In the 1920s and 1930s Shanghai was called the whore of the Orient, home to gangsters and warlords, where nightclubs never closed and hotels supplied heroin on room service. It became the epitome of glamour, immortalized in books and films. With its bustling population of British, Chinese, Americans, French, Germans, Japanese and White Russians, its extremes of poverty and wealth, it appeared to straddle East and West. By the time the Chinese Communist takeover of 1949 had destroyed the illusion, Shanghai had passed into legend. This portrait of the city in its heyday combines first-hand accounts with extensive research and lively reconstruction.