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A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and…
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A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam

by Neil Sheehan

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1,316165,938 (4.2)34
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» See also 34 mentions

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Almost 25 years old, but this is a book to be reread,lest we forget.Vann arrived in Vietnam in 1962 with the first advisors, returned in several different roles until his death in 1972.The battle descriptions are remarkable, inserts on the changes of the country over the decade outstanding, but the most remarkable thing about the book is the way that in this one man who initially had explained to the author and other reporters such as Halberstam that the war was unwinnable from the start, then over the years changed his mind and wanted to win almost as a personal challenge. This kind of character development in a nonfiction book is remarkable. Thank goodness for the thrift shops such as Atlanta's Last Chance for rescuing books like this. ( )
1 vote carterchristian1 | Feb 9, 2013 |
A very frank and honest look at the Vietnam war. Some would say it is controversial, especially when it was written.Must read for this era. ( )
  DaleCogdell | Dec 1, 2012 |
Wow. Quite a book. Well researched. In-depth reporting and analysis. I liked learning about Vann, but really enjoyed the oieces without Vann just as much. Some seriosuly good reporting on Vietnam and how we got to be there. Highly recommended. ( )
  bermandog | Sep 1, 2012 |
Superbe ! Si vous ne lisez qu'une seule histoire de la guerre du Vietnam, ce doit être celle-là, admirable et exaltante.' 'Minutieux mais jamais ennuyeux, complet mais jamais accablant, Sheehan est, dans la même page, journaliste, historien, romancier. Il raconte Vann, mais aussi le Vietnam, Washington, les politiciens, la presse et l'armée, toute l'Amérique de l'après-guerre.' 'Le récit de Neil Sheehan a l'efficacité des films d'action de Hollywood, en même temps que la probité des enquêtes à l'américaine.' 'Une enquête extraordinaire, un personnage fascinant et le grand livre qui manquait sur le Vietnam.'
1 vote PierreYvesMERCIER | Feb 19, 2012 |
The history of the middle part of the Vietnam war using the life and experiences of John Vann, a senior military adviser, as a vehicle for the narrative. This does make the book more accessible but it also, necessarily, introduces material about Vann's personal life that I was not interested in.

I see that other reviews have described 'A Bright Shining Lie' as 'comprehensive', which is perhaps a strange description for a title that does not cover the French conflict in any detail and makes no mention at all of 'Nixon's war'.

On the whole though, this is a detailed, incisive and well-constructed analysis of US military policy and tactics during the period covered. Worthy of its Pulitzer. ( )
  cwhouston | Nov 20, 2010 |
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Epigraph

We had also, to all the visitors who came over their,
been one of the bright shining lies.

—John Paul Vann
to a U.S. Army historian,
July 1963
Dedication

Once Again and Always for Susan
A First Time for Maria and Catherine
And for my Mother and Kitty
First words
It was a funeral to which they all came. They gathered in the red brick chapel beside the cemetery gate.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679724141, Paperback)

This passionate, epic account of the Vietnam War centers on Lt. Col. John Paul Vann, whose story illuminates America's failures and disillusionment in Southeast Asia. Vann was a field adviser to the army when American involvement was just beginning. He quickly became appalled at the corruption of the South Vietnamese regime, their incompetence in fighting the Communists, and their brutal alienation of their own people. Finding his superiors too blinded by political lies to understand that the war was being thrown away, he secretly briefed reporters on what was really happening. One of those reporters was Neil Sheehan. This definitive expose on why America lost the war won the Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction in 1989.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:25:30 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Sheehan's tragic biography of John Paul Vann is also a sweeping history of America's seduction, entrapment and disillusionment in Vietnam. Annotation. Sheehan's tragic biography of John Paul Vann is also a sweeping history of America's seduction, entrapment and disillusionment in Vietnam.… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

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