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A Bright, Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam | Paperback

Released on 01 October 1998

Author: Neil Sheehan | Format: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 (1 customer review) | Write a review

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Lt Colonel John Paul Vann went to Vietnam in 1962, but soon became appalled by the slaughter, leaking his pessimistic assessments to the US press corps in Saigon. Neil Sheehan was among them, and became fascinated by the angry Vann, befriended him, and followed his tragic and reckless career.

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 The best guide to what when wrong in Iraq...

| | See all bri2000's reviews (16)

How is it that a book first published in 1989 and written about a war which ended more than 30 years ago tells us more about what caused the debaclé in Iraq than any of the reams of newsprint, blogs and books (with the possible exception of Fiasco) published in the past 5 years?

This fascinating book, written by a journalist who spent several years in Vietnam during the war traces the history of the US involvement in the country through the career of Colonel John Paul Vann. It analyses the ignorance (often willful) and dellusions of the US political and military leaders who thought who refused to pay any attention to the reality of the war on the ground or attempt to understand the nature of their enemy and what he was fighting for and thought that all you needed to do to win a war was put together a massive fighting force and grind the enemy up in a war of attrition. It looks at the campaign of Vann who, unusually for someone on the US side, understood the nature of the war and the stupidity of the way it was being fought, to persuade the US command to change their policies.

Absolutely fascinating and very accessible, if all you know about Vietnam is what you've picked up from movies and other pieces of pop culture you should really read this book. In fact, everybody who want to understand the US mindset which has caused us so many problems in Iraq should.

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AuthorNeil Sheehan
PublisherVintage (GB)
FormatPaperback - 896 Pages
Illustrations16pp b&w halftones