Neil Sheehan, Pentagon Papers reporter, Vietnam author, dies
January 8, 2021 5:59 AM   Subscribe

Sheehan broke the story of Pentagon Papers for The New York Times and won a Pultizer for a “A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam." He died Jan. 7 at age 84. With all the other news going on lately, you might have missed this.
posted by NotLost (21 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
The NYT also published this fascinating account: Now It Can Be Told: How Neil Sheehan Got the Pentagon Papers
posted by rmannion at 6:03 AM on January 8 [9 favorites]

Yeah, that NYT article was really great stuff. Also:

posted by jquinby at 6:10 AM on January 8 [1 favorite]

"A Bright Shining Lie" is on my bookshelf, almost within reach as I type this. It's a tremendous book. I did a full-semester course on the Vietnam War with tons of readings, and it's head and shoulders better than everything else in the course. Sheehan had all the sources and ambition that Halberstam did, and he's a far better writer. Highly recommended. Farewell to a great reporter and writer.
posted by martin q blank at 6:16 AM on January 8 [9 favorites]


Difficult to explain how I knew him but he wrote that my stepfather was "a moderate womanizer" compared to Vann and my mom and I had fun with that.


posted by Mr. Yuck at 6:45 AM on January 8 [2 favorites]

The Pentagon Papers were a major event in United States history, but unfortunately the story of them is not taught enough in school, perhaps because it conflicts with the common wisdom about both the Vietnam War and our country in general. Both the contents of the papers and the story of how they came to be published are both fascinating and horrifying. Sheehan and Ellsberg were/are the real deal; much more patriotic than anyone I have seen on the news in a long time.

The story of the Pentagon Papers is a real rabbit hole (which may be why so many people have only a passing familiarity with it). In addition to reading Sheehan, learning Daniel Ellsberg’s story is a good start: Wikipedia, website.

Thank you for everything, Mr. Sheehan; Rest In Peace.
posted by TedW at 6:47 AM on January 8 [9 favorites]

posted by doctornemo at 8:02 AM on January 8

posted by adekllny at 8:16 AM on January 8

I read his book, A Bright Shining Lie several times in college, and it changed how I thought about America.

posted by wuwei at 8:59 AM on January 8 [3 favorites]

Bright Shining Lie is a great book, and I recommend it highly. RIP, Neil...
posted by ivanthenotsoterrible at 9:11 AM on January 8 [4 favorites]

posted by The Ardship of Cambry at 9:13 AM on January 8

posted by Canageek at 10:30 AM on January 8

posted by mfoight at 11:06 AM on January 8

An important book I still have my copy.

posted by ahimsakid at 11:51 AM on January 8

posted by pt68 at 12:47 PM on January 8

posted by Spatch at 2:23 PM on January 8

I read "A Bright Shining Lie" and was in a white hot rage for a week. A great book.
posted by acrasis at 3:01 PM on January 8 [3 favorites]

posted by socialjusticeworrier at 4:46 PM on January 8

posted by dougfelt at 7:29 PM on January 8

posted by Pouteria at 5:08 AM on January 9

posted by detachd at 3:58 PM on January 9

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