Lincoln's Grave Robbers

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
Lincoln's Grave Robbers Book Poster Image
Fascinating nonfiction account of little-known conspiracy.

Parents say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 2 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Lincoln's Grave Robbers explores a little-known conspiracy to steal the assassinated president's body and hold it for ransom. It provides a solidly researched look into the ill-fated plot itself and the history of counterfeiting rings.

Positive Messages

On its most basic level, Lincoln's Grave Robbers proves that crime doesn't pay. But it also demonstrates that the best-laid plans of those in authority can be undone by bad luck and overconfidence.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Patrick Tyrell of the Chicago Secret Services does his utmost to protect the remains of Abraham Lincoln. He's virtually the only lawman to take the rumors of the conspiracy seriously and work actively to foil them. Despite his indefatigability, he also proves very human, capable of making errors that threaten to undo all his hard work.


Guns are drawn and warning shots fired, but otherwise there is very little violent content.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The conspirators do much of their business at a saloon called The Hub. Assorted drunks appear from time to time.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the nonfiction Lincoln's Grave Robbers is a fascinating look at a little-remembered episode in post-Civil War history. It gives a fair amount of background on the history of counterfeiting currency in America and then proceeds to chronicle the twisted tale of a group of counterfeiters who conspired to steal the assassinated president's body and ransom it for cash and the release of one of their confederates. It's another detailed, suspenseful story by Steve Sheinkin, author of the acclaimed Bomb: The Race to Build--and Steal--the World's Most Dangerous Weapon.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Teen, 13 years old Written bykhamyra February 28, 2017

Lincoln's Grave Robbers

I recommend this book to people because, it talks about Abraham Lincoln. and it an educational lesson to kids. this book is for kids 11 and up. this book has ma... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byGilbert R. February 3, 2017

Book review

Grave Robbers, that’s what happen to Abraham Lincoln’s corpse when 2 grave robbers robbed Lincoln’s corpse, the reward is worth a lot of money, and they return... Continue reading

What's the story?

After master counterfeiter Benjamin Boyd was arrested by the Secret Service in 1875, his confederates devise a plot to steal the remains of President Abraham Lincoln and ransom them for Boyd's release (plus a large amount of cash). It's up to Patrick Tyrrell, Chief Operative of the Chicago District of the Secret Service, to foil the plan. With the aid of Lewis C. Swegles, a career criminal turned double agent, Tyrrell and his men prepare to meet the would-be grave robbers at the run-down Lincoln Monument on a chaotic election night.

Is it any good?

LINCOLN'S GRAVE ROBBERS is an exciting, fast-paced and well-researched chronicle of a little-known sidelight of post-Civil War history. It provides the right amount of background on the history of counterfeiting in America, then gets down to the twisty tale of a plot to steal a beloved president's remains. The real-life cast is populated with some fascinating characters, from upright lawmen to conniving counterfeiters to a slippery double agent. Author Steve Sheinkin presents the material with clear prose and an eye for the telling detail.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why the theft of a late U.S. president's body would be so shocking and traumatic to the nation. What do you know about Lincoln that made him especially loved and especially controversial?

  • How does Author Steve Sheinkin write history in a way that makes it as engaging and entertaining as a good novel? What's the difference between fiction and nonfiction?

  • Does counterfeiting still occur in the United States? How have changes in technology affected the production of counterfeit bills?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love history

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate