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Stealing Lincoln’s Body

Craughwell is definitely an amazing researcher. This book takes what is essentially a fairly short set of anecdotes and fills it in with enough detail that it becomes a full length book. How you feel about this depends on how much you enjoy reading lists of details. The outline of the story is fascinating. A few counterfeiters, grumpy about one of theirs being carted off to jail, devises a crazy plan to steal Lincoln’s body and hold it for ransom. The plot fails. A group is formed to protect the dead president’s body moving forward.

The book includes a lot of great details about why counterfeiting was such a big deal and about the reactions of the Lincoln family, but it also includes sometimes excruciating detail about the various events. How much money each of the counterfeiters had made during their various arrests, the location of different buildings and the travels of all of the involved people, where they were at what time. It’s cool that this information can be known, again Craughwell was a great researchers, but I question whether all of this needed to be in the book. I was 70 pages into this 200 page book before I even figured out what counterfeiting had to do with the theft of the President’s body. So, a good book for people really involved and interested in this topic. Maybe a little overlong for everyone else.