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"Stealing Lincoln's Body" Is Too Good To Be True -- Yet, Amazingly, It Is
February 16, 2009  | By David Bianculli
 

lincolns-body.jpgWhat were my history teachers doing in high school, that they never bothered to tell me the story of Abraham Lincoln's body being stolen, 11 years after his assassination, and held for ransom?

The story told tonight in History Channel's Stealing Lincoln's Body (9 ET) is astounding. Unbelievable. And even more unbelievable, for being true.

The two-hour documentary presents its story like a movie thriller -- and that's what it is, really. Forget all the far-fetched plots of the National Treasure movies: Here's a macabre, historical plot that involves an actual national treasure, full of twists, turns, dead ends and absurd coincidences that no screenwriters would dare concoct.

Imagine this: Almost a dozen years after the assassination of Lincoln and the end of the Civil War, a Chicago counterfeiter is arrested and imprisoned. Members of his gang decide to free him, and make a fast $200,000 on the side, by stealing Lincoln's body and offering its return in exchange for the money, and their gang member's freedom.

Who would do that? How could they steal the body of a President of the United States? And why did it take a quarter-century before the body was secured in its proper resting place?

Telling this amazing story well, which Stealing Lincoln's Body does, would be enough to warrant raves. Yet it tells so much else about Lincoln, especially about the assassination and funeral, that it's even more of a revelation. And the use of special effects and computer technology here -- everything from motion graphics to photo enhancement -- is nothing less than breathtaking.

 

2 Comments

 

Sarah said:

In my love for American History I do remember hearing or reading something about his body being stolen but like other things about Lincoln I shruged it off as just a myth. I will tune in to check the story out.

Comment posted on February 16, 2009 3:38 PM


Jimmy Paschall said:


Agreed. Great job by the History channel. How it wasn't mentioned by high school history teachers baffles me. I'd like to learn more about President Lincoln.

Comment posted on March 18, 2009 3:04 AM
 
 
 
 
 
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