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Stealing Lincoln's Body by Thomas J.…

Stealing Lincoln's Body

by Thomas J. Craughwell

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The true story of the attempt to steal Lincoln's body from his tomb and hold it for ransom and the attempts to protect Lincoln's body after this incident. This could be a very interesting story if it was written better. Mr. Craughwell spends the first two chapters with long rambling accounts of counterfitting in the U.S. and the role of Irish-americans. The book is poorly organised and way too dry and boring. ( )
  RachelNF | Jan 15, 2016 |
Thomas J. Craughwell does a masterful job of bringing the reader into the world of 19th century burial rights for Abraham Lincoln and the lingering hostilities about the Civil War. The reader is drawn into the work of poor banking practices, counterfeiting and the importance of the creation of the Secret Service to catch the counterfeiters.

Another important aspect of this book deals with the reactions to President Lincoln's family to his assassination and to their interactions with each other. Robert Lincoln's responses to the attempted desecration of his father's tomb and his apparent distance from the Lincoln Guard at the cemetery is interesting. It is intriguing to read of Robert Lincoln's final instructions to the Guard about the third and final internment of his parents - patterning the method used by George Pullman at his own internment.

For anyone who is a Lincoln historian, a conspiracy enthusiasts, or a Civil War buff, this book is a must read. ( )
  prudencegoodwife | Nov 24, 2015 |
Fascinating story of the peregrinations of Lincoln's corpse after his assassination, the byzantine politicking surrounding the choice of his last resting place as well as a bizarre plot to steal it by counterfeiters seeking the release of one of their number from prison. At the end the reader will be glad that the great man is finally at rest. ( )
  drmaf | Oct 14, 2013 |
An account of the fascinating and bizarre plan by counterfeiters to steal Abraham Lincoln's body and hold it for ransom until another counterfeiter was released from prison. The 1876 episode is certainly worthy of study, but I'm not sure there was enough "there there" for a book, or at least not one quite this long. Craughwell has padded out the narrative with several mini-essays on various tangential topics, from a history of American counterfeiting generally to an account of the Pullman Company (Robert Todd Lincoln was an attorney for the company and later its president).

On the whole, though, the treatment of the plot to kidnap Lincoln's corpse, and the various measures taken after the fact to ensure that the former president's mortal remains remained secure, makes for a good read. ( )
  JBD1 | Mar 6, 2013 |
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. ( )
  dschnaidt | Aug 4, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0674024583, Hardcover)

Amazon Significant Seven, April 2007: Thomas Craughwell exhumes a fascinating and bizarre Lincoln tale that you didn't hear in school: The plot hatched by a group of Chicago counterfeiters to steal Honest Abe's remains and ransom them for $200,000 and the release of an imprisoned cohort. Though ultimately unsuccessful, the brazen scheme launched The First Cadaver on a peripatetic 25-year journey to its final, concrete-encased resting place. Along the way, Stealing Lincoln's Body detours into the story of rampant counterfeiting prior to and through the Civil War that nearly bankrupted the U.S. treasury, the scoundrelly origins of the Secret Service, and some of the stranger embalming techniques of 19th-century America. --Jon Foro

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:24 -0400)

"On the night of the presidential election in 1876, a gang of counterfeiters out of Chicago attempted to steal the entombed embalmed body of Abraham Lincoln and hold it for ransom. The custodian of the tomb was so shaken by the incident that he willingly dedicated the rest of his life to protecting the president's corpse." "In this narrative, Thomas J. Craughwell returns to this bizarre, and largely forgotten, event with the first book to place the grave robbery in historical context. He takes us through the planning and execution of the crime and the outcome of the investigation. He describes the reactions of Mary Todd Lincoln and Robert Todd Lincoln to the theft - and the peculiar silence of a nation. He follows the unlikely tale of what happened to Lincoln's remains after the attempted robbery and details the plan devised by the Lincoln Guard of Honor to prevent a similar abominable occurrence." "Along the way, Craughwell offers sidelights on the rise of counterfeiting in America and the establishment of the Secret Service to combat it; the prevalence of grave robberies; the art of nineteenth-century embalming; and the emergence among Irish immigrants of an ambitious middle class - and a criminal underclass."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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