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Powell's Books Presents Patrick Radden Keefe in Conversation With Lydia Polgreen
Empire of Pain (Doubleday) is 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 — written by Patrick Radden Keefe, the prize-winning, bestselling author of Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland. 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. In his new book, Keefe 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. Keefe will be joined in conversation by Lydia Polgreen, journalist and head of content for Gimlet Media.

Apr 22, 2021 05:00 PM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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Speakers

Patrick Radden Keefe
Patrick Radden Keefe is a staff writer at The New Yorker and the author, most recently, 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 top ten nonfiction books of the decade by Entertainment Weekly. His previous books are The 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.
Lydia Polgreen
Lydia Polgreen is a journalist, who is currently the head of content for Gimlet Media. From 2016 until March 2020, she was the editor-in-chief of HuffPost. Prior to that, she was editorial director of NYT Global at The New York Times, and the West Africa bureau chief for the same publication, based in Dakar, Senegal, from 2005 to 2009. She has won many awards, most recently the Livingston award in 2009. She also reported from India. She was then based in Johannesburg, South Africa, where she was The New York Times Johannesburg Bureau Chief.