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About the Author

American journalist Cornelius Mahoney "Neil" Sheehan was born on October 27, 1936 in Holyoke, Massachusetts. In 1958 he received a B.A. from Harvard University. After serving in the U.S. Army from 1959 to 1962, Sheehan began working for the United Press International. Following a stint in the Tokyo mostrar mais bureau he worked as a bureau chief covering the Vietnam War for two years. Sheehan joined The New York Times in 1964 and reported from Indonesia and again Vietnam before becoming the Pentagon correspondent in 1966. He began reporting on the White House in 1968. In 1971 Sheehan published in The New York Times controversial details from the classified Pentagon Papers regarding the war in Vietnam. The government lost the resulting case, New York Times Co. v. United States, in which it had tried to halt these actions. Sheehan has written several bestselling books. He won a non-fiction Pulitzer Prize in 1989 for A Bright Shining Lie, considered to be one of the best books ever written about the Vietnam War. It also won the 1988 National Book Award for Nonfiction. He has also published The Arnheiter Affair, After the War Was Over, and A Fiery Peace in a Cold War. Neil Sheehan died in Washington, D. C. on January 7, 2021 at the age of 84. (Bowker Author Biography) mostrar menos

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I was very tired of John Paul Vann by the end of the second volume. Several times while reading I questioned why we needed to read all the prurient details of Vann's nightlife and questionable morals.

However, it all adds to a heck of a tale, and if there is a better one-man representation of US efforts is our Vietnam war I haven't heard of him.
 
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kcshankd | outras 32 resenhas | Apr 11, 2024 |
During June of 1971 my commanding officer pointed out the sharply-dressed person talking with a pair of uniformed folks beside the road in Pleiku's MACV Team 21 complex. He told me something to the effect that I was seeing a civilian who'd been appointed to the job of a two-star general. I think CWO2 Walraven also told me a little bit of John Vann's previous history, but his main point was wonder at the oddity. I'd be discharged before Vann died about a year later, but I noticed his name in the news when the death happened. Then from time to time I'd see him mentioned in my reading, which made me interested in his biography.

So: When this book was first published I bought a copy, read it, found it interesting, and had an interesting discussion with my barber about it. Her husband had somehow encountered Vann during his career, so she was also curious about Vann's life. In her mind Vann was an interesting character she'd heard a bit about.

My first reading of this book was largely an effort to understand Vann. My recent reading was much more about understanding my generation's Southeast Asian war. The book serves both purposes well, though I'd certainly not recommend it as your only source of information about the Vietnam war. It is, though, one perspective that certainly merits your attention.

A Bright Shining Lie is well-researched and well-written, with lots of discussion about how the American military approached the Vietnam war. The second chapter is the best short history I've seen of the events that brought the United States into Vietnam, and how it stumbled into a war. It touches on politics, on the biases of American diplomacy and military leadership, and on the serious problems created by the South Vietnamese leadership. There's also a lot of description of operational realities faced by American soldiers. And, of course, it covers the life of John Paul Vann, who was seriously flawed but extremely capable.

Most books about the Vietnam war either concentrate at the command and/or political aspects of the conflict OR they concentrate on the experience of the soldiers who fought it. This book, partly because of the details of Vann's career, manages to address both.

It's a good book. I'm glad I reread it.
… (mais)
 
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joeldinda | outras 32 resenhas | Mar 20, 2024 |
Along with Dispatches by Michael Herr a complete history of the Vietnam War.
 
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Mark_Feltskog | outras 32 resenhas | 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.
 
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SDWets | outras 32 resenhas | Sep 6, 2023 |

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