Empire of Pain: An Evening with Patrick Radden Keefe (Paperback Release Party!)

In celebration of the paperback release of Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty, we are hosting award-winning author Patrick Radden Keefe! This New York Times bestseller is a grand, but devastating portrait of three generations of the Sackler family, famed for their philanthropy, whose fortune was built by Valium, and reputation destroyed by OxyContin. Empire of Pain is a masterpiece of narrative reporting and writing, exhaustively documented and ferociously compelling. It is a portrait of the excesses of America's second Gilded Age, a study of impunity among the super elite, and a relentless investigation of the naked greed and indifference to human suffering that built one of the world's great fortunes. Mr. Keefe will be in conversation with reporter Noah Kirsch.

We are no longer taking reservations, but anticipate that some seating or standing room will be available the evening of the event. 

More About the Book: The history of the Sackler dynasty is rife with drama, from baroque personal lives to bitter disputes over estates, fistfights in boardrooms, glittering art collections, Machiavellian courtroom maneuvers, and the calculated use of money to burnish reputations and crush the less powerful. The Sackler name has adorned 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, but the source of the family fortune was vague, until it emerged that the Sacklers were responsible for making and marketing a blockbuster painkiller that was the catalyst for the opioid crisis.

Empire of Pain is the saga of three generations of a single family and the mark they would leave on the world. A tale that moves from the bustling streets of early twentieth-century Brooklyn to the seaside palaces of Greenwich, Connecticut, and Cap d’Antibes, to the corridors of power in Washington, D.C. It follows the family’s early success with Valium to the much more potent OxyContin, marketed with a ruthless technique of co-opting doctors, influencing the FDA, and downplaying the drug’s addictiveness. Empire of Pain chronicles the multiple investigations of the Sacklers and their company, and the scorched-earth legal tactics that the family has used to evade accountability.

Jennifer Szalai, of The New York Times, says "An engrossing (and frequently enraging) tale of striving, secrecy and self-delusion…. Keefe nimbly guides us through the thicket of family intrigues and betrayals… 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.” 

More About the Author: Patrick Radden Keefe is a staff writer at The New Yorker and the author of the New York Times bestseller Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland, which received the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, was selected as one of the ten best books of 2019 by The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune and The Wall Street Journal, and was named one of the "10 Best Nonfiction Books of the Decade" by Entertainment Weekly. His other books include The New York Times bestseller Rogues: True Stories of Grifters, Killers, Rebels and CrooksThe Snakehead, and Chatter. His work has been recognized with a Guggenheim Fellowship, the National Magazine Award for Feature Writing and the Orwell Prize for Political Writing. He is also the creator and host of the eight-part podcast Wind of Change.

More About our Conversation Partner: Noah Kirsch is the Wealth & Power Reporter at The Daily Beast. Previously he was a staff writer at Forbes magazine, where he wrote feature stories and investigative pieces across a wide range of topics. His work has been recognized among the "Best in Business" by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. Noah has appeared on CNN, Good Morning America, NPR's All Things Considered, and BBC Radio, among other outlets.

Event date: 

Friday, November 18, 2022 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm

Event address: 

811 Elm Street
Winnetka, IL 60093
Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty By Patrick Radden Keefe Cover Image
ISBN: 9781984899019
Availability: On Our Shelves Now--Subject to Availability
Published: Anchor - October 18th, 2022

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 Say Nothing.