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Bright, Shining Lie
Bright Shining Lie
Author: Neil Sheehan
Sheehan's tragic biography of John Paul Vann is also a sweeping history of America's seduction, entrapment and disillusionment in Vietnam.
ISBN-13: 9780712666565
ISBN-10: 0712666567
Publication Date: 10/1/1998
Pages: 880
Edition: New Ed
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Publisher: Pimlico
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Killed in a helicopter crash in Vietnam in 1972, controversial Lt. Col. John Paul Vann was perhaps the most outspoken army field adviser to criticize the way the war was being waged. Appalled by the South Vietnamese troops' unwillingness to fight and their random slaughter of civilians, he flouted his supervisors and leaked his sharply pessimistic (and, as it turned out, accurate) assessments to the U.S. press corps in Saigon. Among them was Sheehan, a reporter for UPI and later the New York Times (for whom he obtained the Pentagon Papers). Sixteen years in the making, writing and re search, this compelling 768-page biography is an extraordinary feat of reportage: an eloquent, disturbing portrait of a man who in many ways personified the U.S. war effort. Blunt, idealistic, patronizing to the Vietnamese, Vann firmly believed the U.S. could win.
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Along with RUMORS OF WAR and DISPATCHES, this is one of the best books to read to learn what really happened in Vietnam... and unfortunately, maybe gain an understanding of what is now happening in Iraq.
reviewed Bright, Shining Lie on + 534 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Killed in a helicopter crash in Vietnam in 1972, controversial Lt. Col. John Paul Vann was perhaps the most outspoken army field adviser to criticize the way the war was being waged. Appalled by the South Vietnamese troops' unwillingness to fight and their random slaughter of civilians, he flouted his supervisors and leaked his sharply pessimistic (and, as it turned out, accurate) assessments to the U.S. press corps in Saigon. Among them was Sheehan, a reporter for UPI and later the New York Times (for whom he obtained the Pentagon Papers). Sixteen years in the making, writing and re search, this compelling 768-page biography is an extraordinary feat of reportage: an eloquent, disturbing portrait of a man who in many ways personified the U.S. war effort. Blunt, idealistic, patronizing to the Vietnamese, Vann firmly believed the U.S. could win; as Sheehan limns him, he was ultimately caught up in his own illusions. The author weaves into one unified chronicle an account of the Korean War (in which Vann also fought), the story of U.S. support for French colonialism, descriptions of military battles, a critique of our foreign policy and a history of this all-American boy's secret personal life; he was illegitimate, his mother a "white trash" prostitute that led him to recklessly gamble away his career.
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