Friday, January 25, 2013

Bodyguards! From Gladiators to the Secret Service

Bodyguards!  From Gladiators to the Secret Service
by Ed Butts, illustrated by Scott Plumbe
Annick Press, 2012.  121 pgs.  Nonfiction

     Bodyguards is chock-full of fascinating information about people through the ages who have guarded good and bad people, innocents and criminals,  against threats of every kind.  Along with the Secret Service, whom we know, this book includes information about the Swiss Guard of the Vatican, Elvis Presley's "Memphis Mafia" who protected him from hordes of screaming fans, and the terra cotta warriors who served as inanimate protectors of the First Emperor, Qin Shi Huangdi, after his death. Failure and treachery from those sworn to protect is also revealed, such as when the policeman who was supposed to keep watch over Abraham Lincoln at Ford's theater left to get a drink, leaving the door of the president's box unprotected, or the Sikh bodyguards who murdered Indira Gandhi whom they were hired to defend. One fascinating story after another fills this text, though they seem almost randomly placed, which makes the book more a series of anecdotes rather than a chronological history of bodyguards.  Helpful information is included at the end telling what kind of training is needed to become a bodyguard, and what personal characteristics are required. Although boys might be particularly drawn to this book, plenty of women bodyguards have distinguished themselves throughout history, and young girls will find much fascinating material in these pages as well.

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