Saturday, September 20, 2014

Review: Behind the Badge: Crimefighters Through History by Ed Butts, Gareth Williams (Illustrator)

Buckle up for true stories of the chiefs, strongmen, and outlaws who kept the peace.
Where did the concept of policing originate? Who fought crime in ancient civilizations like those of Greece and Rome? How did the monarchs of the Middle Ages keep the countryside free of bandits? Why were the frontier towns of the American West policed by gunfighters? The truth will surprise you!
In parts of the prehistoric world, young warriors took turns enforcing community laws. During the Ottoman Empire, the sultan's police acted as spies, bodyguards, executioners, and even gardeners. In China, officials called prefects kept order with the aid of retired soldiers. In Amsterdam during the 1600s, citizens worked the night watch to keep the streets virtually crime-free. Deplorable conditions in the slums surrounding Rio de Janeiro in the 1980s and 90s gave rise to gangs of vigilante death squads, which included some police officers.
With text that moves at the speed of a Hollywood car chase, and full-color artwork that provides a you-were-there picture of events from ancient times to the modern era, Behind the Badge vividly captures the varied and unexpected roles police have played over time.

If you like history and trivia, this book is for you.

In Behind the Badge: Crimefighters Through History, readers are shown how law and order was kept from ancient times until the present.

I'm pretty sure I paid attention during most of my history classes so it was nice to see that there were plenty of things here that I didn't know yet. Picking up a trivia book then finding out that you know most of the things there can be pretty disappointing, but if you just take regular history classes and you aren't particularly well-versed in the history of law enforcement, then chances are this book will be a fascinating read for you.

It's interesting to see how roles of law enforcers have changed over time. A lot of them pulled double duty doing things like gardening which today's peacekeepers don't do on the job.

I liked that there's a section devoted to female police officers, as well as bad cops. Female police officers have come a long way since being hired for social worker-type jobs. As for the section about bad cops, it's nice to know that the book acknowledges that there are good and bad cops in the world.

There's also a section here on what it takes to be a police officer. Kids who are interested in joining the force can see if they're up to the challenge.

The book is in full color, which is great, although I'm not totally sold on the illustrations which reminded me of scenes or stills in movies wherein they color the scene/still so it looks like it's part of a comic book.

Thanks to NetGalley and Annick Press Ltd. for the e-ARC.


  1. You'll learn a lot of interesting things.
  2. The layout and use of color is nice and eye-catching.
  3. It's well-researched. 


  1. Some parts may be boring if you're more interested in the history parts than the science part of law enforcement history. 


  1. Your child wants to be a law enforcement officer.
  2. Your child likes trivia books.
  3. Your child is a history buff. 



Note: This post contains Amazon and Book Depository affiliate links.

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