Empire of pain the secret history of the Sackler dynasty

by Keefe, Patrick Radden, 1976-

Format: OverDrive MP3 Audiobook 2021 2021
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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, by the prize-winning, bestselling author of Say Nothing 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 the sciences. The source of the family fortune was vague, however, 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 begins with the story of three doctor brothers, Raymond, Mortimer and the incalculably energetic Arthur, who weathered the poverty of the Great Depression and appalling anti-Semitism. Working at a barbaric mental institution, Arthur saw a better way and conducted groundbreaking research into drug treatments. He also had a genius for marketing, especially for pharmaceuticals, and bought a small ad firm. Arthur devised the marketing for Valium, and built the first great Sackler fortune. He purchased a drug manufacturer, Purdue Frederick, which would be run by Raymond and Mortimer. The brothers began collecting art, and wives, and grand residences in exotic locales. Their children and grandchildren grew up in luxury. Forty years later, Raymond's son Richard ran the family-owned Purdue. The template Arthur Sackler created to sell Valium--co-opting doctors, influencing the FDA, downplaying the drug's addictiveness--was employed to launch a far more potent product: OxyContin. The drug went on to generate some thirty-five billion dollars in revenue, and to launch a public health crisis in which hundreds of thousands would die. This 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. 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. The history of the Sackler dynasty is rife with drama--baroque personal lives; 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. 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.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "In the years leading up to the Great Depression, when a recent immigrant could hustle to make a living, if not gather untold riches, Isaac Sackler had but one lesson to impart to his sons Arthur, Mortimer, and Raymond: "If you lose a fortune, you can always earn another. But if you lose your good name, you can never get it back." Isaac's sons and their children would, indeed, go on to amass several fortunes, soaring to the multiple billions of dollars. The family's good name would adorn the world's most venerated museums and universities, from New York to Tel Aviv, London to Los Angeles. But how it would have pained Isaac to see, a century after imparting his worldly wisdom, that, while the money was still there, the family's name was no longer revered, and that the carefully curated reputation based on the Sackler family's philanthropy would be permanently and irrevocably tarnished by their development of a drug that became a scourge. From the earliest forays into medical marketing to its final days dodging bankruptcies, the Sackler empire was founded on battling pain, first with the breakthrough drugs Librium and Valium and ending with the engine of the opioid crisis, the highly addictive OxyContin. Indefatigable investigative journalist Keefe crafts a page-turning corporate biography and jaw-dropping condemnation of the Sacklers' amoral disregard for anything save the acquisition of power, privilege, and influence. In Keefe's expert hands, the Sackler family saga becomes an enraging exposé of what happens when utter devotion to the accumulation of wealth is paired with an unscrupulous disregard for human health."
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Additional Information
Subjects Sackler family
Sackler, Arthur M. Family
Purdue Pharma L.P.
Rich people United States Biography
Pharmaceutical industry Marketing
Pharmaceutical industry Corrupt practices
Biography & Autobiography
True Crime
Family histories.
Publisher [Place of publication not identified] :Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group,2021
Books on Tape2021
Edition Unabridged.
Contributors OverDrive, Inc.
Participants/Performers Read by Patrick Radden Keefe.
Language English
System Details Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Format: OverDrive Listen
Format: OverDrive MP3 Audiobook
Requires OverDrive app 3.0 (Windows) / 1.0 (Mac) / 1.0 (Windows Mobile)
Description 1 audio file : digital
ISBN 9780593162408
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