Lincoln's Grave Robbers (Scholastic Focus)

Lincoln's Grave Robbers (Scholastic Focus)

by Steve Sheinkin


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A true-crime thriller -- the first book for teens to tell the nearly unknown tale of the brazen attempt to steal Abraham Lincoln's body. Reissued in Scholastic Focus, with an exciting new cover.

The action begins in October of 1875, as Secret Service agents raid the Fulton, Illinois, workshop of master counterfeiter Ben Boyd. Soon after Boyd is hauled off to prison, members of his counterfeiting ring gather in the back room of a smoky Chicago saloon to discuss how to spring their ringleader. Their plan: grab Lincoln's body from its Springfield tomb, stash it in the sand dunes near Lake Michigan, and demand, as a ransom, the release of Ben Boyd -- and $200,000 in cash. From here, the action alternates between the conspirators, the Secret Service agents on their trail, and the undercover agent moving back and forth between them. Along the way readers get glimpses into the inner workings of counterfeiting, grave robbing, detective work, and the early days of the Secret Service. The plot moves toward a wild climax as robbers and lawmen converge at Lincoln's tomb on election night: November 7, 1876.

A dynamic and thrilling tale from critically acclaimed author Steve Sheinkin.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781338290134
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date: 09/11/2018
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 58,994
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 9 - 12 Years

About the Author

Steve Sheinkin is the critically acclaimed author of National Book Award Finalist and Sibert Medal winner Bomb: The Race to Build -- and Steal -- the World's Most Dangerous Weapon; Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War, winner of the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction; and National Book Award Finalist The Port Chicago 50. He resides in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Read an Excerpt

At ten o'clock that night, Whitley was sitting at the desk in his hotel room, writing up a report. There was a gentle knock on the door.
“Come in,” said the chief.
The door opened. A voice sang out, “Good evening, Colonel!”
Whitley turned to his guest. “McCartney!” he shouted, drawing his revolver. “How are you here?”
“Put up your shootin'-iron, Colonel,” McCartney said. “I merely called to pay my respects. I am going back, of course.”
And McCartney really did walk back to prison. Smiling all the way.
Herman Whitley never did figure out how McCartney got out of jail that night. However he did it, the stunt illustrated a serious challenge facing the U.S. government in the 1870s. The Secret Service was absolutely determined to catch counterfeiters and keep them behind bars. But coney men were just as eager to get free -- and they were good at it, too.

Table of Contents

Cast of Characters vi

Prologue: Midnight Escape 1

Chapter 1 The Operative 8

Chapter 2 The Pull 18

Chapter 3 Coney Men vs. the Secret Service 25

Chapter 4 Big Jim 33

Chapter 5 First Try 45

Chapter 6 Boodle Game 66

Chapter 7 Prince of Ropers 75

Chapter 8 The Trap 86

Chapter 9 Last Details 98

Chapter 10 Overnight Train 106

Chapter 11 Election Day 112

Chapter 12 Night at the Monument 122

Chapter 13 Devilish Work 133

Chapter 14 Search Begins 146

Chapter 15 Back to the Hub 156

Chapter 16 Gathering Evidence 166

Chapter 17 Compromise Verdict 176

Epilogue: Final Resting Place? 182

Body Snatcher Bonus Section 199

Glossary of Phrases 208

Source Notes 209

Index 212

Acknowledgments 214

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Lincoln's Grave Robbers 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book it was amazing!!! I read it for my US history class and i just could not put it down. Im not much of a reader but this got my attention (which is not that long) haha anyways i read this book in two days and now i have to do a report and i forgot how many pages there are:0 so can someone help me;)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In 1875,a group of counterfeiters decided to steal President Lincon's body and hold it for ransom!Read.This.Book.Period.Or else.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is pretty good. It tells the story kind of weird though. It tells it like a story but also says it as facts and it is kind of randomly but put in the correct place. It is suspenseful once you get into it. I would give it 4 1/2 stars if i could.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I never knew anyone had tried to steal his grave!! That is so cool! That will be awesome for an abraham lincoln paper
YoungMensanBookParade More than 1 year ago
Did you know that on the presidential election day of 1876, an attempt was made to steal the body of Abraham Lincoln, America’s renowned 16th president? This presidential election is one for the history books, and it is known as one of the most heated elections of all time. In the midst of the country fighting over states with voting margins too close to call, the plot to steal Lincoln’s body from Oak Field Cemetery located in Springfield, Illinois was well in the works. Lincoln’s Grave Robbers by Steve Sheinkin is a historical fiction book that will describe every detail of this plan and its thrilling action! Where did the strong, justified motive of this atrocious plan stem from? It all goes back to 1875, when the infamous Illinois counterfeiter Benjamin Boyd was thrown behind bars. Being a counterfeiter meant profiting off the risky work of illegally distributing fake cash around America. Counterfeiters had one of three jobs: a shover, who spread the “coney” cash around their local area, a distributor, who gave the coney cash to the shover, and most importantly, an engraver, who possesses the talent of making the bogus bills. Without Benjamin Boyd, America’s most talented engraver, even the biggest distributors like Big Jim, the boss of counterfeiting ring, were witnessing their system collapse. Big Jim’s horrific plan to rescue Boyd was to steal Lincoln’s body, hide it away in a predetermined location, and then “suddenly discover” it. Then, as a ransom, he would demand the release of Boyd and $200,000 of genuine cash. Big Jim knew the Secret Service, the government agency hired to capture counterfeiters, would do anything in their power-including release America’s most wanted counterfeiter-in order to have Lincoln’s body rest in peace. Luckily, Patrick Tyrrell, the Chief Operative of the Chicago District of the Secret Service, is on the case! Will Tyrrell get to the bottom of the heist before the night of the event? Tyrrell and his team of unlikely benefactors will have to delve into the depths of the counterfeiting underworld, which makes this book a must-read for those who prefer a thrilling detective novel. It has been a long time since I have found just the right detective novel with enough depth and thrill in the plot to keep me reading. Lincoln’s Grave Robbers knocked my expectation out of the park! I hardly expected it to contain a suspenseful element, as the cover made me assume this to be an ordinary non-fiction book. This book detoured from the typical textbook format and presented this historical event in the form of a story with multiple characters. The mysterious elements kept my interest in this book. However, the details about body snatching, especially in the “Body Snatching Bonus Section”, might be disturbing to younger readers. This is why I recommend this book for sixth graders and up. Overall, Lincoln’s Grave Robbers was an enticing read worthy of five stars because I learned a lot about America’s history. The author Steve Sheinkin does a commendable job of writing a page turner, suspenseful story bringing history to life. Some other five star qualities I found in this read were dynamic characters, twists and turns, and never ending revelations. All of these certainly made Lincoln’s Grave Robbers a memorable read! Reviewed by Sonika M, 13, Metropolitan Washington Mensa
TheLiteraryPhoenix More than 1 year ago
So. This is a middle grade book, and I don’t think I realized that when I added it to my TBR. I left it because, darn it, the topic seemed interesting. And it was! Though I Googled it, and MG is ages 8-12 and I don’t know that it’s a good idea for an 8-year-old to read this book. Here’s the scoop. A bunch of counterfeiters wanted to get their buddy out of jail, so one of them decided it would be a good idea to steal Abraham Lincoln’s body and ransom it. Because, obviously, that would be my first thought as well. *eye roll* Anyway, they tried it, and it failed. End of story, right? WRONG. The mastermind put together a new crew to try again. This crew had a snitch, though… so that plan also got royally foiled, in the end. This was an interesting story, but it was definitely a little gruesome at times. That should be expected from any grave robbing or body snatching story, I suppose, but I expected it to be simplified a little more than it is. There are descriptions of Lincoln’s corpse, as they kept checking inside the coffin to make sure he was still here. These descriptions are mostly limited to his face, but still. Dead bodies. Fun stuff. Blech. Otherwise, it was really interesting. At first, I was frustrated by all the asides, but there were some fascinating tidbits in there as well. For example, did you know that Mary Todd Lincoln was institutionalized by her son? I didn’t! There were a lot of little things like that I kept Googling to see if they were over dramatized, and they weren’t. All legit. Simplified sometimes, but facts. All in all, this was an interesting little book. It was only a three hour audiobook, and a good introduction to crime and politics in the late 1800s. I think that mature middle graders could handle it, but make sure your child isn’t easily frightened – the last thing anyone needs is their child having nightmares about a zombie Abe Lincoln.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this for my 11 year old son who doesn't particularly like to curl up with a good book. He has to read a certain number of non fiction books for the school year. I was so pleased with this book because it kept his interest and he got an A on the follow up test at school.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book purchased by the local library where I work. I have always been inspired by Abraham Lincoln. I found this children's book most informative. I even purchased it to give to my 13 year old great nephew for Christmas. I can't wait for him to read it and see what he thinks.
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