Behind the Badge Share this with a friend

Crimefighters Through History

by Ed Butts
illustrated by Gareth Williams

Best Books for Kids & Teens, Canadian Children’s Book Centre

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.


“A broad and engaging . . . introduction to law enforcement through the ages.”
—Kirkus Reviews, 09/15/14

“Informative and captivating.”
—Resource Links, 12/14

“Entertaining and enlightening.”
—VOYA, 04/15

—Interesting Nonfiction for Inquisitive Kids, 04/17/15

“This excellent non-fiction book [is] . . . perfect for the junior or intermediate classroom.”
—Canadian Teacher, 02/17