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The first authoritative guide to how the world drinks, this reference details alcohol use in different countries and cultures. Variation is striking, with alcohol sometimes a food, a sacrament, a symbol, a tool, a tranquilizer, a medicine, a love potion, or an object of scorn--often with very different meanings and uses in a single country. This volume reveals multicultural and ethnic beliefs, practices, and attitudes about drinking around the world. An extensive introduction discusses the close link between alcohol and culture and provides a foundation for the rest of the book. Each of the following chapters is written by an expert contributor and discusses alcohol and culture in a particular country. Chapters discuss historical trends, drinking among ethnic and religious minorities, national policies, and social outcomes. Countries range from industrial nations known for their alcohol research, to developing nations and to places famous for drinking. A concluding chapter highlights important similarities and differences.