Book Review: 1421: The Year China Discovered The World

1421: The Year China Discovered The World by Gavin Menzies
On 3/8/1421, the largest fleet the world had ever seen set sail from China. Its mission was “to proceed all the way to the ends of the earth to collect tribute from the barbarians beyond the seas” & unite the whole world in Confucian harmony. When it returned in 10/1423, the emperor had fallen, leaving China in political & economic chaos. The great ships were left to rot at their moorings. Most records of their journeys were destroyed. Lost in China’s long, self-imposed isolation that followed was the knowledge that Chinese ships had reached America 70 years before Columbus & had circumnavigated the globe a century before Magellan. Also concealed was how the Chinese colonized America before the Europeans & transplanted in America & other countries the principal economic crops that have fed & clothed the world.

This book looks bigger than it really is – the last 200 pages being appendices….

Whilst the story itself was interesting, I still had difficulty with the way of writing. Plenty of references to “when I was in the Navy” and “When I was in command of xxx submarine” (oh get over yourself!). Also the publication seemed a little rushed as there was plenty of mentions to “investigations are ongoing blah, details will be on the website (the details of which get mentioned the first and possibly the only time buried somewhere in the postscript). Dont know what the rush for the publication was for, or where he got all the money to fund the research


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