April 25, 2015

Talk about a title that's misleading...

It was immediately apparent that the main goal of Lincoln's Secret Spy was to prove that William Alvin Lloyd was absolutely not a spy. Even the end notes point out the flaws of previous works that believed this to be the case. Also, Lincoln was a peripheral figure and yet it was his picture on the cover of the book which I felt amounted to a kind of click bait for hardcovers. In fact, the authors pointed out that there were no likenesses of Lloyd on record which is why his picture is not included in the pictorial insert (although Google seems to disagree on this point Edit: The author Jane Singer has confirmed this is not William Alvin Lloyd.). If you're not a fan of minute details about train travel then I doubt you would be a big fan of this book. I applaud the authors attention to detail but I found it to be both tedious and difficult to follow because of its overuse. I know that it can be difficult to jazz up historical subjects, especially those about little known figures, but it was a bit over the top in some sections where they compared the story to a play and the reader as an audience member (or something because I honestly felt confused about their main goal with the flowery language). I saw it through to the end mainly because I kept hoping that there would be some big revelation about Lloyd that was contradictory to the rest of the book and supported the claim that he was a spy (there wasn't).

All this being said, I was inspired to go on a little quest to locate Lloyd's grave as it's located in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx. It was actually a lot more arduous than I had anticipated and I spent 2+ hours trying to find it and finally had to enlist the help of a security guard. I had assumed it would be small as Virginia Lloyd, his wife, was currently quite poor at the time of William Alvin Lloyd's death. As you can see, I was very wrong.

I walked past this about 3 times before I realized it was the one.

My new friend, Mr. Security, said this was probably a part of the plot.

Here's a view of the back with my buddy, Mr. Security.

A close-up of the inscription.

Next up is The Lost World of the Old Ones: Discoveries in the Ancient Southwest by David Roberts. This story delves into the history of the Native Americans who occupied the Four Corners region of the southwestern United States. Their migration from this region along with their neighbors has been a mystery for many years. Roberts travels throughout this region searching for answers and locating artifacts unseen for the last several hundred years. My Anthropologist soul is practically thrumming with excitement over this one, guys!!


  1. I like the expanded format with photos but based on your comments won't be rushing out to buy the book. I now also see that I can, if I ever get the time, check out 'The Archive'. Excellent.

    1. Well, you do love train travel... ;-)

  2. That is quite a monument for a scam artist! Good find.