The 1989 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award was presented to Neil Sheehan for A Bright Shining Lie and Jonathan Kozol for Rachel and Her Children. A Bright Shining Lie, which also won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction in 1989, tells the story of Lieutenant Colonel John Paul Vann, perhaps the most clear-sighted, outspoken, and honest American figure on the ground in Vietnam from 1962 to 1972.
Neil Sheehan spent three years in Vietnam as a war correspondent for United Press International and The New York Times and won numerous awards for his reporting. In 1971, he obtained the Pentagon Papers, which brought the Times the Pulitzer Prize Gold Medal for meritorious public service. Sheehan lives in Washington, D.C. He is married to the writer Susan Sheehan.