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Download A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam Audiobook, by Neil Sheehan Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (3,704 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Neil Sheehan Narrator: Robertson Dean Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2009 ISBN: 9780307578013
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In this magisterial book, a monument of history and biography that was awarded the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction, renowned journalist Neil Sheehan tells the story of Lieutenant Colonel John Paul Vann—“the one irreplaceable American in Vietnam”—and of the tragedy that destroyed that country and the lives of so many Americans.

Outspoken and fearless, John Paul Vann arrived in Vietnam in 1962, full of confidence in America’s might and right to prevail. A Bright Shining Lie reveals the truth about the war in Vietnam as it unfolded before Vann’s eyes: the arrogance and professional corruption of the US military system of the 1960s, the incompetence and venality of the South Vietnamese army, the nightmare of death and destruction that began with the arrival of the American forces. Witnessing the arrogance and self-deception firsthand, Vann put his life and career on the line in an attempt to convince his superiors that the war should be fought another way. But by the time he died in 1972, Vann had embraced the follies he once decried. He went to his grave believing that the war had been won.

A haunting and critically acclaimed masterpiece, A Bright Shining Lie is a timeless account of the American experience in Vietnam—a work that is epic in scope, piercing in detail, and told with the keen understanding of a journalist who was actually there. Neil Sheehan’s classic serves as a stunning revelation for all who thought they understood the war.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Winner of the 1988 National Book Award for Nonfiction
  • Winner of the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction
  • Winner of the 1989 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award
  • Winner of the 1989 Ambassador Book Award for American Studies

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah Harkness | 2/18/2014

    " i read this book many years ago, and I still think it must be one of the best researched, most passionate accounts of what went wrong in Vietnam for the Americans. Vann is certainly no hero - and yet for all the lying, betrayal and womanising, you can't help but think that the writer admires his passion and commitment, however misguided and blind it may be. Perhaps that in itself is a metaphore for the US? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Charlie | 2/9/2014

    " Best history of the War...better than Fire on the Lake "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hugh Carson | 2/6/2014

    " A companion book to "The Unquiet American" with regard to Vann and Holbrooke being in Vietnam before the big run-up of the war. Basically the same conclusions. True American heroes. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Katrina | 1/18/2014

    " Read this for research in a class "The Vietnam Experience". The book was a vivid history and compelling read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sarah Pardieck | 1/3/2014

    " If you're going to read about Vietnam, don't skip this one. The author(s) have the unique quality of being able to see both forest and trees and the book delivers with incredible perspective and fearless opinion. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jody | 12/26/2013

    " This book shows you how the US messed up in Vietnam. It will really open your eyes up to how the government works behind the scenes. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brianbyrne | 11/18/2013

    " Great Read if your interested in a political/military history of the conflict from an interesting and exciting perspective. I am usually bored by political/military histories but this book added in the personal first person perspective. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kevan | 10/9/2013

    " One very good and scary book. A biography of a brilliant but deeply flawed Vietnam era American military leader "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Craig Meads | 10/5/2013

    " If you only read one book about the Vietnam War, this is the one. I've read this book twice, several years between the two readings. The book was much better the second time. I can't reccommend this book enough, it's a definite must read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Paul | 9/3/2013

    " This is a multi-book vol which not only details the life of a very difficult man but is the best explanation of how the US engaged in a 15 year long impossible war, that I have yet read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dsknott | 7/2/2013

    " A great book. Must read for politicians who choose war. We seem to think that the decision to wage war is so profound it must be infallible. We make mistakes and those mistakes are monumental. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jack | 6/28/2013

    " A great history about Vietnam especially from the pacification viewpoint. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Todd Carlson | 12/17/2012

    " Every American should be reading this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kamal Sawyer | 10/23/2012

    " An interesting take on the vietnam war on john paul vann. Took me a long time to finish the bk but it was worth every page. Very few books win two awards & this is one bk you should take your time with. The telling of the story is compellingly engaging. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kirsten | 6/24/2012

    " No surprise here: It took me 11 months to get through this 800-page monster. That said, it was good to learn more about Vietnam and read a book that was so meticulously researched. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Martha Johnson | 12/17/2011

    " I read this soon after it came out and it changed everything I thought and knew about Vietnam. Brilliant book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bill | 12/1/2011

    " This book turned me a Vietnam veteran, from a Vietnam hawk into an anti-war activist "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jay | 9/21/2011

    " An amazing chronicle of the Vietnam debacle with some amazing reporting from the groung. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mark Harrison | 8/31/2011

    " The amount of detailed, inside information is staggering. The story of John Paul Vann was used as a jumping off point to understand the ultimate lie: the true story of Vietnam. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 AC | 8/26/2011

    " This book is powerful, intelligent, poignant -- in listening to it I found myself more than once shaking within. The tragedy described in the brilliant narrative lives with us still. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Paul | 4/25/2011

    " This is one of the best books I think I'll ever read. Gorgeous prose, an utterly fascinating story, and a nuanced yet strikingly profound critique of the U.S. war in Vietnam and the hubris of great powers. It's long but it is worth every second. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bob | 1/10/2011

    " Excellent biography and history of the Vietnam War to boot. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rockyslack | 12/17/2010

    " A great book, probably the best book ever writtten about Vietnam. Mr. Sheehan,s knowledge of the subject and his writing style made this book easy to read. A definite must-read for military history, war or biographies. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Johnbh46 | 11/27/2010

    " The absolute best and most informative analysis of the events and history leading up to the Viet Nam war and most revealing portrayal of the mistakes that led to a disastrous outcome. For a student of these times, a mandatory read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Katrina | 8/27/2010

    " Read this for research in a class "The Vietnam Experience". The book was a vivid history and compelling read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bruce | 8/3/2010

    " Eye opening to a Vietnam Vet. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steve | 7/8/2010

    " It was bad enough to go through it to know who sent us there and why just makes it harder still! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David | 6/19/2010

    " Bought this book in a hotel in Bangkok and read it on the beach on Phuket. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Charlie | 6/11/2010

    " Best history of the War...better than Fire on the Lake "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 William | 6/11/2010

    " A great history of the Vietnam war that focuses on the poor tactics vs. morality. A lengthy and well researched book.

    Some of the tactical errors described sound similar to some current military endeavors. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Caterina | 3/21/2010

    " Another excellent history of war (got me on a history of 20th century wars post WWII kick, which is pretty depressing) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joel | 3/4/2010

    " A really tough book that explains why the Americans went terribly wrong. "

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About the Author
Neil Sheehan is the author of A Bright Shining Lie, which won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction in 1989. He spent three years in Vietnam as a war correspondent for United Press International and The New York Times and won numerous awards for his reporting. In 1971, he obtained the Pentagon Papers, which brought the Times the Pulitzer Prize Gold Medal for meritorious public service.
About the Narrator

Robertson Dean has played leading roles on and off Broadway and at dozens of regional theaters throughout the country. He has a BA from Tufts University and an MFA from Yale. His audiobook narration has garnered numerous AudioFile Earphones Awards. He now lives in Los Angeles, where he works in film and television in addition to narrating.