The Real History of the Mexican Drug Trade
The untold history of the Mexican drug trade.
Discover the secret history behind the headlines.
The Mexican drug wars have inspired countless articles, TV shows and movies. From Breaking Bad to Sicario, El Chapo's escapes to Trump's tirades, this is a story we think we know. But there's a hidden history to the biggest story of the twenty-first century.
The Dope exposes how an illicit industry that started with farmers, families and healers came to be dominated by cartels, kingpins and corruption. Benjamin T Smith traces an unforgettable cast of characters from the early twentieth century to the modern day, whose actions came to influence Mexico as we now know it. There's Enrique Fernández, the borderlands trafficker who became Mexico's first major narco and one of the first victims of the war on drugs; Eduardo 'Lalo' Fernández, Mexico's most prominent heroin chemist and first major cocaine importer; Leopoldo Salazar Viniegra, the brilliant doctor and Marxist who tried (and failed) to decriminalize Mexico's drugs; and Harry Anslinger, the head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics whose sensationalist strategies paved the way for U.S. interference and the extraordinary levels of violence in Mexico today.
The Dope is the epic saga of how violence and corruption came to plague modern Mexico, and the first book to make sense of the political and economic big picture of the Mexican drug wars.
Praise for The Dope
Fascinating ... Smith tells of the forgotten men and women who have shaped Mexico's narco trade - bringing these ghosts back to wild and violent life.Toby Muse, author of Kilo: Life and Death Inside the Secret World of the Cocaine Cartels
With the skills of a fine historian and the verve of a true storyteller Benjamin T. Smith unearths the twisted roots of the catastrophic drug war. A fascinating, surreal and tragic taleIoan Grillo, author of El Narco and Blood Gun Money
At last, a history that truly makes sense of the sound and fury of the Mexican drug tradeHéctor Aguilar Camín
The Dope is breathtaking. It casts an unforgiving light on the dark corners of a sinister history.Sergio Aguayo
A compelling narrative that at last gives us a history-for-all of Mexico's all-out drug warEd Vulliamy, author of Amexica: War Along the Borderline
The Dope offers an expansive and compulsively readable popular history that successfully upends more than a century of false rhetoric, shattering the most insidious and persistent myths about Mexico's drug trade ... A vital corrective.Francisco Cantú, author of The Line Becomes a River
A roiling, rambunctious trek through all that created the modern Mexican drug trade ... Really great stuff, really great reading.Sam Quinones, author of Dreamland
Benjamin Smith dispels the myths with a much-needed dose of reality ... [A] crisply written, deftly narrated book.Daniel Immerwahr author of How to Hide an Empire
Smith's depth of knowledge astonishes... This searing history leaves a markPublishers Weekly
A well-researched, sobering view of the damage that Americans' need to get high wreaks on [their] neighborsKirkus
Magisterial and immensely readable... True crime at its historical best, replete with all the larger-than-life characters and thrills and spills of a Netflixnarco dramaFinancial Times