Books by Steve Sheinkin

BORN TO FLY by Steve Sheinkin
Released: Sept. 24, 2019

"Suspenseful, informative, and remarkably uplifting. (Nonfiction. 11-16)"
In August 1929, a talented group of female aviators spearheaded women's rights when they participated in an all-woman nine-day, cross-country air race that kicked off in California. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 9, 2018

"A silly story that weaves in a fair amount of history. (historical note) (Historical fiction. 7-10)"
In the debut volume of the Time Twisters series, Abraham Lincoln arrives at Abby and Doc's school to prove that history isn't boring. Read full book review >
UNDEFEATED by Steve Sheinkin
Released: Jan. 17, 2017

"Superb nonfiction that will entertain as it informs. (source notes, works cited, acknowledgments, photo credits, index) (Nonfiction. 10-16)"
Young readers of this biography may be surprised that Jim Thorpe, an athlete they may never have heard of, was once considered "the best athlete on the planet." Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 22, 2015

"Easily the best study of the Vietnam War available for teen readers. (bibliography, source notes, index) (Nonfiction. 12-18)"
Following his award-winning World War II-era volumes Bomb (2012) and The Port Chicago 50 (2014), Sheinkin tells the sweeping saga of the Vietnam War and the man who blew the whistle on the government's "secret war." Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 21, 2014

"An important chapter in the civil rights movement, presenting 50 new heroes. (source notes, bibliography, acknowledgments, picture credits) (Nonfiction. 10-14)"
On July 17, 1944, at the Port Chicago Naval Magazine 30 miles northeast of San Francisco, an explosion—the largest man-made explosion in history to that point—killed more than 300 men, leading to the largest mass trial in United States history. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 1, 2013

"A good, ghoulish read despite slow spots. (glossary) (Nonfiction. 10-14) "
On election eve in 1876, the Chicago Tribune was dominated by election coverage, except for a curious story on page 5 about body snatchers attempting to rob the grave of Abraham Lincoln. Read full book review >
EL ILUMINADO by Ilan Stavans
Released: Nov. 13, 2012

"Another bold, if gratuitous, experiment from an academic with impeccable credentials and a keen sense of the secrets we hold most dear."
What do you get when you cross a Mexican-born Jewish intellectual with the creator of the Rabbi Harvey comics? Surprise—it's a most unusual conspiracy thriller. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 4, 2012

"A superb tale of an era and an effort that forever changed our world. (source notes, quotation notes, acknowledgments, photo credits, index) (Nonfiction. 10 & up)"
In late December 1938, German chemist Otto Hahn discovered that uranium atoms could be split, and just a few months later the race to build an atomic bomb was on. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 9, 2010

If only Benedict Arnold had died sooner. Had he been killed at the Battle of Saratoga, he'd be one of the greatest heroes of American history, and "we'd celebrate his life as one of the best action stories we have." Instead, he survived and went on to betray the colonies and die in shame. Sheinkin sees Arnold as America's "original action hero" and succeeds in writing a brilliant, fast-paced biography that reads like an adventure novel. Opening with the hanging of Major Andre, the British officer who plotted with Arnold to turn West Point over to the British, the story sticks to the exciting illustrative scenes of Arnold's career—the invasion of Canada, assembling America's first naval fleet, the Battle of Valcour Island, the Battle of Saratoga and the plot with Andre, whose parallel narrative ends in a bungled mission, his execution and Arnold's dishonor. The author's obvious mastery of his material, lively prose and abundant use of eyewitness accounts make this one of the most exciting biographies young readers will find. (source notes, quotation notes, maps [not seen]) (Biography. 11-14)Read full book review >
WHICH WAY TO THE WILD WEST?  by Steve Sheinkin
Released: July 1, 2009

Similar in format and style to King George: What Was His Problem? and Two Miserable Presidents (both 2008), Sheinkin offers another fast-paced, irreverent look at American history. The author, a self-described reformed textbook writer, chronicles America's westward expansion, beginning with the Louisiana Purchase and ending with the Wounded Knee Massacre, which he refers to as the "last major fight between American soldiers and Native Americans," a troubling mischaracterization in an otherwise well-written historical overview (the consensus among historians is that the action at Wounded Knee was a massacre, not a battle as it has often been mislabeled in the past). An engaging storyteller, the author uses humor and little-known anecdotes to make such subjects as Manifest Destiny, the Mexican-American War, the Gold Rush and Custer's Last Stand entertaining for readers. His chatty, informal style can wear at times, but it will appeal to young readers turned off to history by stale textbooks. Robinson's cartoons complement the text. Appendices include extensive source and quotation notes. Inevitably superficial due to its scope, this is nonetheless an accessible and engaging historical overview. (Nonfiction. 10-14)Read full book review >
Released: June 1, 2008

For middle-graders who find Joy Hakim's 11-volume A History of US just too daunting, historian Sheinkin offers a more digestible version of our country's story—opening with an account of the American Revolution from the despised but not-unreasonable Stamp Act to the dramatic race to Yorktown. Beneath breezy chapter subheads like "Revere and That Other Guy" and "Party at Fort Ti," the author expertly combines individual stories with sweeping looks at the larger picture—tucking in extracts from letters, memorable anecdotes, pithy characterizations ("…John Adams, well known lawyer, Patriot, and grump") and famous lines with a liberal hand. Except for a few cramped maps, Robinson's illustrations are all line-drawn cartoon portraits that echo the narrative's informality without adding much. Still, capped with a healthy "Whatever Happened To…" section, this animates the Revolution's times, events and people in a way that standard textbooks don't. A second volume on the Civil War, Two Miserable Presidents (ISBN: 978-1-59643-320-5-0), is also out. (index, adult-level source lists) (Nonfiction. 10-13) Read full book review >