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Teens Review Teen Lit

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Lincoln's Grave Robbers by Steve Sheinkin

Reviewed By: Teen Librarian

This work of non-fiction recounts the history of two strangely compelling and intertwined crimes: counterfeiting and grave robbing. Apparently during the 19th Century, counterfeit money was a huge problem for the American economy, at one time accounting for half of the currency in circulation. The book begins by introducing some of the more successful counterfeiters, including Benjamin Boyd, a master engraver whose "coney" (counterfeit money) is so convincing that it is in high demand from the many "pushers" who profit by passing it along undetected to legitimate businesses.

The book veers into truly odd territory after Benjamin Boyd is arrested by U.S. Secret Service agents. Fearing for their livelihood without a supply of quality counterfeit money, the pushers hatch a ghoulish scheme to free Boyd: steal the body of Abraham Lincoln and ransom it in exchange for Boyd's freedom. The story of the scheme and the schemers is a lot of fun, with plenty of suspense and intrigue to keep the reader turning pages.

Why I Picked it Up: We read this in our Roselle Middle School Book Discussion Group, Chat Pack.

Why I Finished It: This book explores some truly odd and fascinating corners of American History.

I’d Give This Book to: Anyone who might enjoy true crime with a historical focus.

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