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Born: October 27, 1936 - Holyoke, Massachusetts

Excerpt from A Bright Shining Lie

Hy the second decade after World War II, the dominant characteristics of the senior leadership of the American armed forces had become professional arrogance, lack of imagination and moral and intellectual insensitivity. . . And it also touched the civilian bureaucracies, the CIA, the State Department and the lesser civilian agencies that join the armed services in managing American overseas interests for the president. The attitudes had spread as well to the greater part of the political, academic and business leadership of the United States."

Link to the work

Teaching Topics in Social Studies
Sheehan's book is yet another account of the FAILURE OF AMERICAN POLICY IN VIETNAM however, from a unique perspective. The book is a BIOGRAPHY
of Lt. Col. John Vann and at the same time, a HISTORY of the VIETNAM WAR. Sheehan relates the story of the war through the man and the story of the man through the war. The book not only details the actions of this man and the U.S. government but also examines the corruption and incompetence of the SOUTH VIETNAMESE GOVERNMENT and graphically describes the PERSECUTION of their own people.

Teaching Topics in Language Arts
Sheehan's EPIC account of the Vietnam War is a story of PASSION, FAILURE AND DISILLUSIONMENT.
Scavenger Hunt
What is the connection between Daniel Ellsberg and Neil Sheehan?
. . . answer . . .
The book centers on the PERSPECTIVE of an American soldier - Lt. Colonel John Paul Vann. The PARADOXES of the man and the war are supported with PERSONAL MEMOIRS, ANECDOTES and HISTORICAL ACCOUNTS.

Facts About Neil Sheehan and A Bright Shining Lie
  • It took Sheehan sixteen years to write A Bright Shining Lie. He interviewed over 350 people for the book
  • Sheehan went to Harvard after working on his family's farm. He was not interested in writing and became a history major
  • After graduating from Harvard, Sheehan joined the army and was sent to South Korea. He took a post as a military journalist to escape an army clerking job
  • At age 25, Neil Sheehan was hired by UPI and assigned to their Tokyo office. He had only been working there for two weeks when he was suddenly promoted to Saigon bureau chief because he was the only person that could speak French
  • After covering the war in Vietnam , Sheehan was assigned to the Pentagon and the White House during the Johnson and Nixon years. Vietnam dominated his newspaper career and his generation

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