The story of the Sackler dynasty, their company Purdue Pharma, its bestselling drug OxyContin, their immensely generous philanthropy and their involvement in the opioid crisis that has created millions of addicts, even as it generated billions of dollars in profit.
Patrick Radden Keefe is an award-winning staff writer at the New Yorker and the author of Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty (winner of the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction), Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland, as well as two previous critically-acclaimed books, The Snakehead, and Chatter. He is the writer and host of the eight-part podcast Wind of Change on the origins of the Scorpions' power ballad. He is the recipient of the 2014 National Magazine Award for Feature Writing, was a finalist for the National Magazine Award for Reporting in 2015 and 2016, and also received a Guggenheim Fellowship. He grew up in Boston and now lives in New York.
There are so many "they did what?" moments in this book, when
your jaw practically hits the page * Sunday Times *
This is no dense medical tome, but a page-turner with a villainous family to rival the Roys in Succession, and one where every chapter ends with the perfect bombshell. * Esquire *
The story of the Sacklers and OxyContin is a parable of the modern era of philanthropy being deployed to burnish the reputations of financiers and entrepreneurs . . . [A] tour-de-force * Financial Times *
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 *
Explosive . . . Keefe marshals a large pile of evidence and deploys it with prosecutorial precision . . . Keefe is a gifted storyteller who excels at capturing personalities. * Washington Post *
An air-tight indictment of the family behind the opioid crisis . . . [an] impressive expose -- Harriet Ryan * Los Angeles Times *
A damning portrait of the Sacklers, the billionaire clan behind the OxyContin epidemic . . . [Keefe] has a knack for crafting lucid, readable descriptions of the sort of arcane business arrangements the Sacklers favored. -- Laura Miller * Slate *
Keefe has a way of making the inaccessible incredibly digestible, of morphing complex stories into page-turning thrillers, and he's done it again with Empire of Pain . . . equal parts juicy society gossip and historical record. -- Seija Rankin * Entertainment Weekly *