• The Dope

  • The Real History of the Mexican Drug Trade
  • By: Benjamin T. Smith
  • Narrated by: John Curless
  • Length: 17 hrs and 48 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (43 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The Mexican drug trade has inspired prejudiced narratives of a war between north and south, White and Brown; between noble cops and vicious kingpins, corrupt politicians and powerful cartels. In this first comprehensive history of the trade, historian Benjamin T. Smith tells the real story of how and why this one-peaceful industry turned violent. He uncovers its origins and explains how this illicit business essentially built modern Mexico, affecting everything from agriculture to medicine to economics - and the country’s all-important relationship with the United States.

Drawing on unprecedented archival research; leaked DEA, Mexican law enforcement, and cartel documents; and dozens of harrowing interviews, Smith tells a thrilling story brimming with vivid characters - from Ignacia “La Nacha” Jasso, “queen pin” of Ciudad Juárez, to Dr. Leopoldo Salazar Viniegra, the crusading physician who argued that marijuana was harmless and tried to decriminalize morphine, to Harry Anslinger, the Machiavellian founder of the American Federal Bureau of Narcotics, who drummed up racist drug panics to increase his budget. Smith also profiles everyday agricultural workers, whose stories reveal both the economic benefits and the human cost of the trade.

The Dope contains many surprising conclusions about drug use and the failure of drug enforcement, all backed by new research and data. Smith explains the complicated dynamics that drive the current drug war violence, probes the US-backed policies that have inflamed the carnage, and explores corruption on both sides of the border. A dark morality tale about the American hunger for intoxication and the necessities of human survival, The Dope is essential for understanding the violence in the drug war and how decades-old myths shape Mexico in the American imagination today.

©2021 Benjamin Smith (P)2021 Recorded Books, Inc.

What listeners say about The Dope

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very good

great job and I will buy another book from this author. good documentary yype book

2 people found this helpful

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Only complaint is that narrator doesn’t know Spanish

The narrator is great with one fault: he says the names and words in Spanish incorrectly, beyond having an accent. While it is no flaw for any person to not know a particular language, in this context it seems necessary.

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Stuffy British Reader Abuses the Spanish Language

The subject matter of this book is really interesting, and the author clearly did a lot of great research. However, it reflects a real cultural laziness that no one at Recorded Books made any attempt to find a narrator who can properly pronounce Spanish names and places. It makes for painful listening-- 16 hours of it. I understand that the author is British-- but come on, the book (and frankly the people that purchase the audiobook) deserve a narrator who can correctly pronounce the many Spanish words.

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Great book, but an audiobook about Mexico deserves a narrator that speaks Spanish

Great book, well researched and written. Highly recommend. My only suggestion is regarding the narrator: John Curless does a good job, but for a book littered with Spanish phrases/places/names, someone who speaks Spanish would be a far better fit. Curless does great through the English text, but stumbles through the Spanish words painfully

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one of my favorites

deep look in to the trouble down south glad I had the time need to finish couldn't put it down

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Profile Image for Ciaran Treacy
  • Ciaran Treacy
  • 10-21-21

An Outstanding Work of Modern History

Incredibly well researched, compellingly and insightfully written, and engagingly narrated. A gem of contemporary history.