March 20, 2013

Lincoln’s Grave Robbers Book Review

Posted by at 12:21 am in Reads | Permalink

Lincoln's Grave Robbers book cover by Steve SheinkinLincoln’s Grave Robbers by Steve Sheinkin

Question: How are master counterfeiter Benjamin Boyd and Abraham Lincoln connected?
Answer: The friends of one guy tried to steal the other guy’s dead bones.

Counterfeiting was a big problem in the United States during the Civil War when the U.S. Treasury began mass-producing paper currency, and people began using paper money instead of just coins. Crafty people figured out how to make copies of dollar bills, and then criminals spent the “coneys” (counterfeit money) just like real money.

Benjamin Boyd was a highly talented engraver, notorious for his nearly perfect copies of real money. Once Boyd was arrested, many criminal networks crumbled without Boyd’s expert handiwork. Criminals, Jack Hughes, Terrence Mullen, and James Kennally decided that something needed to be done, so they came up with a crazy plan. They would steal President Lincoln’s remains out of his coffin, and ransom them for $200,000 and Boyd’s freedom. But first, they had to get a team of body snatchers to do the job. . .

This book tells the thrilling true story of how 3 men plotted and nearly executed a plan to break into Abraham Lincoln’s tomb and steal his remains. If you’re looking for a juicy, action-filled bit of American history, this book is certainly worth checking out. It’s full of mystery and suspense, and it reads more like an adventure story than a history lesson. (It has cool pictures too!) Sheinkin switches perspectives between the crooks and the Secret Service agents, so readers get to see both sides of the law as the great Abraham Lincoln grave robbery takes place.

Let us know in the Comments if you like this book, and suggest other fun history reads as well!

— Elysse, STACKS Writer

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