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

by Neil Sheehan

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,140317,341 (4.22)65
Biography & Autobiography. History. Military. Nonfiction. HTML:

One of the most acclaimed books of our time??the definitive Vietnam War exposé and the winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award.
When he came to Vietnam in 1962, Lieutenant Colonel John Paul Vann was the one clear-sighted participant in an enterprise riddled with arrogance and self-deception, a charismatic soldier who put his life and career on the line in an attempt to convince his superiors that the war should be fought another way. By the time he died in 1972, Vann had embraced the follies he once decried. He died believing that the war had been won.
In this magisterial book, a monument of history and biography that was awarded the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction, a renowned journalist tells the story of John Vann??"the one irreplaceable American in Vietnam"??and of the tragedy that destroyed a country and squandered so much of America's young manhood and reso
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» See also 65 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
Along with Dispatches by Michael Herr a complete history of the Vietnam War.
  Mark_Feltskog | Dec 23, 2023 |
Read this on audiobook from EWS to LS Co in 2020. Gave incredible insight on Vietnam War and gave much more perspective on the war that I did not previously know or understand. Recommend to anyone studying the Vietnam War.
  SDWets | Sep 6, 2023 |
A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam (1988) is a book by Neil Sheehan, a former New York Times reporter, about U.S. Army lieutenant colonel John Paul Vann (killed in action) and the United States' involvement in the Vietnam War.
John Paul Vann became an adviser to the Saigon regime in the early 1960s. He was an ardent critic of how the war was fought by the Saigon regime, which he viewed as corrupt and incompetent, and increasingly, on the part of the U.S. military. He was critical of the U.S. military command, especially under William Westmoreland and its inability to adapt to the fact that it was facing a popular guerrilla movement while backing a corrupt regime.
  CalleFriden | Feb 17, 2023 |
Incredibly informative book about the Vietnam War, told in part through the experiences of Lt. Col. John Paul Vann, an early military advisor and advocate for a change in what ultimately proved to be a losing and costly war strategy. Neil Sheehan, a New York Times war correspondent, provides insights into the thoughts and policies of American and Vietnamese political and military leaders, and why the war failed to accomplish its intended outcome. It's NOT a bash-America book, and is respectful of the individual serviceman. There seems to be an eerie parallel to the political and military leadership of the initial phase of the Vietnam war and the leadership during the initial phases of the 2003 Iraq invasion. It'd be nice to think that the lessons of the book would be absorbed by our own political and military leaders of today. ( )
  rsutto22 | Jul 15, 2021 |
I read this a long time ago. A found it to be very depressing BUT interesting history on how we ever got involved in that Cluster F**k (my opinion) to begin with and the machinations that kept us involved. ( )
  feralcatbob | Dec 22, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sheehan, NeilAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Beneich, DenisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carlotti, GiancarloTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mehl, RolandTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Biography & Autobiography. History. Military. Nonfiction. HTML:

One of the most acclaimed books of our time??the definitive Vietnam War exposé and the winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award.
When he came to Vietnam in 1962, Lieutenant Colonel John Paul Vann was the one clear-sighted participant in an enterprise riddled with arrogance and self-deception, a charismatic soldier who put his life and career on the line in an attempt to convince his superiors that the war should be fought another way. By the time he died in 1972, Vann had embraced the follies he once decried. He died believing that the war had been won.
In this magisterial book, a monument of history and biography that was awarded the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction, a renowned journalist tells the story of John Vann??"the one irreplaceable American in Vietnam"??and of the tragedy that destroyed a country and squandered so much of America's young manhood and reso

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