May 23, 2012

The ‘Siren of the Shenandoah’

(NYTimes) ... Was Belle Boyd a heroine or a clever charlatan? A thrill-seeking opportunist or a brave Confederate patriot? The Civil War’s most overrated spy, or, as Carl Sandburg wrote, someone who “could have been legally convicted, shot at sunrise, and heard of no more?” Such rhetorical musings, while contributing to her myth, also miss the point of why it has endured; Belle Boyd isn’t remembered today for the efficacy of her spying, but for the way she went about it. Continued