In this outstanding book, retired submarine captain Gavin Menzies rewrites history and takes us on an epic adventure around the world in the company of huge Chinese fleets carrying soldiers, craftsmen and concubines.
Using a mixture of medieval maps and manuscripts, an in-depth and practical maritime knowledge, botanical evidence and sound reasoning, Menzies puts forward his theory that China, not Europe, discovered America, Australia, and the rest of the world – decades before Europeans set sail for distant seas.
In a rich and descriptive style, Menzies tells of the lives of the Emperor Zhu Di, who ordered the voyages of exploration, and of Admiral Zheng He, his friend and chief eunuch. He goes on to describes the huge treasure fleets and tracks their course across the face of the globe. At each landfall, Menzies gives evidence of the Chinese presence, delving into the folklore of the area’s inhabitants and noting the presence of Asian plants and chickens far from China’s shores, predating the first Europeans.
This book is a must for anyone interested in keeping up to date with the most recent historical discoveries. In one fell swoop, Menzies has turned the old idea that Europeans first discovered America and circumnavigated the globe on its head. The history books will have to re-written!
1421 is written in an enjoyable style and the author’s modesty about his groundbreaking work makes the reader warm to him immediately. Not only are the journeys of the Chinese ships recounted but also the author’s own travels in their wake, as he flies around the world seeking evidence of the voyages and advice from a number of experts. This gives the book a double flavour of adventure that makes it hard to put down. An interesting and well-written read.