Mexico's petroleum industry has come to symbolize the very sovereignty of the nation itself. Politicians criticize Pemex, the national oil company, at their peril, and President Salinas de Gortari has made clear that the free trade negotiations between Mexico and the United States will not affect Pemex's basic status as a public enterprise. How and why did the petroleum industry gain such prominence and, some might say, immunity within Mexico's political economy?
The Mexican Petroleum Industry in the Twentieth Century, edited by Jonathan C. Brown and Alan Knight, seeks to explain the impact of the oil sector on the nation's economic, political, and social development. The book is a multinational effort—one author is Australian, two British, three North American, and five Mexican. Each contributing scholar has researched and written extensively about Mexico and its oil industry.