The War: Death Among the Rubber Trees

The district town of Loc Ninh, some 70 miles north of Saigon, was a company town and, until last week, a tranquil and prosperous one. Most of its 10,000 inhabitants worked for a giant French rubber plantation, the Societe des Caoutchoucs d'Extreme-Orient, whose trees marched away row upon row, mile after mile, across the low hills toward the Cambodian border.

Overlooking the town stood the red-roofed villas of the French plantation managers. Tropical flowers climbed their villa walls from green lawns, and their country club boasted a large swimming pool and a...

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