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A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and…

A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam (1988)

by Neil Sheehan

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1,678226,622 (4.18)55



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Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
John Vann, a shining example of US dedication to ideals, was also a flawed person. The author examines the fiasco of the Viet Nam War through an examination of Vann's amazing career. Sheehan's prose hooked me; his research gave me perspective on many names from the TV news of my childhood--My Lai, Puson, Haiphong. The author effectively chronicles how the whole thing falls apart, and how individuals are left to absorb the damage. ( )
  LaurelPoe | Dec 25, 2017 |
This book is a must read for anyone interesting in learning about the Vietnam war. It follows John Paul Vann throughout his involvement in the war, and is unsparing in it's critique of the war, the U.S. involvement, our government duplicity, South Vietnam's incompetence, and Vann's character deficiencies and brillance as a strategist. It is meticulously researched and documented and truly is an important read for those that want to know more about the Vietnam war. ( )
  bhuesers | Mar 29, 2017 |
I intended to give this book 4 stars but in the end I have not and the reason is that while there is much to admire in this book, there is also much that made me question the authors perspective. The writer was a war correspondent in Vietnam during the war, but this both enhances and subtracts from the book. The book seeks to be three things at the same time 1) A biography of John Paul Vann 2) A history of Americas involvement in the Vietnam war and 3) The authors experience of Vietnam, that explains why the book is 861 pages long. However it is also 4) A criticism of America being in Vietnam 5) A criticism of the existence of South Vietnam and 6) A justification for the Communist victory. All of which makes it a strange book, well written, well researched and in many places quite insightful and then...and then you get the sometimes explicit sometimes implied idea that it was all for nothing and always would be. That victory was impossible in Vietnam, no matter what was done, But he goes further than that, he goes further than simply saying that America and South Vietnam were wrong or foolish, but that the Communist victory was the best outcome. But having said that, it is well written and researched and it covers aspects of the war not often available in popular histories of the war. ( )
1 vote bookmarkaussie | Mar 5, 2017 |
a stunning tale, I wish I was as bold as John Paul Vann
Outstanding book on a particular person involved in the Vietnam War. ( )
  hvg | Jan 3, 2017 |
Walking through a book store one day I spotted this book and purchased it on the fly. Best that I can remember I purchased the book because: 1) It won a Pulitzer, 2) It won the National Book Award, 3) It was a National Bestseller; and 4) It's about the Vietnam War, a place and event I was told by the draft board that I could expect to visit (I didn't). This was an interesting book with lots of history. At the time I read it I had no idea who John Paul Vann was. And, maybe that was one point the author intended to make: that John Paul Vann was just like so many others who found themselves split between two worlds so far apart geographically and culturally. (Well,if the author didn't intend to make that point, I'll make it.) ( )
  trek520 | Dec 7, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
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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

Once Again and Always for Susan
A First Time for Maria and Catherine
And for my Mother and Kitty
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:04 -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.

» see all 5 descriptions

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