Empire of Pain

By Patrick Radden Keefe,

Book cover of Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty

Book description

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR • A grand, devastating portrait of three generations of the Sackler family, famed for their philanthropy, whose fortune was built by Valium and whose reputation was destroyed by OxyContin. From the prize-winning and bestselling author of…

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Why read it?

4 authors picked Empire of Pain as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

In this tour-de-force work of investigative journalism, New Yorker staff writer Patrick Radden Keefe traces the sordid history of the Sackler dynasty, the billionaire family behind Purdue Pharmaceuticals and its blockbuster narcotic painkiller OxyContin.

With both narrative verve and moral urgency—a combination that isn’t always easy to pull off—this book exposes one of the many points of origin for America’s devastating opioid epidemic. Keefe’s work has reinforced my conviction that drug historians have an important role to play in shaping public understanding and policy debates around these substances in the present. I found this book to be a page-turner and…

From Benjamin's list on the history of drugs.

The New Yorker writer and author of the New York Times bestseller Say Anything—unveils the secrets and lies of the Sackler family, the billionaire owners of Purdue Pharma. Keefe is a master of narrative storytelling and an incredible researcher, and this book made me want to scream at the greed and callousness of the Sacklers. Many see the family as downright evil, and understandably so. Since Keefe’s book came out, a number of museums and organizations have tried to distance themselves from the Sacklers. Keefe also testified before a congressional committee that aimed to hold the Sacklers accountable for…

If every American loves a good courtroom drama, every American also loves to hate the Sackler family, the billionaire founders of Purdue Pharma. It is hard to understate the devastation that this single family has caused in countless communities across the United States. In Empire of Pain, Patrick Radden Keefe, a journalist with The New Yorker, brings the Sacklers to life in three-dimensional technicolor and with prose that is at once elegant and delightful to read. The story he tells is shocking, disturbing, and admirably humane, a complex portrait of a family who built a dynasty, yet who…

This may well be the best book ever written on a corporate scandal. Just out, I expect to see it on prize lists for this year. Keefe weaves together three independently fascinating stories in seamless, brilliant, and deeply researched fashion: a 20th-century immigrant American dynastic family (the Sacklers), the emergence of the modern pharmaceutical industry, and the opioid disaster. His eye for the smoking gun document or telling admission is as good as his eye for irony and the many darkly humorous connections in this saga. The book gets better as it goes on, all the way to the end,…

From Samuel's list on corporate crime.

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