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David L. Thurmond's From Vines to Wines in Classical Rome is the first general handbook on winemaking in Rome in over 100 years. In this work, Thurmond surveys the biology of the vine, the protohistory, history, viticulture, winemaking, distribution and modes of consumption of wine in classical Rome. He uses a close reading of the relevant Latin texts along with a careful survey of relevant archaeology and comparative practices from modern viticulture and oenology to elucidate this essential element of Roman culture.
The other report is published by the U. S. State Department and is more "committed," but only as far as the national interest of the world's only suÂ perpower is concerned. Therefore, the State Department report must be read while keeping in mind the state of U. S. relations with the countries concerned. This report is accompanied by the so-called "certification" process, whose arÂ bitrary character has often been stressed. For instance, Iran, a country whose determination to fight the drug transit on its territory is well-known - more than 100 Iranian law enforcement agents die every year as a restult - was removed from the "blacklist" of "decertified countries" in the spring of 1999, precisely as it was inaugurating a policy of opening itself to external influÂ ence, including that of the United States. In retrospect, this demonstrates that the U. S. government had decertified Iran in past years because it was viewed as an Islamic and terrorist country, not because of its supposed involvement in drug trafficking. Neither does the last State Department report explain why Haji Ayub Afridi, a major Pakistani drug baron, who had voluntarily surrendered to U. S. authorities, returned to Pakistan in 1999 after spending a mere three and a half years in a U. S. prison.
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