Patrick Radden Keefe

Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty
Sep 29, 2021, 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm,   OBA Theater, Oosterdokskade 143, Amsterdam
2021-09-29 20:00:00 2021-09-29 22:00:00 Europe/Amsterdam Patrick Radden Keefe (The John Adams Institute) Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty OBA Theater, Oosterdokskade 143, Amsterdam The John Adams Institute
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The name of the Sackler family 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 the catalyst for the opioid crisis.

In the past twenty years, opioids were responsible for the overdose deaths of nearly 500,000 Americans. Two generations later, that good name is being removed from museums and educational institutions.

In Empire of Pain (translated into Dutch as Het pijnstillerimperium, published by Nieuw Amsterdam), Patrick Radden Keefe – who is also a staff writer at The New Yorker and host of the award-winning podcast Wind of Change – paints a grand, devastating portrait of three generations of the Sackler family. It’s a relentless investigation of the indifference to human suffering that built one of the world’s great fortunes. Empire of Pain is a chilling and mesmerizing read, filled with firsthand interviews and takeaways from confidential and original documents.

(portrait picture © Philip Montgomery)

“Keefe is the rare writer who can pull together countless legal and archival documents and interview transcripts to create a nonfiction work that reads like a thriller,” according to The Atlantic. President Obama put the book on his yearly summer reading list.

Buy the book at Athenaeum Boekhandel and get a 10% discount using code JOHNADAMS2021.


All attendees of this event must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have tested negative for COVID-19 within 24 hours of attending the event. In attending the event you certify and attest that you and all individuals in your party attending the event:

• Are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (at least two weeks after final dose) and provide proof of vaccination with your Corona Check QR Code and ID, OR
• Will take a COVID-19 diagnostic test (PCR or antigen) within 24 hours of the event and will provide proof of negative result with your Corona Check QR Code and ID.

Without a valid QR code, we cannot grant you access to the venue. In that case, tickets will not be refunded.

You will not attend the event if you have recently been exposed to a confirmed COVID-19 case or are exhibiting symptoms consistent with COVID-19 in the 24 hour period prior to the event. 

Doors open at 7.15pm. Please arrive on time, as the corona check at the door might create longer lines than usual.

Moderator: Eelco Bosch van Rosenthal

In collaboration with: Nieuw Amsterdam & OBA

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