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1421: The Year China Discovered the World | Paperback

Released on 01 March 2004

Author: Gavin Menzies | Format: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 (4 customer reviews) | Write a review

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On 8 March 1421, the largest fleet the world had ever seen set sail from China. The ships, some nearly five hundred feet long, were under the command of Emperor Zhu Di's loyal eunuch admirals. Their mission was 'to proceed all the way to the end of the earth to collect tribute from the barbarians beyond the seas' and unite the world in Confucian harmony. Their journey would last for over two years and take them around the globe. But by the time the fleet returned home, Zhu Di had lost control and China was beginning its long, self-imposed isolation from the world it had so recently embraced. And so these great ships rotted at their moorings and the records of their extraordinary journey were destroyed. And with them, the knowledge that the Chinese had circumnavigated the globe a century before Magellan, reached America seventy years before Columbus, and Australia three hundred and fifty years before Cook. . . The result of over fifteen years research, 1421: THE YEAR CHINA DISCOVERED THE WORLD is Gavin Menzies' enthralling account of the voyage of the emperor's fleet, the remarkable discoveries he made and the incontrovertible evidence to support them: ancient maps, precise navigational knowledge, astronomy and the surviving accounts of Chinese explorers and the later European navigators as well as the artefacts the fleet left in its wake - from sunken junks to the ornate votive offerings left by the Chinese sailors wherever they landed, giving thanks to Shao Lin, goddess of the sea. Already hailed as a classic, this is the story of an extraordinary journey of discovery that not only radically alters our understanding of world exploration but also rewrites history itself.

customer Reviews

 Average rating (4 reviews)

 did we read the same book ?

| | See all darkofan's reviews (1)

Ok, I'll agree that it's not the easiest read, but that's precisely because the research is in quite some depth - right down to consideration of such things as bolivian lacquering methods!

You have to allow for the fact that this book is trying to rewrite history - and as the Chinese destroyed most of the direct written evidence it has to pieced together like a detective novel until the truth emerges from sheer weight of probability. I found the ride to be absolutely fascinating and will buy this for my dad :)

 One of the few books I have stopped reading

| | See all MickyValentine's reviews (31)

Top 100 Books Reviewer

This book is probably one of the worst I have ever read.

The premise of the book is that the Chinese discovered the new world before European explorere did. This, with the limited amout of research and proof to back it up, could have been written about in under 100 pages. However, Gavin Menzies manages to fill 656 pages and therefore repeats himself quite frequently.

An extremely poor read that I would not recommend to anyone.

 1421 fascinating

| | See all silviaf's reviews (1)

as of page 1 of the introduction, also an easy read - makes me want to go to all those libraries and see these maps/drawings for real. I wish I had read this before my trips to China in 1976 & 78. thank you Mr Menzies for communicating your passion

 Tough read but an interesting prospect

| | See all tberwick1's reviews (3)

First of all the bookis only 456 pages long, the other 200 pages contain the Postscript/Appendix. This book sets you up for Gavin Menzies latest book China 1434. It certainly isnt a page turner, but the man is trying to rewrite history.

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AuthorGavin Menzies
PublisherTransworld Publishers Ltd (UK)
Formatpaperback - 656 Pages
IllustrationsIllustrations, Maps