspire us as Americans to become better—or at least clearer on why we’re not” (The New York Times Book Review). “What Happened” by Hillary Clinton offers a rare post-mortem in which the author “is both coroner and corpse” (NYT). These six books, all available at the Nichols Library, do a good job of distilling the mood of the electorate.