Murder on the Baltimore Express: The Plot To Keep Abraham Lincoln from Becoming President

Little Bee/Yellow Jacket. Apr. 2021. 256p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781499810448.
Gr 5-8–Middle grade readers will certainly be aware of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination at the hand of John Wilkes Booth in April 1865, but they might not know Lincoln was constantly dogged by assassination threats from the time he began running for president until his death. The narrative takes readers from just after Election Day in 1860 to when Lincoln was sworn in as president in March 1861. Unbeknownst to Lincoln, his death was being planned by pro-slavery fanatics. Fortunately, Lincoln had a group of people focused on keeping him safe. Through a series of spy missions to infiltrate the clandestine group meetings of Lincoln haters, his protectors outsmarted the antagonists and delivered Lincoln away from Baltimore where the assassination was to occur, to Washington, DC, for the swearing-in ceremony. The text uses dialogue (documented in the appendix) to create a nonfiction title that reads like an appealing work of historical fiction. Pictures from the events and places described are included to further enhance the story.
VERDICT A perfect example of excellent narrative nonfiction and a must-have for any middle school library. This work will stand solidly beside books by James Swanson and Steve Sheinkin.

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