Saturday, May 14, 2016

Book Review: Two Audiobooks by Steve Sheinkin (RocTBF2016)

I wish that I had understood that history is basically a bunch of stories that really happened back when Social Studies was my least favorite subject in school. Of course, all that memorizing names and dates would have killed the intrigue, anyway, but maybe I would have hated it less.

Speaking of which! On my journey to Teen Book Festival madness, I picked up two books by Steve Sheinkin that were available through Overdrive as audio-books.

Both were excellent. They are told with narrative and supported with information from research letters and testimony from witnesses and participants in the events.

Lincoln’s Grave Robbers is the story of counterfeiters who decide to concoct a plan to free their previous boss and make their own big pay day by stealing the body of beloved President Lincoln. The plan will go down on election night in 1978. What could possibly go wrong!? There’s a lot of information about the Coney Men (counterfeiters) and the secret service that I never knew.

The Port Chicago 50 is about the 50 black navy men who were charged with mutiny after “refusing” to return to work following an explosion on their ammunition loading dock. The case became part of Civil Rights history as it forced folks to consider segregation and the fake notion of Separate but Equal in the military during World War II. This is a great story that includes a look into the experience of men who fought for a country that was simultaneously denying them basic rights. There's a scene where one of the men can't eat in a restaurant and watches prisoners of war being served and treated well that made me grateful for my own place in time.

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