SAIGON: Memories of a Fallen City

For more than a century Saigon has played coy mistress to a series of foreign masters. Seemingly pliant, she has been occupied by Chinese conquerors, French colonialists, Japanese invaders and American troops. When the French arrived in 1862, Saigon was an unprepossessing village of palm trees and straw shacks. Then homesick planners dreaming of Paris remade her to suit their own visions. Narrow, winding streets were rearranged into the neat geometry of spacious public squares and broad boulevards. A twin-spired cathedral, an opera house, a palace were built to grace the squares....

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