Synopses & Reviews
Nationally syndicated journalist Georgie Anne Geyer 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, journalist Georgie Anne Geyer conducted 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 yielded unexpected answers--and posed tantalizing new questions. The result is a remarkable book, bound to delight and amaze cat fanciers and adventure seekers.
It was Geyer's curiosity about her own cats that inspired her to study the history of human-feline relations and especially cats' exalted status among the ancients as royal or sacred beings. Her quest spanned the earth. 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 photos of Geyer's journeys and historical cat images, When Cats Reigned Like Kings also presents a Family of Cat section that describes the origins and characteristics of the 38-40 recognized modern cat breeds, including photos of each.
"Veteran foreign reporter Geyer (Guerrilla Prince: The Untold Story of Fidel Castro; Buying the Night Flight: The Autobiography of a Woman Correspondent) brings her profiling skills to a more lighthearted but still complex topic-'the true history, legends, and sagas of the cats who served the human need for symbols of the spirit and of sacredness and royalty'-in this charming blend of reportage and personal history. Inspired by her first feline, Pasha, Geyer travels to Egypt to investigate a number of cat 'mysteries' at the Egyptian Museum and the ruins of the cat temple Tell Basta at Bubastis. Later, inspired by Nikko, her Japanese Bobtail, she travels through Burma, Bangkok, Siam and Tokyo to explore why their ancient societies revered 'cats, and cats alone.' Geyer keeps a light, playful tone through most of the book; Pasha's regal bearing makes her realize that 'although I had met many males who thought they were gods, I was for the first time sleeping with one.' A later section offers impressively concise descriptions of more than 30 breeds, and both this and her chapters about her travels easily support her belief that 'all cats are beautiful and... share in that sacred and royal spirit that they exemplify in themselves and inspire in us humans.' Photos." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Georgie Anne Geyer is a veteran foreign correspondent and a syndicated columnist on international affairs. She is renowned for her in-depth interviews with world leaders, including Anwar Sadat, Saddam Hussein, numerous American presidents, and the elusive Fidel Castro, the subject of her controversial book Guerrilla Prince. Her 10 books also include her own fascinating autobiography, Buying the Night Flight.