LINCOLN'S GRAVE ROBBERS

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.

The headline read, “Dastardly Attempt to Despoil the Lincoln Monument: Thieves Trying to Steal the Bones of the Martyr President.” The body snatchers had narrowly escaped—without the body—but certain evidence had been found: two sets of footprints, a bull’s-eye lantern and grass pressed flat where men had been lying nearby. Sheinkin takes a little-known sidebar of American history and lures readers in with the sheer weirdness of his tale and a new lexicon of coneys, ropers, shovers, bone orchards and ghouls. The robbery was no random act, but one related to the world of 19th-century counterfeiting, so readers are introduced to the history of counterfeiting. This history and other topics provide context but slow the narrative—the grisly autopsy on the body of the fallen president, the design of the Lincoln Monument in Springfield, Ill., and the early days of the United States Secret Service. There’s even a “Body Snatcher Bonus Section.” The finished edition will include photographs, source notes and an index, not seen here. A good, ghoulish read despite slow spots. (glossary) (Nonfiction. 10-14)    

 

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-40572-0

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2012

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A SHOT IN THE ARM!

From the Big Ideas That Changed the World series , Vol. 3

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762) narrates this entry in the Big Ideas That Changed the World series, presenting the story of the development of vaccines.

Lady Mary, an intelligent, lovely White Englishwoman, was infected with smallpox in 1715. The disease left her scarred and possibly contributed to the failure of her marriage, but not before she moved with her husband to the Ottoman Empire and learned there of what came to be called variolation. Inoculating people with an attenuated (hopefully) version of smallpox to cause a mild but immunity-producing spell of the disease was practiced by the Ottomans but remained rare in England until Lady Mary, using her own children, popularized the practice during an epidemic. This graphic novel is illustrated with engaging panels of artwork that broaden its appeal, effectively conveying aspects of the story that extend the enthralling narrative. Taking care to credit innovations in immunology outside of European borders, Brown moves through centuries of thoughtful scientific inquiry and experimentation to thoroughly explain the history of vaccines and their limitless value to the world but also delves into the discouraging story of the anti-vaccination movement. Concluding with information about the Covid-19 pandemic, the narrative easily makes the case that a vaccine for this disease fits quite naturally into eons of scientific progress. Thoroughly researched and fascinating, this effort concludes with outstanding backmatter for a rich, accurate examination of the critical role of vaccines.

Essential. (timeline, biographical notes, bibliography) (Graphic nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: March 30, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-5001-4

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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Macy wheels out another significant and seldom explored chapter in women’s history.

MOTOR GIRLS

HOW WOMEN TOOK THE WHEEL AND DROVE BOLDLY INTO THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

Well-documented proof that, when it came to early automobiles, it wasn’t just men who took the wheel.

Despite relentlessly flashy page design that is more distracting than otherwise and a faint typeface sure to induce eyestrain, this companion to Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (2011) chronicles decided shifts in gender attitudes and expectations as it puts women (American women, mostly) behind the wheel in the first decades of the 20th century. Sidebar profiles and features, photos, advertisements, and clippings from contemporary magazines and newspapers festoon a revved-up narrative that is often set in angular blocks for added drama. Along with paying particular attention to women who went on the road to campaign for the vote and drove ambulances and other motor vehicles during World War I, Macy recounts notable speed and endurance races, and she introduces skilled drivers/mechanics such as Alice Ramsey and Joan Newton Cuneo. She also diversifies the predominantly white cast with nods to Madam C.J. Walker, her daughter, A’Lelia (both avid motorists), and the wartime Colored Women’s Motor Corps. An intro by Danica Patrick, checklists of “motoring milestones,” and an extended account of an 1895 race run and won by men do more for the page count than the overall story—but it’s nonetheless a story worth the telling.

Macy wheels out another significant and seldom explored chapter in women’s history. (index, statistics, source notes, annotated reading list) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2697-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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