[A] prodigious overview…a century-long chronicle crammed with as much violence and mayhem as a Don Winslow border novel.
— Anthony DePalma - New York Times Book Review
[A] magisterial and immensely readable new history of the Mexican drug trade. ... Drawing on a decade of research, Smith traces the roots of Mexico’s multiple drug wars from indigenous remedy to the solace of soldiers during the 1910-20 revolution, to the present day. His pacy narrative is true crime at its historical best, replete with all the larger-than-life characters and thrills and spills of a Netflix narco drama. … The Dope
is gripping and revealing.
— Jude Webber - Financial TimesThe 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. By revisiting bygone drug panics and the dawn of narcotics criminalization, Smith reveals how today’s staggering cartel violence is rooted in militarized policing, US meddling, and the state’s unending thirst for power and wealth. A vital corrective.
— Francisco Cantú, author of The Line Becomes a River
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 tale.
— Ioan Grillo, author of Blood Gun Money and El Narco
A roiling, rambunctious trek through all that created the modern Mexican drug trade—populated by Cadillacs and barbarians, godfathers and presidents, border dope queens and chatuma
kings, and, lining the way, a tawdry cavalcade of Mexican federal officials. Forget ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán. This book makes clear that the pioneers who forged the trafficking industry were employed in the Mexican government. Really great stuff, really great reading.
— Sam Quinones, author of Dreamland
Benjamin T. Smith is a superb scholar. The Dope
is breathtaking. It casts an unforgiving light on the dark corners of a sinister history, reveals the empowerment of Mexico’s drug traffickers, and the responsibilities of both U.S. and Mexican governments.
— Sergio Aguayo, professor at the Centro de Estudios Internacionale, El Colegio de México
Benjamin T. Smith dispels the myths with a much-needed dose of reality. Mexico’s drug wars are the bloody consequence of the United States’ voracious demand for drugs and simultaneous insistence on prohibiting them. The cost has been staggering, as Smith shows in this crisply written, deftly narrated book.
— Daniel Immerwahr, author of How to Hide an Empire
At last, a history that truly makes sense of the sound and fury of the Mexican drug trade.
— Hector Aguilar Camín
A compelling narrative that at last gives us a history-for-all of Mexico’s all-out drug war.
— Ed Vulliamy, author of Amexica
Fascinating ... Smith tells of the forgotten men and women who have shaped Mexico's narco trade. He brings these ghosts back to wild and violent life.
— Toby Muse, author of Kilo
Smith’s depth of knowledge astonishes, and his pointed critiques of U.S. drug policy hit home. This searing history leaves a mark.
— Publishers Weekly
Smith does a fine job of piecing all these elements together, showing how the American market led to the boom of border towns such as the once-sleepy hamlet of Tijuana and how hard-line anti-drug policies do not bring down consumption rates. A well-researched, sobering view of the damage that Americans’ need to get high wreaks on our neighbors.
— Kirkus Reviews