A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam by Neil Sheehan

A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam by Neil Sheehan lands on the shelves of my shop, where it will be found in my Military History section.

London: Jonathan Cape, 1989, (First Edition) Hardback in dust wrapper.

Contains: Black & white photographs; Maps [6];

From the cover: Professionally outspoken and fearless, Lt Col John Paul Vann went to Vietnam in 1962, full of confidence in Americas might and right to prevail. He was soon appalled by the South Vietnamese troops unwillingness to fight, by their random slaughter of civilians and by the arrogance and corruption of the U. S. military. He flouted his supervisors and leaked his sharply pessimistic and, as it turned out, accurate assessments to the U. S. press corps in Saigon. Among them was Neil Sheehan, who became fascinated by the angry Vann, befriended him and followed his tragic and reckless career.

Sixteen years in the making, A Bright Shining Lie is an eloquent and disturbing portrait of a man who in many ways personified the U. S. war effort, of a soldier cast in the heroic mould the closest the United States came in Vietnam to a Lawrence of Arabia.

Blunt and idealistic, Vann was haunted by a shameful secret. He gambled away his career, left the army that he loved and returned to Vietnam as a civilian in the pacification programme. He then rose to become the first American civilian to wield a generals command in war. When Vann was killed in 1972, he was mourned at Arlington cemetery by leading political figures of the day. Sheehan recounts his astonishing story in this intimate and intense meditation on a conflict that scarred the conscience of a nation.

Very Good in Very Good Dust Wrapper.

Black boards with Gilt titling to the Spine. 861 pages. Index. Bibliography. 9½” x 6¼”.


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