By Lauren Kessler
Communists vilified her as a raging neurotic. Leftists brushed off her as a harassed idealist. Her kin pitied her as an exploited lover. a few stated she was once a traitor, a stooge, a mercenary, and a grandstander. To others she used to be a real American heroine -- fearless, principled, daring, and resolute. Congressional committees enjoyed her. The FBI hailed her as an avenging angel. The Catholics embraced her. however the truth is, greater than a part century after she captured the headlines because the "Red secret agent Queen," Elizabeth Bentley is still a mystery.
New England-born, conservatively raised, and Vassar-educated, Bentley used to be groomed for a quiet lifestyles, a small existence, which she explored in short within the Nineteen Twenties as a instructor, teaching well-heeled younger women at the fantastic thing about Romance languages at an East Coast boarding tuition. yet in her mid-twenties she rejected either previous and destiny and set herself on a wholly new path. within the Thirties she embraced communism and fell in love with an undercover KGB agent who initiated her into the area of espionage. by the point the United States plunged into global warfare II, Elizabeth Bentley was once directing the operations of the 2 greatest undercover agent earrings in the US. ultimately, she had 80 humans in her mystery gear, 1/2 them staff of the government. Her resources have been all over the place: within the departments of Treasury and trade, in New Deal corporations, within the top-secret OSS (the precursor to the CIA), on congressional committees, even within the Oval Office.
When she defected in 1945 and instructed her tale -- first to the FBI after which at a sequence of public hearings and trials -- she used to be catapulted to tabloid reputation because the "Red undercover agent Queen," ushering in, virtually single-handedly, the McCarthy period. She used to be the government's superstar witness, the FBI's most crucial informer, and the darling of the Catholic anticommunist circulation. Her disclosures and accusations placed a halt to Russian spying for years and helped to set the tone of yankee postwar political life.
But who used to be she? a sensible, self sustaining lady who made her offerings freely, correct and unsuitable, and had the power of personality to work out them via? Or was once she used and manipulated by means of others?
Clever Girl is the definitive biography of a conflicted American lady and her debatable legacy. Set opposed to the backdrop of the political drama that outlined mid-twentieth century the United States, it explores the undercover agent case whose explosive family and overseas coverage repercussions were debated for many years yet no longer totally printed -- till now.
Read or Download Clever Girl: Elizabeth Bentley, the Spy Who Ushered in the McCarthy Era PDF
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Additional info for Clever Girl: Elizabeth Bentley, the Spy Who Ushered in the McCarthy Era
A clearance through the evaluation board may have merely optimistic results at the libel case. Remington’s libel attorney have been busy placing jointly the case opposed to Bentley whereas the evaluation board deliberated. He had employed a personal investigator, a former FBI agent, to dig round, in hopes of uncovering whatever he might use opposed to her within the pretrial listening to. one of many first goods to floor used to be the rumor that Bentley were handled for psychiatric stipulations at Yale collage health facility. whilst the FBI received wind of this, the recent Haven workplace instantly made “discreet inquiries. ” info like this, if precise, may well damage not just the libel case but in addition solid doubt on all of Bentley’s statements. the fee to the Bureau, in either credibility and standing, will be huge, immense. yet inside days, New Haven brokers despatched Hoover an pressing teletype with excellent news: there has been no list of Bentley ever having been admitted to the health center. Hoover may well breathe more straightforward. however the research persisted, with the PI monitoring down Bentley’s adviser at Columbia who implied that she had no longer been the writer of her personal master’s thesis, and a graduate scholar (now a professor) who had identified her in Italy and who painted a in all likelihood destructive portrait of the younger Elizabeth Bentley. She had run amok in Italy, he informed the investigator, ingesting to extra and sporting on promiscuously. in the meantime, Bentley’s attorneys have been busy digging into Remington’s previous, monitoring down leads approximately his communist actions ahead of coming to Washington, D. C. each side have been prepared for a struggle. First, there has been the pretrial listening to in mid-March 1949, performed to figure out even if Remington truly had a case. There, NBC’s attorneys, who represented all of the codefendants—Bentley, Meet the click, and the network—argued that Bentley’s feedback have been, to begin with, slander no longer libel, and moment, that she had basically repeated the privileged testimony she gave to the Ferguson Committee, which was once protected against prosecution. Remington’s legal professional countered that no matter if the phrases have been slander or libel made little distinction. the purpose used to be that her feedback have been destructive to his client’s attractiveness and profession. not anything will be extra damaging to an economist in executive, Richard eco-friendly argued, than to be referred to as a communist. in addition, Bentley’s comments have been truly severe legal allegations. In accusing him of communist actions, she used to be additionally accusing him of perjury and of violating U. S. statutes. The federal pass judgement on assigned to the case listened heavily after which deliberated throughout the spring and summer time and into the autumn with no handing down a call. in the meantime, Bentley needed to get on along with her existence. She had to locate safe, gainful employment, anything steadier and extra trustworthy than the occasional public lecture. She used to be, as she had continually been, a girl who supported herself, who had no relatives funds to cushion her, no wife to keep up her. yet she did have—or not less than she used to have years ago—a vocation. She used to be a instructor.