The best books of 2021

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Politics and current affairs

Empire of Pain. By Patrick Radden Keefe. Doubleday; 560 pages; $32.50. Picador; ÂŁ20

This is the tragic, enraging story of the Sackler family, the previously low-profile owners of Purdue Pharma—which in 1996 introduced the drug OxyContin. The author shows how an epidemic of prescription-opioid abuse morphed into a worse one of illicit heroin and, later, fentanyl.

Do Not Disturb. By Michela Wrong. PublicAffairs; 512 pages; $32. Fourth Estate; ÂŁ20

A devastating exposĂ© of a remarkable leader, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda. He won global praise for ending the genocide of Tutsis in 1994 and promoting development. But his regime has ruled through fear, invaded its neighbours and assassinated opponents even after they fled abroad. The author, a former admirer, spent years gathering evidence for this…

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