A Bright Shining Lie – by Neil Sheehan

Several months ago, I made the decision to read several books about the War in Vietnam. I read Matterhorn (fiction) by Karl Marlantes, and The Haunting Legacy by Marvin and Deborah Kalb.

After consuming the two books above, I chose Neil Sheehan’s A Bright Shining Lie – John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam.


Although John Paul Vann dedicated his life to service to his country, the book does not pull any punches regarding the weaknesses and humanity of the character in its title.

Sheehan was “on the ground – in-country” throughout this period of time in Vietnam. He was one of the “embedded” news reporters who lived this war, side-by-side with those responsible for strategizing and carrying out the plans of war.

Through Vann’s rise through both civilian and military hierarchies solely dedicated to the war, we are offered a terribly unique perspective – that merits the time one must invest to complete this 800 page manifesto…It’s truly worth it.

I highly recommend this book….just don’t expect to come away with a warm and fuzzy feeling in your soul. It just “ain’t gonna happen.” Such is war.

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