CM . . .
. Volume XIX Number 13. . . .November 30, 2012
Bodyguards! From Gladiators to the Secret Service.
Ed Butts. Illustrated by Scott Plumbe.
Toronto, ON: Annick Press, 2012.
120 pp., trade pbk. & hc., $14.95 (pbk.), $24.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55451-436-6 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55451-437-3 (hc.).
Grades 5-9 / Ages 10-14.
Review by Heidi Henkenhaf.
A samurai was the ultimate bodyguard --- a warrior who had to be ready to die for his master. Anything less would bring disgrace upon him. Rather than live in shame, a samurai who had failed in his duty would compose a death poem, and then take his own life in a ritual called 'seppuku.' A warlord who neglected his protectors would regret it, as they could abandon him and become 'ronin,' samurai without a master.
A man in a black suit, white shirt, sunglasses and wearing an earpiece may be an image synonymous with a modern day bodyguard. In Bodyguards! From Gladiators to the Secret Service, Ed Butts expands that common visual by revealing the fascinating history and adventures of bodyguards dating back more than two thousand years. These high interest and action-packed stories are made even more appealing with the accompanying graphic novel art work by Scott Plumbe.
Butts explores the history of male and female bodyguards from ancient times to present day. He begins his exploration with the story of Ahmose, the bodyguard in charge of protecting the pharaoh of ancient Egypt, whose story was recorded in the hieroglyphics of the time. The stories of the Spartans of Greece and gladiators of Rome are action-packed adventures. Bodyguards protect the good guys, such as politicians (President of the United States), royalty (Princess Diana), and celebrities (Chris Rock) but also the bad guys, including warlords (Hitler), gangsters (Al Capone) and drug dealers (Escobar of Colombia). All of these stories read like an action anthology complete with heroes and villains. Just in case any readers are attracted to the profession, the author even includes a chapter about the requirements to becoming a bodyguard in today's personal protection climate.
I highly recommend this book because of the high interest level of the subject matter for the age group and the well-written blend of history and action in an appealing format including the art work.
Heidi Henkenhaf is an Auxiliary Reference & Children's Librarian at the Vancouver Public Library in Vancouver, BC.
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