A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam Test | Mid-Book Test - Medium

Neil Sheehan
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This test consists of 5 multiple choice questions, 5 short answer questions, and 10 short essay questions.

Multiple Choice Questions

1. How much preparation time do the Vietcong have before the ARVN attacked them at Ap Bac?
(a) Two months.
(b) Three days.
(c) Four hours.
(d) Seven weeks.

2. According to John Paul Vann, General Huynh Van Cao is more concerned with ________________________ than winning the war.
(a) Getting shot in the line of duty
(b) Losing his job or a promotion
(c) Looking bad on television
(d) Letting the Americans run the wartime operations

3. In order to build broad-based support for his cause, Ho Chi Minh needs to do what?
(a) Downplay his communist beliefs.
(b) Gain the aid of Communist China.
(c) Take over the south by force.
(d) Launch a massive PR campaign.

4. The ARVN forces are often sent to level villages suspected of being what?
(a) Disloyal to the South Vietnamese government.
(b) Vietcong positions.
(c) Predominantly Buddhist.
(d) All answers are correct.

5. What is the nickname of Cao's advisor, Colonel Wilbur Wilson?
(a) Black Bill.
(b) Coal Bin Willie.
(c) Stonewall.
(d) Ironsides.

Short Answer Questions

1. During the early 1960s, the Vietcong forces are _______________ in comparison to the ARVN troops.

2. Which intelligence officer, assigned to work with Vann, lives by the motto "know your foe", setting up an elaborate system of informants and launching an exhaustive data file on the Vietcong?

3. How far off (in miles) from their intended landing zones are the ARVN paratroopers eventually dropped?

4. U.S. military ships are fired on during a routine mission in this body of water:

5. This person is an influential figure in stabilizing the national government of the Philippines during the 1950s and was sent to South Vietnam to see if he could do the same there.

Short Essay Questions

1. What is the preliminary intelligence report given by Jim Drummond and the eavesdroppers in the Otters concerning the size and capabilities of the VC force at Ap Bac?

2. In what ways does John Paul Vann's life embody the spirit of the United States in the Vietnam War?

3. What are some of the many diverse features of the populace in South Vietnam that prevented a strong, unified front against the Viet Cong?

4. What political policies of Diem in particular lead to growing dissatisfaction with him and his regime among the South Vietnamese people and, eventually, the Americans as well?

5. Which American adviser is responsible for drawing up the basic plan of attack for the ARVN?

6. What features of John Paul Vann's burial at Arlington stood out?

7. What important political trends are taking place in North Vietnam and South Vietnam in the early 1960s?

8. Why do you believe General Harkins and others in the United States' military and intelligence communities put so much stock into the opinions of Vietnamese military leaders like General Huynh Van Cao, often at the expense of more sound advice from their own people, like John Paul Vann?

9. What is one of the secret desires of the American military advisers with regard to the Viet Cong's fighting tactics?

10. Discuss the significance of John Paul Vann's promotion to senior adviser for a corps region. How is this significant?

(see the answer keys)

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