I'm usually weary about essay collections of previously published material. In this case, I really enjoyed the commentary before each essay and it almost made up for the many moments of repetition. I mean really, how many times do we need to see that Newt Gingrich quote?!
I appreciate that Coates faces the contradictions in his writing and offers frank appraisal when references were missed in the original works. It was also clear to see his growth as a writer over the course of these eight essays. I loved his call out at the end of the Epilogue. Despite my complaints about this book, I really enjoyed it and will come back to it again.
That said, I agree with Roxane Gay's review that there is "a glaring absence of reckoning with the intersection of race and gender." Coates is a gifted and passionate writer. Imagine what we could read if his writing included a deconstruction of gender and really wrestled with the influence gender norms, expectations, and oppression continue to have in daily life, especially when they intersect with race.