When Neil Sheehan arrived in Vietnam as a young reporter in 1962, he had no idea that he was entering a conflict that would shape his entire career. As America's military involvement escalated, he found that the war he was observing firsthand no longer resembled the contest the U.S. government was trying to present to the American people. Sheehan's reporting brought him into intense conflict with the Pentagon and the State Department.
As a New York Times correspondent, Sheehan acquired the Pentagon Papers, the Defense Department's classified history of the war, which revealed a long-standing pattern of government deception about the origins of the conflict and prospects for its favorable outcome. When the Nixon administration attempted to block publication of the documents, the case went all the way to the Supreme Court, in a decision that vindicated the Constitution's guarantee of freedom of the press.
Neil Sheehan distilled his experience and insight of the Vietnam War in his massive narrative A Bright Shining Lie. Sixteen years in the writing, it told the story of the war through the experience of a single exceptional warrior. Sheehan's book received the Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction and was hailed as the most outstanding book to emerge from the conflict. Neil Sheehan's courage and tenacity as a reporter, and his eloquence as a writer, have made him the role model for all journalists who fight against powerful opposition to bring truth to light.