Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty by Patrick Radden Keefe
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 to the arts and 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.
This book was so good and so interesting. Radden Keefe is just such a good author and makes this so engaging. His research is impeccable and thorough, and he covers every aspect of the family. This book was also just a perfect mix of everything I love: drug policy, messy family drama, laws and regulations, pharmaceutical companies — that’s literally all of my personal and professional interests.
My one criticism is that I wish there was more on the legal side of things. This may just be because I’m a lawyer and interested in those things, but I wanted more on the lawsuits against them. I wanted more information from their depositions and legal documents. I’m sure someone will publish that in the future, especially as there are still lawsuits against them now, but I wish Radden Keefe went into that a little more.
The other reason this is getting 4.5 stars instead of 5 is because I know I wouldn’t have loved it as much if I had read it with my eyes rather than listening to it on audio. I just think some of the details would have gotten tedious. But, because I listened to the audiobook (narrated by the author), I loved it. Overall, I cannot recommend this enough.
Have you read this book? What did you think? I’d love to know!