Bright Shining Lie


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Bright Shining Lie
Bright Shining Lie


SHEEHAN, Neil. A Bright Shining Lie. John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam. New York: Random House, (1988). Octavo, original black cloth, original dust jacket.

First edition of the award-winning journalist's powerful analysis of the Vietnam War through the story of Lt. Col. John Paul Vann, inscribed on the half title in the year of publication by Sheehan, "Dec. 8, 1988 To W— S— A career Army man, with Best Wishes, Neil Sheehan."

"More than 58,000 U.S. soldiers died in the Vietnam War, but in the world of letters, the death of a single American civilian came to represent the entire jungle quagmire. John Paul Vann,… a former lieutenant colonel and the first 'civilian general' to lead American troops in combat… He went down in a helicopter crash on June 9, 1972… [and] was memorialized in Sheehan's masterpiece, A Bright Shining Lie. Thirty years on, his book hasn't lost any of its astonishing power… Although Vann was a gung-ho warrior type and always believed the Vietnam War was winnable, he came to realize the attrition strategy was a failure… He fought back through the news media, leaking information sometimes through Sheehan" who, in 1971, obtained the Pentagon Papers, which brought the New York Times the Pulitzer prize. Sheehan, who spent five years researching Vann's life, doesn't back away from his often disturbing personal history in Bright Shining Lie, which "lives on as a lasting work of scholarship… it won the National Book Award… a special achievement award from the Vietnam Veterans of America, and in 1989, the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights Book Award" (New York Times). First edition, first printing: with 16 pages of illustrations, six pages of maps.

A fine inscribed copy.

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