Stealing Lincoln's Body

Stealing Lincoln's Body

by Thomas J. CRAUGHWELL

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Overview

On the night of the 1876 presidential election, a gang of counterfeiters attempted to steal the entombed embalmed body of Abraham Lincoln and hold it for ransom. Craughwell returns to this bizarre, and largely forgotten, event with the first book to place the grave robbery in historical context. This rousing story of hapless con men, intrepid federal agents, and ordinary Springfield citizens offers an unusual glimpse into late-nineteenth-century America.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674029972
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publication date: 06/30/2009
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 431,350
File size: 426 KB

About the Author

Thomas J. Craughwell is the author of several books on Catholic history and American popular culture, including Saints Behaving Badly, The Wisdom of the Popes, and Urban Legends.

Table of Contents

Contents Prologue: “Lay My Remains in Some Quiet Place” 1. The World of the Counterfeiters 2. Big Jim Kennally’s Big Idea 3. The Boss Body Snatchers of Chicago 4. “The Devils Are Up Here” 5. The Body in the Basement 6. “The Tools of Smarter Men” 7. The Lincoln Guard of Honor Illustrations follow p. 180. 8. A Pullman-Style Burial Epilogue: Safe and Secure at Last Notes Bibliography Index

What People are Saying About This

Edward Steers

While the field of Lincoln studies appears to have been exhaustively mined, Thomas Craughwell has found a gold nugget in the bizarre story of Stealing Lincoln's Body. In a well-researched and beautifully written book, he takes readers through the intriguing Irish underworld of counterfeiting that led to the plot to hold Lincoln's body for ransom.

Edward Steers, Jr., author of Blood on the Moon: The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln

Thomas Craughwell offers the first full-length account of the aborted attempt to steal the body of the nation's icon. Ian Fleming could not have done better than this fast-paced, well-written thriller. The story demonstrates yet again how good intelligence and police work can be so effective in preventing a national catastrophe.

Frank J. Williams

Thomas Craughwell offers the first full-length account of the aborted attempt to steal the body of the nation's icon. Ian Fleming could not have done better than this fast-paced, well-written thriller. The story demonstrates yet again how good intelligence and police work can be so effective in preventing a national catastrophe.

Frank J. Williams, Chief Justice, Rhode Island Supreme Court, and chairman of The Lincoln Forum

R. Emmett Tyrrell

With charm and authority, Thomas Craughwell offers an illuminating portrait of nineteenth-century America as he writes of the origins of the Secret Service, counterfeiting in America, the rambunctious growth of Chicago, and the assassination of the beloved president. At the heart of this book is the attempt to steal Old Abe's bones, a surprising story of ludicrous crooks, determined government agents, and loyal guardians devoted to the memory of their native son.
R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr., founder and editor-in-chief, American Spectator

Wayne C. Temple

Thomas Craughwell has written a definitive and fascinating book about the hapless gang of counterfeiters who attempted to snatch Lincoln's body and hold it for ransom. This is history writing at its best.
Wayne C. Temple, author of Abraham Lincoln: From Skeptic to Prophet

Customer Reviews

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Stealing Lincoln's Body 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
cd49 More than 1 year ago
missed the mark somewhat. gets bogged down - sidetracked in the trial with names and other uninteresting information. granted- there's only so much you can write about this one footnote in history- but for me- the book didn't really start to get interesting until the end.
PresidentGSP More than 1 year ago
Trust me; this book is just a huge disappointment. The author takes 30 pages to lecture the reader about the history of counterfeiting, and the actual account of stealing Lincoln¿s body takes up about five pages. This would be a great short story, but the author drags it out as much as possible and continually diverts from the story to go on a tangent about some mundane detail. To be fair, the end of the book is quite good and goes into fantastic detail about what actually happened to the body of Lincoln. The end of the book was very enjoyable, but I cannot help but think back to all of the absurd information about Irish immigration and printing presses. Throughout most of the book you will notice that there is one thing missing- Lincoln.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Last week I had the pleasure of reading this book on an airplane for a recent business trip. As boring and uncomfortable flying is this book was made the trip very easy. The writing was excellent and the tale engaging. The story starts with highlights of President Lincoln's assassination leading thru the choice of his final resting place. The story then provides a historical explanation of counterfeiting in the United States, leading directly to grave robbing conspiracy. While reading thru this story I kept picturing Clive Owen as Patrick Tyrell, the Irish Secret Service Agent
dschnaidt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
There is no through narrative. Lots of interesting asides about counterfeiting, Pullman strike and other such things; but the story of the the 'theft" (his body is never actually stolen) is too slight. The black, wood-grained end papers are perfect.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
writing is great but there is not too much to the story. If you want the basics there is a documentary by the author that is very well done
historyteach19 More than 1 year ago
Some of the reviews complained about the book having information not needed, however, I would disagree and if you read the book you will see. The information talked about in the beginning of the book helps set up why people would try and steal the body of a former president and how the plot was stopped. Craughwell did a superb job historically telling the story. I am now enjoy the book on the Irish Brigade, titled 'The Greatest Brigade' by Craughwell.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Books revolving around historical footnotes can often be as engrossing as those covering major events; this work by Thomas Craughwell is such an example. The botched attempt at stealing Abraham Lincoln's remains in 1876 provides an opportunity to learn about early embalming, rampant counterfeiting in the 1800's, attitudes towards Irish immigrants, the start of the Secret Service, and the enigmatic Robert Lincoln, the President's only surviving son. One of the more interesting bits of trivia that Craughwell uncovers is that the last surviving person to see the late President's face was Fleetwood Lindley, who viewed the remains as a teenager during a move of the body in 1901; he lived until 1963. Recommended for Lincoln history buffs.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a interesting piece of history. If you want a glimpse into the beginning of the US Secret Service you will enjoy it. One thing for sue, you understand that the corruption in Illinois politics then is as bad as it is now.
an_avidreader More than 1 year ago
I am always on the lookout for the little-known facts in our nation's history and this book does not disappoint. Craughwell has done his homework with this book and the reader is intrigued from the first page. Even if readers have not read the book yet, they will agree that this should be a "must read" because The History Channel is doing a special based on this story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book looked to be a great read about Lincoln trivia. It was an ok read but left this reader wanting more.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was the first book that I'd ever read on Abraham Lincoln and it was outstanding. I had a hard time putting it down. I'd recommend it to anyone that loves the history that you never hear about.