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A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam Paperback – September 19, 1989
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Mr Sheehan has performed a critical service by exposing how our system operated, and he has been justly recognized for it. I think Mr. Sheehan's readers can confirm what they probably already suspect: That all "great powers" operate like this -- from the beginning of time, and I'm sure to the end. The US was, tragically, no different than the English, Germans, French, Spanish, Medieval Popes, Chinese, Arabs, Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, you name them at their respective heights. The difference, which I believe Mr. Sheehan was telling us, is that in our relatively free and democratic system there is a greater likelihood that the truth will be communicated in an unvarnished manner, and acted upon, but this did not happen in Vietnam for the many and varied reasons so vividly explained by Mr. Sheehan. What is so incredibly amazing, and I think a tremendous strength in this book, is how close one man, John Paul Vann, got to making the truth crystal clear at a high enough level where it might have done some good at the crucial time just prior to the beginning of the US military buildup. Think about it -- a lowly Light Bird Colonel ready to give the briefing of his life at one of the highest policy levels, and it was stopped only hours before the dam could have been burst.
One area I was hoping Mr.Read more ›
John Paul Vann's career in Vietnam spanned a decade, from its beginning in 1962 with Vann as U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel and advisor to the South Vietnamese, to its end in 1972 with his death in a helicopter crash, Vann having become the civilian equivalent of a two-star general. During his decade in Vietnam, Vann was consistently frustrated and angry with the pusillanimous and corrupt performance of South Vietnamese forces and the frequent incompetence of American senior political and military leaders. He repeatedly urged his superiors, through normal channels and in the press, that the U.S. government could not defeat the Communist forces in South Vietnam with its military might alone. The war could only be won by the South Vietnamese with American assistance. That help, Vann recommended, should take the form of facilitating social change and providing military equipment and advice. By the time of his death, however, Vann's views had changed. After the near destruction of the Vietcong during the 1968 Tet offensive, he came to believe that America could indeed achieve a military victory in Vietnam.
Sheehan explores every aspect of Vann's life with the keen eye of the best biographers.Read more ›
Vann began his involvement with Vietnam as an Army Lt. Colonel. Because of both some personal troubles and his outspoken criticism of the ineffective and unnecessarily cruel way in which the war was being conducted, he was in effect cashiered, and he returned briefly to civilian life back in the United States. Yet Vann couldn't help but be drawn back into this country he had fallen in love with while doing his initial military tour. He found the opportunity to return to Vietnam as a civilian supporting the American military mission, and threw himself into the opportunity with characteristic energy and enthusiasm.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Sheehan tells the story of the Vietnam War very well, using the career of the brilliant but flawed John Paul Vann to illustrate key principles. Read morePublished 1 month ago by olemikey
A Pulitzer Prize winning book deserves a prize winning review but since there are already plenty of those here, let me say this. Read morePublished 1 month ago by James Stravers
Superb book. Removes the sugar coating from the prominent actors before, during and after Vietnam. The central character in the book is NOT the type of person you would want to... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Reuben W. Mccallum
Arrived on time and in perfect condition. Borrowed from a fellow Nam vet and read the book last year. Had to have in my library. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Mike F.
Served as a Marine Infantry man starting in the 1980's. Always curious about Vietnam War history. Visited Vietnam in 2013 and spent a month going all over. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Joseph C. Martinak
A must read for anyone wanting to understand the situation in Indochina during the 1940s through 1975. Great historical read.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
An excellent book by a correspondent present from the time of advisors to the Diem regime forces during the Kennedy Administration to the time the US forces pulled out. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Paul