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Lincoln's Grave Robbers

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  1,667 ratings  ·  435 reviews
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!

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 s
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published January 1st 2013 by Scholastic Press (first published 2012)
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Taryn Pierson
History is boring, right?

Apparently nobody ever told Steve Sheinkin.

He's written this amazing book about an event in history that not very many people know about: in 1876, a gang of men tried to steal the corpse of President Abraham Lincoln. A group of Secret Service agents had been secretly following them for months and tried to catch them in the act.

Why would anyone want to steal a dead body? Sheinkin says it happened all the time in the 1800s. In this case, the men were counterfeiters—they ma
It is a sheer pleasure to watch this man's body of work grow. Benedict Arnold, with its extensive source notes confirmed that young readers don't have to choose between accurate and entertaining. I don'mind saying it again, Bomb's pacing raised the bar even higher. While most middle graders can handle Bomb, they will devour Lincoln's Grave Robbers.

This one's got it all. Cops and crooks, counterfeiting, treachery; all weaving around one of the most bizarre concepts I've ever encountered, body sn
Jenn Estepp
It's pretty inevitable that this is going to get compared to Bomb, right? And found a bit lesser in comparison, because it is by nature a smaller, less-impactful and immediate story? In some ways, I think that Bomb has already pretty much overshadowed it, winning all it's (well-deserved) accolades around the same time that this one was released. So, I'm just getting this out of the way: It's not Bomb, it doesn't have the resonance of Bomb.

But it's darn good, completely fascinating non-fiction.
Apr 23, 2015 Joan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Lincoln fans, civil war history fans
Recommended to Joan by: NYT bestseller
This book is driving me insane. For some bizarre reason, WorldCat has it listed as FICTION. This is written by the guy who just won both the Sibert and YALSA nonfiction Awards this year, and whose entire oeuvre is nonfiction. It reads exactly as his other books read, like a thriller. I think that descriptive word is the villain in WorldCat miscataloging it as fiction. They ignored the two words before the word thriller in the SLJ review: TRUE CRIME. True crime means, well TRUE. REAL. No??? I not ...more
This book is SUCH an easy booktalk. Kids typically know how Abraham Lincoln died, but NOBODY knows where his body is now. That's an AWESOME hook for a booktalk, and I had a great time connecting this narrative to body snatching, grave robbing, medical research, Frankenstein, spies, undercover agents, forgery, and holding things for ransom. There are so many ways you could plug this thing. :)

Helps that the package is well done, too. The graphic design is nice, it's shaped the same as a chapter bo
3.4 Stars

In the mid 1800s printing fake money was a big problem in the United States, one that threatened the entire economy. Some of the men responsible for these crimes decided to partake in another heist, stealing Abraham Lincoln’s body from his grave. The book goes into detail about how and why this plot came to fruition, the hiccups in the plan, and how it turned out in the end. It highlights not only the attempts to take the body, but also the efforts to prevent the crime from happening. L
I used this as a read aloud this year after seeing it on a Booklist list. After four tours at the tomb, I had heard reference of this unusual event but this was my first time really understanding it. This book was very comprehensive without being boring. Steve Sheinken does an excellent job knowing when to change the topic and keep the book moving.
Name: Sarah Fretz

Citation: Sheinkin, S. (2013). Lincoln's grave robbers. New York, NY: Scholastic Press.

Genre: Informational


Format: Hardcover

Selection: Enos, R. (2013). Lincoln's grave robbers: Book review.109(9), Retrieved from


Steven Sheinkin gives a riveting account of a lesser known event in American history: the plot to steal Abraham Lincoln's body. Written like a crime novel, Lincoln's Grave Robbers easily tells the story from the hi
Barb Middleton
I admire how Steve Sheinkin weaves historical quotes into engaging narratives where characters are easy to visualize and settings contain details that draw on the senses to create captivating nonfiction stories. He makes it look so goldurn easy. In Sheinkin's award winning book,Bomb: The Race to Build - and Steal- the World's Most Dangerous Weapon, he integrates three plotlines into a thriller that I couldn't put down. This latest book is not as complex which makes it accessible for younger read ...more
Filled with details about counterfeit cash rings and the origin of the Secret Service whose members were originally tasked to root out counterfeiting and were not involved in protecting the nation's President until 1901, this book is filled with small and large acts of heroism as well as criminal acts. The author painstakingly describes the origins for the plot to steal the body of Abraham Lincoln and then provides a great deal of information about the individuals involved in hatching and follow ...more
Why a five star rating?

I really enjoyed reading about this crazy event in American history. The story is well constructed and avoids the dryness of some non-fiction texts. I also loved the photos and the lists of key characters at the front of this book; it really helped to keep people straight.

Plot Summary:

"Lincoln's Grave Robbers" examines the events surrounding a plot to steal the body of Abraham Lincoln. After they lost a key player in their counterfeiting ring to prison, Terrence Mullen and
So so so good! Sheinkin writes nonfiction in such an exciting way. Characters, plot, setting, everything becomes the perfect ingredients in a first class story.

In this book, readers are introduced to some of the major players in the counterfeit money business back in the 1870s. He reveals that the plot to steal President Lincoln's corpse grew out of issues relating to counterfeit money and the need for a larger than life bargaining chip to get a key player back in the business. With cliffhangers
Erica Honing
Lincoln's grave robbers was an okay book. I think this wasn't one of my favorite books. I was kind of confused with the author going back and forth between the characters.

This book is about the Civil War history. It's a true story about some of US's criminals trying to go and rob Lincoln's grave. Kennelly's orders was for the robbers to snatch Lincoln's grave and hide it until they get to sell his body and get the money to get Ben Boyd out of jail. Others from the Secret Service hear about the p
Cathy Easter
I only rated it a 3, but it probably deserves better than that. There were really morbid, almost gruesome, parts, and that unnerved me. As an 8th grade teacher, I know I will recommend it to boys who will love it. I love that the author did so much work getting his facts straight as evidenced by a lengthy bibliography and his own notes. What a great teaching tool!
I love Sheinkin's books - my favorite is Port Chicago 50. This was very good and interesting! Lots of info I didn't know before today.
Feb 07, 2015 Dolly rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: middle grade readers and up
I recently read King George: What Was His Problem?: The Whole Hilarious Story of the American Revolution by Steve Sheinkin and really liked it, so I thought I'd check out some of Mr. Sheinkin's other books.

This book offers a very exciting and informative account of the widespread problem of counterfeit money in the United States during the Civil War, and in the years following the end of the war. Entwined within the story about a group of counterfeiters is an astounding tale of their plan to ste
Dor Moskowitz
The book, Lincolns grave robbers, is about Ben Boyd and the robbery of Lincolns grave. In the beginning it shows secret agents fleding the workshop of master counterfeiter Ben Boyd. Soon after Boyd is brought to prison, members of his counterfeiting ring gather up and discuss how their gonna get him out of prison and what to do and came up with a plan.their plan was to Grab Lincoln's bodyand hide it near Lake Michigan. After words they demanded, $200,000 and the release of Ben Boyd. In the book ...more
Lilly Saunders
For all of you who say history is boring, Steve Sheinkin's Lincoln's Grave Robbers is sure to change your mind. This nonfiction book follows the journey of a gang on a mission- steal President Lincoln from his tomb in return for some big cash. The plot line follows many sides of the case; the Secret Service, the detectives and the thieves.
The biggest manufacturer of counterfeit money, Benjamin Boyd, has just been put in jail. The consumers, who's life earnings depend on Boyd's service, get toge
Tells the true story of how counterfeiter "Big Jim" Kennally concocted a scheme to steal President Abraham Lincoln's body from its vault in Springfield Illinois, in order to ransom it! (Because his best counterfeit engraving artist was in prison, and so in addition to money, Kennally thought he could get that guy released from jail in exchange for the return of Lincoln's body.) The book describes the fascinating world of 1860's counterfeiting--along with curious terms like "boodle carrier" or "b ...more
Noah F
Oct 07, 2014 Noah F added it
Shelves: form-ii
Ben Boyd is a highly skilled engraver that produces counterfeit paper money. In 1887 he is arrested and when that happens, his whole team of counterfeiters is left not being able to function without him. They then devise a “perfect” plan to steal Abraham Lincoln's dead body and hold it for ransom, so they can get Boyd back. In this book I believe that the author is trying to get the reader to understand a couple of things. First he is telling the reader that nothing is ever perfect and nothing w ...more
Half of the paper money in circulation in the mid-1860's was counterfeit and the Secret Service was put in place specifically to combat that criminal act. Such a large problem actually compromised the financial future of the United States. In 1876 and working out of the Chicago office, Secret Service agents captured and jailed Ben Boyd, engraver extradinaire and the best counterfeiter in the business. With Ben Boyd in jail, the distributing ring couldn't print more fake money and was looking to ...more
• 2015 Viking Award nominee – published 2012.
• For girls and boys, grades 5-8 but a good 4th grader could also read.
• 207 pages including a “body snatcher bonus section” - (plus glossary, source notes, index and acknowledgements) Hurray! Young readers don’t have to choose between accurate and entertaining!
• Nonfiction, true crime told in a compelling, novel style.
• Begins with Table of Contents and a Cast of Characters, then moves into a Prologue called “Midnight Escape” which sets up the adve
Walter N
Lincoln's Grave Robbers, a true crime novel by Steve Sheinkin, takes place in 1875 in Springfield, IL. Ben Boyd, an exceptional engraver with a mastery for counterfeiting dollar bills, is crucial to the success of a large ring of counterfeiters. He produces fake money that is virtually identical to government-issued dollars. However, when police arrest Boyd and lock him in a secure prison, the whole illegal business is on the verge of collapse. In order to get Boyd out of jail and resume counte ...more
Cecelie Betz
Cecelie Betz

Nonfiction Intermediate book

Lincoln’s Grave Robbers

Bloom’s Taxonomy Questions

This book was a great read. I am not a history person by any means, so for this assignment I stepped out of my comfort zone and chose a book I would not normally gravitate to and challenged myself to seek something new. This book according to Title wave has an interest level from fifth through eighth grade with a reading level of 6.6. After reading this book I would agree that this would be a great read for
Fake Money and Body Snatching
Lincoln's Grave Robbers was written by Steve Sheinkin. It was published in 2012 by Scholastic. Have you thought about stealing Lincoln's body? Well, I hope you haven't because that would be really unwise. However, if you are thinking about stealing Lincoln's body, you might want to read this book first. This book is about a failed attempt to steal the body. This was one of the most interesting books I ever read. This book is a quick read, has a few pictures, and act
Carol Royce Owen
Steve Sheinkin is doing something that should have been done a long time ago. He's writing about events in history in a narrative form that helps the reader understand the entire story, including motives, government mess ups, conspiracies, and so much more. His easy-to-read narratives make learning about history interesting, even to reluctant non-fiction readers (like me).

In this true crime thriller the reader is taken behind the scenes of a conspiracy to steal Abraham Lincoln's body to use as r
Oct 09, 2014 Amy added it
Shelves: 2014, j-nonfiction
What a bizarre little-known piece of history!! Sheinkin starts out by profiling some notorious late-19th century counterfeiters, which I liked, because it left me guessing as to how counterfeiting was going to tie in with grave robbing. Turns out that the non-incarcerated counterfeiters of the day were losing business because their best engraver (the guy who made the plates to print the phony money) was in jail. One particularly cunning gent had the idea to steal Lincoln's body, with the stipula ...more
Lincoln's Grave Robbers by Steve Sheinkin tells the true story of the attempted robbery of one of the most significant and well known president’s body. The story revolves around counterfeiter's James Kennally who came up with the plan to steal Lincoln's body, it also revolves around Terrence Mullen, and Jack Hughes . These three are the criminals planning to snatch the body of Lincoln and sell it back for a ransom. This book also tells the story of Swegles who is a double agent working to get in ...more
Naman D
This summer I read Lincoln's Grave Robbers by Steve Sheinkin. It takes place in the late 1800s and is about a ring of counterfeit money or coney. It explains the process of making and distributing coney through the view of Tyrell, a Secret Service officer. It all starts with an artist who is very good at details. In this case it is a man named Benjamin Boyd. Then, he sells the plates to distributors like Big Jim Kenally. Next, the plates are made into coney and are given to shovers like Jack Hug ...more
Jas F
In Lincoln's Grave Robbers by Steve Sheinkin, Benjamin Boyd (famous counterfeiter) is put in jail for counterfeiting. Benjamin Boyd worked for Big Jim Kennaly, and with Benjamin Boyd in jail, Big Jim could no longer make as much money. Big Jim and friends devised a plan to get Benjamin Boyd out of jail; snatch Abe Lincoln's body. The plan was to snatch Lincoln's body on Election Day, bury it in the sand dunes of Lake Michigan, and hold it rand some of 200,000 dollars and to release Benjamin Boyd ...more
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Dent Book Challen...: Lincoln's Grave Robbers by Steve Sheinkin 1 1 Apr 15, 2015 12:37PM  
BCMS Reader's Rally: Lincoln's Grave Robbers 7 4 Dec 28, 2014 09:40AM  
Mock Newbery 2016: Lincoln's Grave Robbers 11 180 Jan 17, 2014 08:02AM  
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