Empire of Pain

Patrick Radden Keefe

2021 Winner

Baillie Gifford Prize

2021 Nominee

Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year

13 May 2021
9781529062489
560 pages

Synopsis

Winner of the 2021 Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction
One of Barack Obama’s Favorite Books of 2021
Goodreads Choice Awards 2021: Winner, Memoir & Autobiography

Empire of Pain is the story of a dynasty: a parable of 21st century greed

'One of those authors I will always read, no matter what the subject matter, which is why I gobbled up Empire of Pain . . . a masterclass in compelling narrative nonfiction.' – Elizabeth Day, The Guardian '30 Best Summer Reads'

'If you haven’t read it already, you really should. I’ve been thinking about it nonstop ever since I finished it.' – Malcolm Gladwell

The gripping and shocking story of three generations of the Sackler family and their roles in the stories of Valium, Oxycontin and the opioid crisis.

The Sackler family is one of the richest in the world, and their name adorns the walls of many famous institutions – Harvard; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Oxford; the Louvre. The source of the family fortune was vague, until it emerged that the Sacklers were responsible for making and marketing Oxycontin, a blockbuster painkiller that was a catalyst for the opioid crisis – an international epidemic of drug addiction which has killed nearly half a million people.

In this masterpiece of narrative reporting and writing, award-winning journalist and host of the Wind of Change podcast Patrick Radden Keefe exhaustively documents the jaw-dropping and ferociously compelling reality.

Shortlisted for the 2021 Financial Times/McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award

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Praise for Empire of Pain:

'More compelling, more character driven, and more capacious than any novel I have read this year.' – Sara Collins

'It’s superbly written, exhaustively researched, full of fierce moral resolve, jaw-droppingly revealing, and above all propulsively readable. More than a match for any novel, and I think a future classic.' – Andrew Holgate, Literary Editor, The Sunday Times, chair of the Baillie Gifford judges, 2022

'Jaw-dropping . . . Beggars belief' – The Sunday Times

'You feel almost guilty for enjoying it so much' – The Times

'A page-turner with a villainous family to rival the Roys in Succession, and one where every chapter ends with the perfect bombshell' - Esquire

'This is unflinching reporting of a story that will grip and disturb you.' – Evening Standard

'A chilling and mesmerizing read, “substantially built on the family’s own words”. Which is what makes it so damning.' – The Observer

'He [Patrick Radden Keefe] adopts a calmly astonished tone as he tells a shocking story of callousness, cover-ups and monumental greed.' – The Guardian, Audiobook of the week

'Magnificent' – The Guardian
'Damning' – The Daily Mail
'A tour de force' – The Financial Times
'Superb' – The Spectator
'Excellent' – The Economist

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