Cover Image: American Cartel

American Cartel

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Member Reviews

A good intriguing book about opioid manufacturing and the companies and people that helped contribute to its success. Amazing investigative work very thorough work on the government corruption and the greed that leads it all.

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Highly recommended this book to read. I could not put it down. I hope to read more books by this author in the future. Definitely recommend this book to true crime fans.

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Fans of Empire of Pain should pick up this book today!

There have been several books addressing the opiate problem in our country, but American Cartel does a great job of delivering something a little different so that it stands out in a market already flooded with information.

This is a well-researched, informative book, that has a big focus on the generic drug distributors who flooded the market contributing to the opiate crisis.

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Reads like a movie.

American Cartel tells the insider story of the US drug epidemic from 2005 - present and an unconventional true crime novel. Extremely well researched to the point of reading like a movie.
The narrative is broken up into two segments: 2005 - 2016 which highlights the difficulties of building a case against 'big pharma' and 2016 - 2022 which discusses the intricacies of prosecuting those earlier findings.

I feared that the novel might be dry despite the topic, but that was never the case. Occasionally I found myself mired in names and places, but the relevant figures tend to feature in successive chapters which was helpful for continuity. In a pinch I would either revisit the semi-daunting 'cast list' at the front of the book (extremely helpful resource) or feign ignorance working off context clues in order to push forward.

Because sometimes needing to know what happened next was more important that making sure I knew who exactly said what.

Short easy-to-digest chapters make for a bigger impact as Higham and Horwitz highlight the struggles of the 'underdogs' vs. corporate drug manufacturers and distributors. I would argue that highly successful DEA operatives and litigation lawyers are not exactly pitiable- white privilege at its finest; but for the most part their intentions are admirable throughout.

It has been a long time since I have been able to read a full non-fiction novel in one or two sittings, and despite knowing the outcome of the case, I could not tear myself away from this read. For anyone who has been impacted by the national opiate crisis (directly or indirectly) or are curious to learn more- I strongly encourage you to pick up this book.

Warning, however: if you do, prepare to be outraged.

[Thank you to NetGalley and Twelve Books for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.]

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If you are a fan of Patrick Radden Keefe’s ‘Empire of Pain’ and were similarly consumed by the tale of the Sackler family and the roots of the opioid crisis, this book will probably interest you as well.

The authors, Washington Post journalists, are digging deeper into one part of this story – the DEA fight against Big Pharma and distributors responsible for selling millions of pills to Americans. It is a well-written, fast-paced book that reads like a thriller. You will find here even more examples of the moral corruption of the pharmaceutical business and its connection to DC politics. Unfortunately, the problem is widespread and while the Sackers may be the most famous case, thanks to Radden Keefe’s investigation, their behavior, unfortunately, is not isolated nor uncommon.

Thanks to the publisher, Twelve Books, and NetGalley for an advanced copy of this book.

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