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Revered and Reviled: A Complete History of the Domestic Cat Paperback – October 3, 2016
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- Item Weight : 1.34 pounds
- Paperback : 416 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0692759824
- ISBN-13 : 978-0692759820
- Dimensions : 6 x 1.04 x 9 inches
- Publisher : Great Cat Publications (October 3, 2016)
- Language: : English
- Customer Reviews:
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There are about 400 pages of text and many interesting black and white reproductions of paintings, drawings and sculptures of cats, representative of the various historical periods - largely, but not exclusively - of our Western history. The cats are not usually the main subject of the painting, rather accessories in representations of family, street, private, public and other aspects of life. It was interesting to note that, in these paintings and other images, cats look different from one historical period to the next. Clearly, we are observing the cat the way the artist – as representative of the people themselves, during each period - saw and painted it, not the way it actually looked and/or the way we see it today.
Along with the text, the reproductions give a good indication of the type and quality of treatment that the cat received through the ages.
Some believe that the aloof appearance and conduct of most cats today derive from the awareness – still persistent in their minds three to four millennia later - of having been Gods during at least one period in history. On the other hand, the frightened look that some kitties display, particularly when in unfamiliar environments and situations, is most likely a consequence of the treatment that their ancestors received during the Middle Ages: such treatment left them so traumatized, that the trait was added to their genetic brain configuration and transmitted to the future generations.
Many cat lovers may find the treatment of some innocent defenseless kitties during the Middle Ages, offensive. Unfortunately such has been and, although not as blatantly displayed, continues to be part of human nature today – at least for some among us.
Given the quality and value of most of the reproductions - practically all painted or drawn by prominent artists - it is unfortunate that they could not be printed in color. Perhaps the publisher may consider doing this for a future edition. In the appropriate hard bound format and larger size, this book, in addition to providing a substantial amount of interesting information, will make a beautiful and unique “coffee table” ornament, and a good subject of conversation for those of us who are cat lovers.
The book is very informative for any cat person. He/she will learn a great deal from both the text and the pictures.
The book relies on artwork and literature primarily to fill in the historical gaps, primarily in the ancient time periods, and even through the Middle Ages. Artwork and literature are useful in that they demonstrate the presence of cats and how they were conceived of, at least by the social class that is depicted, and they are particularly pleasant to examine–not always the case with books, unfortunately!
The author also makes use of some older histories of domestic animals published in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It’s always a bit perilous to write a complete history of anything because an author opens herself up to claims of “but you forgot this and that”, but this book seems to carry it off with confidence.
It is written in engaging language and focuses on particularly interesting–and sometimes tragic–instances and individuals important to feline history. It proceeds chronologically and while it is well-written, it is also largely unbiased, another important feature of historical writing. Relevant photos and pictures are provided, a timeline, lists of tombs and cemeteries in Egypt to do with cats, and a voluminous references section.