Empire of Pain

Patrick Radden Keefe

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13 April 2021
9781529063097
1086 pages
Synopsis

'Put simply, this book will make your blood boil . . . Keefe . . . paints a devastating portrait of a family consumed by greed and unwilling to take the slightest responsibility or show the least sympathy for what it wrought.' John Carreyrou, author of Bad Blood, in the New York Times

The gripping and shocking story of three generations of the Sackler family and their roles in the stories of Valium and Oxycontin, by the prize-winning, bestselling author of Say Nothing.

The Sackler name adorns the walls of many storied institutions – Harvard; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Oxford; the Louvre. They are one of the richest families in the world, known for their lavish donations in the arts and the sciences. The source of the family fortune was vague, however, 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, Patrick Radden Keefe exhaustively documents the jaw-dropping and ferociously compelling reality. Empire of Pain is the story of a dynasty: a parable of 21st century greed.

Put simply, this book will make your blood boil . . . a devastating portrait of a family consumed by greed and unwilling to take the slightest responsibility or show the least sympathy for what it wrought . . . a highly readable and disturbing narrative.

John Carreyrou, author of Bad Blood, New York Times Book Review

An engrossing (and frequently enraging) tale of striving, secrecy and self-delusion . . . Even when detailing the most sordid episodes, Keefe’s narrative voice is calm and admirably restrained, allowing his prodigious reporting to speak for itself. His portrait of the family is all the more damning for its stark lucidity.

Jennifer Szalai, New York Times

A true tragedy in multiple acts. It is the story of a family that lost its moorings and its morals . . . Written with novelistic family-dynasty and family-dynamic sweep, Empire of Pain is a pharmaceutical Forsythe Saga, a book that in its way is addictive, with a page-turning forward momentum.

David M. Shribman, Boston Globe