With his book, "A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam", Neil Sheehan wanted to tell what happened in Vietnam and why it happened through telling the story of Lt. Colonel John Paul Vann. Sheehan said Vann had a keen sense of reality. Vann knew if they didn't change the Saigon government into something decent that would appeal to its own people, they'd never succeed at anything other than getting American soldiers killed for nothing. Although readers will find painful experiences in the book, Sheehan explained that his book is not an anti-war book.