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The Pharaoh's Treasure

A new book from Pegasus, The Pharaoh’s Treasure is a thought-provoking history of paper—from its origins in Egypt to its spread throughout the world—revealing how it helped usher in a new era of human history. (https://tinyurl.com/yd5ddzmf or https://tinyurl.com/y8ap2nm9)  "An engaging journey to the distant past." Kirkus Reviews, 2018

Join the author, John Gaudet, an experienced lecturer, writer and biologist as he shows how the ancient Egyptians made paper. Experience with him the evolution of books from papyrus paper to volumes of parchment, and then to handmade pulp paper invented by the Chinese and used by Gutenberg to print his famous Bibles.


Papyrus the Plant that Changed the World (Pegasus,NY)

From ancient Pharaohs to 21st cent. water wars, papyrus is a unique plant;  one of the fastest growing plant species on earth. It grows in enormous swamps that float on water-- its stems inspired the fluted columns of the ancient Greeks. In ancient Egypt, the papyrus bounty from the Nile provided not just paper for record keeping--instrumental to the development of civilization--but also food, fuel and boats.

(For a trip through a swamp press the top right Button!)

Today, it is not just a curious relic of our ancient past, but a rescuing force for modern ecological and societal blight.  Harvard University’s Belfer Center voted this book the Innovation Book of the Week . 


See more about papyrus and the water world at   



The Iron Snake (Brandylane)

It is 1897, during the last few years of Victoria’s reign at the height of the Empire, a period marked by unrest in Africa.  The Kenya Colony is an exciting world of hate, passion, loyalty and violence.  Stories abound about the wild nature of the railroad line’s shaky wooden trestle bridges over enormous chasms, man-eating lions pulling railway workers out of carriages at night, and back home the British Parliament is upset that construction of what the Africans call the Iron Snake will never return the enormous investment. The tabloid term, “Lunatic Express,” seems to fit.  Buy it now at: https://tinyurl.com/y92bhwhb  Republished as an e-book for Barnes & Noble’s Nook http://tinyurl.com/3lgsbrb, The Iron Snake involves a host of fascinating, passionate characters who witness Africa’s first steps into the modern era, and in the process have their lives transformed. 

The Pharaoh's Treasure Big News - appearance of Gaudet and Papyrus on Jeopardy


John Gaudet, Papyrus and Jeopardy

 John and his book popped up on Jeopardy on Wed. night December 12

See if you know the correct answer.  Check  it out at: https://youtu.be/dcbJ602INkE.  


  John Gaudet interview on Talk Radio Europe Jan 30, 2019 on his new book The Pharaoh's Treasure (https://youtu.be/k_TYr3trAUI)

"I am a storyteller who writes in a historical framework. While I feel an almost compulsive obligation to keep faith with the facts, my main objective is to tell a story—as dramatically and suspensefully and entertainingly as I can."

Chinese Edition due out this autumn 法老的宝藏

Published in Beijing!

The Chinese edition of The Pharaoh's Treasure is due out this autumn 2019 in Beijing . 法老的宝藏  ("Fǎlǎo de bǎozàng") to be published by SSAP.  Founded in 1985, the Social Sciences Academic Press is the publishing wing of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.  It specializes in scholarly publication in the humanities and the social sciences. 

 Publisher's Site   https://tinyurl.com/y3gxov25

About John Gaudet


The Washington Post's Neely Tucker said "He looks and sounds like he could have walked right out of a Graham Greene novel..."

John Gaudet

An experienced writer, lecturer and scientist John, spent years wading in African swamps in the '80's when they were used as body dumps by a local dictator, Idi Amin. Funny thing, he'll tell you, the swamps were dominated by the Papyrus plant, the same plant used by ancient Egyptians to make paper, which convinced him to become an expert on the plant and ancient paper. That way he'd stand out at social functions as he did in the swamps along the Nile where local people nicknamed him “Bwana Papyrus."

A Fulbright Scholar to both India and Malaya, his research on tropical plants funded by a grant from The National Geographic Society took him to many lush, wild places. His early work has been discussed in Nature, and by Peter Moore on the BBC show Science Now, and later in an article by Alan Cowell in The New York Times. He also worked in the US Government's overseas aid program and later as a consultant in environmental assessment.   Check him out at The Washington Post (https://tinyurl.com/ychccsdp), Salon (http://tinyurl.com/SalonBoats), and Huffington Post. (see more below in "Portfolio" and "Talks, Signings and Events") 

Talks, Signings and Events

History of Ancient Paper and the Origin of the First Books and Bibles McLean Hist. Soc. Feb 12, 2019 

Origin of Paper, Books and the Bible, Biblical Archeol.  Jan. 20, 2019  Falls Church, VA 

The Pharaoh's Treasure: The History of Papermaking  -  Special Event

Encore Learning . Nov 19, 2018 Arlington Pub. Lib. Auditorium, Arlington, VA. 

October  Book Launch and Signing:- Bard's Alley, 110 Church St. Vienna VA  Oct. 21,  2018

September Book Signing , Amer. Research Center for Egypt, Alexandria, VA Sept 14, 2018

Watermen, Cowboys and Hippo Hunters of Ancient Egypt. Arlington Public Library, Arlington, VA. May 23, 2018

Book Sign and Lecture "Water World of Ancient Egypt" at Amer. Research Center in Egypt in Alexandria, VA. May 19, 2018 

The Water World of Ancient Egypt, Part 1 of the series.  George Mason University, Reston, VA. Apr 9, 2018 (Part 2 Apr 16)

The Water World of Ancient Egypt, Part 1 of the series. George Mason University, Fairfax, VA. Mar 27, 2018 (Part 2 Apr 3)

The Water World of Ancient Egypt, George Mason University, Loudoun, VA. A two part series of talks, Feb 7 and 14, 2018

Lunch, Book Talk on "Ancient Paper and the Origin of the Bible," McLean Episcopal Church, August, 2017

University of Calif., Berkeley, Calif. (West Coast Book Tour) April 2016

Sherman Oaks Galleria, Los Angeles, Calif. (West Coast Book Tour) April 2016

Bowers Museum, Santa Ana, Calif. (West Coast Book Tour) April 2016

Amer. Research Center in Egypt, Washington, D.C. Jan 15, 2016

Lunch Book Talk, Vienna Presb. Church, June 10, 2015

The Writer's Center, Bethesda MD (book reading) May 17, 2015

Fulbright Association, National Capital, Wash. D.C. Spring, 2015

Green Spring Park Center, Farfax, VA January 2015

The Athenaeum, Alexandria (Northern Va. Fine Arts Assoc.) November 2014

Book Signing 2014 (png)


Portfolio (recent articles, reviews, etc.)


Magazine Articles

Ancient Egypt Magazine (Feb/March issue 2019)

The Pharaoh's Treasure - When Papyrus Ruled 

Near Eastern Archaeology Journal  (December, 2019)

Papyrus and the Pharaoh’s Treasure–an Ecological Perspective (in press)

Op-Ed Pieces

History News Network (HNN 2/24/19) 

Columbian College of Ats & Sciences - George Washington University, Wash. DC.  

What Can One Ecologist Teach Historians 


History is Now Magazine Blog  -  

The first world of paper is the period during which papyrus paper was the standard medium for writing in the Western world. (3,700 likes)

Did History Stand Still During the First World of Paper? - Ancient Egypt and Papyrus Paper 


The Spectator - review by Dennis Duncan (Feb 7 2019)

Treasures from Ancient Egypt's Wastepaper Baskets

Review in All About History Magazine (March 2019)

History and The Pharaoh's Treasure 

        "The Pharaoh's Treasure is an entertaining read and Gaudet's enthusiasm for his subject is infectious.”

Great review in Joshua Provan's blog page "Adventures In History" 

(March 2019)  Josh is a book reviewer, history writer and blogger. The founder of an award winning blog he contributes regularly to the Britannia Magazine on Facebook. https://tinyurl.com/y6nxl5ag


NPR  St. Louis - Paper Has A Long And Fascinating History 

Story by Nancy Kranzberg (03/07/19) who said "What a fascinating read!"

The Pharaoh's Treasure and National Public Radio 

TV Channels 9 & 10 in Northern Michigan. News staff pick for March 2019 "...a good read for anyone who is interested in the history of industry, the history of paper, and anyone who likes niche historical narratives.” 

TV news staff discovers The Pharaoh's Treasure 

W.W. Norton  Web Site

 On the W.W. Norton book publisher's site (W.W. Norton distributes books for Pegasus): 

W,W, Norton Site

Minerva Magazine

Great review of The Pharaoh's Treasure by Diana Bentley in July/August issue of Minerva Magazine!  She says: "Today, electronic notebooks don't even need ink, but will their place in history persist to produce anything as extraordinary and entertaining as the tales contained in The Pharaoh's Treasure?"

Minerva Magazine Review