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Summary

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 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.

©2021 Patrick Radden Keefe (P)2021 Penguin Randomhouse LLC

Critic reviews

"One of the most anticipated books of this spring." (Washington Post)

"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)

"Jaw-dropping.... Beggars belief." (Sunday Times)

"You feel almost guilty for enjoying it so much." (The Times)

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I know it’s clichéd but, “If you read one book this year.....”

Illuminating, Jaw-dropping and unremittingly brilliant in its forensic account of the drug-induced catastrophe that plagued America. Reading this as a Brit who was aware but in no way fully cognisant of the enormous scale of the problem in the U.S. this book provided an invaluable insight into some of the darker practices and opportunities that present themselves within American corporate culture. A sobering but extremely rewarding account.

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Extremely interesting background and perspective

As someone who had a family member addicted to heroin, I was always very interested to learn how a pharma company had effectively managed to legalise the sale of heroin/addictive opioids in the US and demonstrably create a generation of addicts who’s lives and family’s lives have been destroyed.

It is so disheartening to learn that they had the information and the power to make changes but that greed was overtook any sense of moral compulsion.

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A must read

Thank you to Patrick and his team for this book, a must read for anyone seeking to understand how this scourge happened and the players responsible.
An extremely important story that needed to be told, and as so many players are involved in a way a lay person can comprehend.
That has been accomplished.
I am to the depths of my soul sadden and totally outraged by the behaviour of the Sacklers. I urge you to read.

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Superb

Investigative journalism at its best. Authoritative, lifting the lid on corporate corruption enabled by the most corrupt legal and political system in the western world.

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Shocking account of greed

This is an important book which chronicles the unrestrained pursuit of profit over many years. The behaviour of the characters is shocking, in.particular the indifference to the suffering, and the greed. It also makes one wonder how the defence lawyers can sleep at night. The author has done a great job of marshalling the facts from an overwhelming body of records.

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making money out of pain

A story which needed to be told. Immigrant family works hard to be successful. Ends up making money out of provision of pain relief medication with major negative impacts for many who took it. Got caught up in a cycle of money making and appear to have divorced themselves from any sense of responsibility for negative impact of what they did. There is a sense that justice has not been delivered. But, while one extended family made billions of profits, many others collaborated to facilitate what transpired and not clear that they will be held responsible either. Opiod crisis a tragedy - millions addicted, hundreds of thousands dead. Whatever safeguards exist in society have failed it. Has society learned any lessons or will this continue or be followed by similar scenarios playing out?

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captivating

absolutely loved this book. so well researched and put together, I could not stop listening

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A stunning work & great performance

Absolutely absorbing book told in great depth, and always very engaging. Wonderfully read by the author.

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Exceptional.

An incredibly well written book that is both a thrilling family saga and a riveting true crime mystery. The narration (by the author) is excellent. Best non-fiction book I have read in years.

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Nothing to say but brilliant.

Nothing to say, but brilliant and beautifully read.another 7 words ? Nothing more to say. Well.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 19-05-21

HBO?Netflix?Award-winning movie/limitedseries?

Brilliant! Needs to be shared on more platforms! Some Sackler descendant/movie producer must be interested...