255 pages, illustrations
In a fascinating exploration of feline history, When Cats Reigned Like Kings explores the connections between the royal and sacred felines of ancient civilizations and the beloved domestic cats of today. Chasing an irresistible mystery across the globe, Georgie Anne Geyer conducts exhaustive research into the little-known puzzle of how cats came to occupy their unique position in the lives of humans. Treated with the tenacity, resourcefulness, and narrative instinct of a seasoned foreign correspondent, the investigation yields unexpected answers and poses tantalizing new questions.
It was Geyer's curiosity about her own cats that inspired her to study the history of human-feline relations and especially the exalted status of cats among the ancients as royal or sacred beings. In Egypt, Geyer learned of the cat-goddess Bastet and of the cat's role in the transmigration of souls. In Myanmar she saw Leonardo DiCaprio, Ricky Martin, and the other incongruously named cats of the Nga Phe Kyaung monastery, trained by the monks to jump through hoops. She even met a family who dutifully guards the heritage of the Japanese Bobtail, cultivating the line in – of all places – rural Virginia.
Richly illustrated with photographs of Geyer's journeys and historical cat images, When Cats Reigned Like Kings describes forty-one recognized modern cat breeds plus other popular cats. Every cat lover can, thus, trace his or her cat to these breeds and their many relatives. The result is a remarkable book, bound to delight and amaze cat fanciers and adventure seekers.
"An enticing read for any cat lover or just simply those fascinated by human history, When Cats Reigned Like Kings is a choice and much recommended addition to pet and history collections."
- Library Bookwatch
"Starting with Pasha, Georgie Anne Geyer treats us to a delightful parade of regal cats that any diplomat would be pleased and honored to serve."
- Robert Oakley, former U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, Somalia, and Zaire, and Phyllis Elliott Oakley, former director of Research and Intelligence, U.S. Department of State.
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Georgie Anne Geyer has been a Chicago reporter, a foreign correspondent covering virtually every part of the world, an author and biographer, and a syndicated columnist for half a century. She has appeared on Washington Week in Review, Meet the Press, and Firing Line. She has been the recipient of numerous awards, most recently the Daniel Pearl Award. In addition, she is the author of numerous books, including Buying the Night Flight, Guerrilla Prince, and Predicting the Unthinkable, Anticipating the Impossible (Transaction, 2011).