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Losing the War

Robert Dallek

23 November 1989
A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam 
by Neil Sheehan.
Cape, 861 pp., £15.95, April 1989, 0 224 02648 8
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... and public consensus was a formula for political failure at home and for military defeat abroad. In his compelling biographical and historical study of John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam, NeilSheehan focuses our attention on this sorry chapter in American foreign affairs. A prize-winning reporter in Saigon for United Press International and the New York Times, Sheehan also won distinction as the ...

Who’s in charge?

Chalmers Johnson: The Addiction to Secrecy

6 February 2003
Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers 
by Daniel Ellsberg.
Viking, 498 pp., $29.95, October 2002, 0 670 03030 9
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... On 10 March, the New York Times published a leak from inside the Pentagon to the effect that General William Westmoreland, the commanding officer in Vietnam, was asking for 206,000 more troops. NeilSheehan and Hedrick Smith reported this leak, which was accurate and had a devastating effect on Congress and the American people. It did not come from Ellsberg, but ‘as I observed the effect of ...

Sucking up

Michael Rogin

12 May 1994
Second Front: Censorship and Propaganda in the Gulf War 
by John MacArthur.
California, 274 pp., £10, January 1994, 0 520 08398 9
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Live from the Battlefield: From Vietnam to Baghdad – 35 Years in the World’s War Zones 
by Peter Arnett.
Bloomsbury, 463 pp., £17.99, March 1994, 0 7475 1680 4
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... for the mass public at home, not those on the contested foreign ground – to substitute for war the image of war. That effort, failing in Vietnam, produced the news reporter as American hero – NeilSheehan, David Halberstam, Seymour Hersch, Jonathan Schell, Peter Arnett. They reported not only the war the government did not want its citizens to see, but also the government efforts to invent a ...

Christian v. Cannibal

Michael Rogin: Norman Mailer and American history

1 April 1999
The American Century 
by Harold Evans.
Cape, 710 pp., £40, November 1998, 0 224 05217 9
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The Time of Our Time 
by Norman Mailer.
Little, Brown, 1286 pp., £25, September 1998, 0 316 64571 0
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... finale, but he is offering his history lesson as a clarion call to wake the American Left (a summons answered in the enthusiastic endorsements of, for example, John Kenneth Galbraith, the reporter NeilSheehan and the historian Sean Wilentz). The antagonist he explicitly argues with most often is his fellow philo-American of British origins, Paul Johnson (once on the Left, then Thatcherite, now an ...

I figured what the heck

Jackson Lears: Seymour Hersh

27 September 2018
Reporter 
by Seymour M. Hersh.
Allen Lane, 355 pp., £20, June 2018, 978 0 241 35952 5
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... of bombs as nervous laughter rippled through the room – a scene that underscored the cosy familiarity between the Pentagon and the press. Eventually, with the help of the New York Times reporter NeilSheehan, Hersh succeeded in getting two AP dispatches published on the Times front page, vindicating Salisbury by confirming government concealment of civilian casualties. Hersh quickly realised the ...

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