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Neil Sheehan
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Commentator
    (October 27, 1936-January 7, 2021)
    Born in Holyoke, Massachusetts
    Saigon bureau chief for UPI (1962-64)
    Correspondent for the New York Times (1964-76)
    Received the Pentagon Papers from Daniel Ellsberg (1971)
    Wrote 'A Brief Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam' (1988)
    Appeared in the <5685 documentary 'The Vietnam War' (2017)
    A story he filed implicating Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge of involvement in plots to overthrow the government of Ngo Dinh Diem was suppressed by UPI, which then suggested that he either take a vacation or be fired (1963).
    One of his frequent sources of information, Vietnamese journalist Pham Xuan An, was also a spy for the Viet Cong.
    He reneged on his promise to Ellsberg to not photocopy the Pentagon Papers documents.
    He was passed over when the Pulitzer Prize for public service was awarded to the New York Times for publishing the Pentagon Papers, even though the Prize's five-man jury had recommended that Sheehan and the Times share the honor.
    He spent sixteen years researching and writing 'A Brief Shining Lie.'
    He said, 'I'm something of an eccentric with an obsessive personality.'
    He was married to Susan Margulies for 54 years.
    He earned scholarships to Mount Hernon prep school and to Harvard.
    After he reported heavy South Vietnamese casualties in a battle that the government had officially declared a victory, an American officer chided him, 'You ought to talk to some of the people who've got the facts.' He replied, 'That's why I went down there every day. You might try sending your own people down.'
    Publication of the Pentagon Papers revealed that the government and military had been systematically lying to the American public about the Vietnam War.
    He was badly injured and ended up in financial difficulties after his car was struck head-on by an uninsured driver (1974).
    'A Bright Shining Lie' won a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award.

Credit: C. Fishel


 
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