Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe [8/10]

Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty” is an expose of evil that will stand the test of time as a classic. Patrick Radden Keefe is a consummate investigator and precise, rhythmic chronicler, and what a subject he has chosen to tackle. The Sackler family started and pursued the OxyContin opioid crisis that has engulfed large slabs of the United States and killed a half million people. The author follows the Sacklers from humble origins in the early 20th Century, through years of obscure but wealth-gathering pharmaceutical company building, through the years of fanning the greed-fuelled ascent to billionaire status, through the years of compulsive opportunistic philanthropy, through the twisted treacherous theatricality of a large, voracious family, to our current era of justice sought. This is no easy tale to tell, with its complexity and deeply disguised corruption, but the author exhibits masterful control and cogency. Empire of Pain should arouse rousing outrage and motivate sweeping change. Brilliant.

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