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. President John F. Kennedy proposes _______________ as a way to deal with possible peasant uprisings spurred on by the Vietcong.
(a) Carpet bombing
(b) Attrition and depletion
(c) Counter-insurgency
(d) Intense negotiations

2. John Paul Vann's frustrations with the war grow because of which of the following reasons:
(a) He is merely an advisor and doesn't get to go fight anyone.
(b) The Vietcong are extremely powerful and the US is hopelessly outmatched.
(c) Media coverage of the war is deemed unfair and biased against the government in Saigon.
(d) He gets no real help from Huynh Van Cao or from his own commanders.

3. What is the American troops' nickname for the Viet Cong?
(a) Vietnamese Communists.
(b) Viet Reds.
(c) Victor Charlies.
(d) Ho Chi Minhers.

4. Which of the following is true regarding the interrogation tactics of the Vietnamese and Cambodian "Rangers"?
(a) They were very cruel and often wound up killing their captives.
(b) They adhered strictly to the Geneva Convention with regard to interrogation techniques.
(c) They did not capture anyone, but rather killed them on the field of battle.
(d) They were considerate and polite.

5. The Communist forces of North Vietnam are led by which of the following men?
(a) Ho Chi Minh.
(b) Mao Tse-Tung.
(c) Ngo Dinh Diem.
(d) General Huynh Van Cao.

Short Answer Questions

1. During 1962, much of South Vietnam is __________.

2. What word best describes John Paul Vann's physical size?

3. What is John Paul Vann's call sign during the Battle of Ap Bac?

4. Where is John Paul Vann buried?

5. What is the nickname of Cao's advisor, Colonel Wilbur Wilson?

Short Essay Questions

1. Briefly describe some of the things John Paul Vann did that get him categorized as lucky by those with whom he served.

2. What are some of the reasons why the South Vietnamese people as a whole do not rally behind the Americans?

3. 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?

4. In 1962, what is the United States' stated primary role in Vietnam?

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

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

7. What do the many guerrilla-style hit-and-run missions of the Viet Cong teach them about the nature of their enemies, the South Vietnamese and the Americans?

8. From this brief vignette of the funeral of John Paul Vann, what facts can we glean about his life and personality?

9. What other significant figures are introduced during this introductory section of the book? List two or three of them.

10. 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?

(see the answer keys)

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