SOUTH VIET NAM: Paradise Lost

As the capital of French colonialism in Indo-China, Saigon nurtured some of Asia's fanciest fleshpots. Among them: an elegant bordello called the Dai La Thien (Paradise), with 300 silken-clad girls who entertained in mirrored cubicles; the Grand Monde gambling establishment, which earned enough to pay $10,000 a day .

in taxes; Madame Paula's satin-draped opium parlor, where a pipe cost 75 piasters (against 5 at lower-class establishments), and the customers ranged in rank up to diplomats and generals.

To Premier Ngo Dinh Diem, this sort of thing was an offense both to his religious principles (he is Roman Catholic) and to...

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