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Children's Nonfiction General

Behind the Badge

Crimefighters Through History

by (author) Ed Butts

illustrated by Gareth Williams

Annick Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2014
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2014
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2014
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2014
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 10 to 13
  • Grade: 5 to 8


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.

About the Contributors

Ed Butts has written more than a dozen books for readers of all ages. His most recent title is Bodyguards! He lives in Guelph, Ontario.

Gareth Williams is the illustrator of Outlaws, Spies, and Gangsters, as well as the Red Maple Award-shortlisted The Adventures of Medical Man. He lives in South Africa.

About the authors

Ed Butts loved history and adventure stories as a kid, and started writing short stories, articles, and poetry in his teens. On the rare occasions when a magazine published his work, he was overjoyed, especially when they sent him a cheque for ten dollars. Since then Ed has written books about explorers, adventurers, criminals, hidden treasure, disasters, mysteries, and daring women. He has also worked at many other jobs, including teaching at a school in the Dominican Republic for eight years. Ed lives in Guelph, Ontario, with his daughter and six-year-old grandson.

Ed Butts' profile page

Northern Irish composer Gareth Williams lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, where he makes work that seeks to find new participants, collaborators, and audiences for opera and music theatre to shed light on stories and communities that have been overlooked, and to explore ideas of vulnerability in vocal writing. His music is often site-specific and responsive, with performances happening in lighthouses, whisky distilleries, nuclear bunkers, and libraries. From 2015 to 2018, Williams collaborated with Oliver Emanuel to create the critically acclaimed 306 Trilogy, a collection of music theatre works telling the story of the British soldiers shot for cowardice during WWI, produced by the National Theatre of Scotland. The album from the trilogy, Lost Light: Music from the 306, was released in 2020. Rocking Horse Winner, produced by Tapestry Opera, was nominated for nine Dora Mavor Moore Awards in 2017, winning five, including Outstanding Musical Production. The opera was recorded and released in 2020 by Tapestry Opera. Currently, Gareth lectures in composition at the University of Edinburgh, and is working on new operas and musicals, as well as a new album as a singer-songwriter.

Gareth Williams' profile page

Other titles by Ed Butts

Other titles by Gareth Williams