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1421 : The Year China Discovered the World…
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1421 : The Year China Discovered the World (utgåvan 2003)

av Gavin Menzies (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
3,277924,087 (3.24)64
"On 8 February 1421 the largest fleet the world had ever seen sailed from its base in China. The ships, 500 foot long junks made from the finest teak and mahogany, were led by 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 whole world in Confucian harmony. Their journey would last over two years and circle the entire globe. When they returned Zhu Di had fallen from power and China was beginning its long, self-imposed isolation from the world it had so recently embraced. The great ships rotted at their moorings and the records of their journeys were destroyed. Lost was the knowledge that Chinese ships had reached America 70 years before Columbus and circumnavigated the globe a century before Magellan. They has also discovered Antarctica, reached Australia 350 years before Cook and solved the problem of longitude 300 years before the Europeans. Gavin Menzies has spent 15 years tracing the astonishing voyages of the Chinese fleet. In this historical detective story, he shares the account of his discoveries and the incontrovertible evidence to support them. His narrative brings together ancient maps, precise navigational knowledge, astronomy and the surviving accounts by Chinese explorers and the later European navigators. It brings to light the artefacts and inscribed standing stones left behind by the Emperor's fleet, the evidence of sunken junks along its route and the ornate votive offerings left by the Chinese sailors wherever they landed, in thanks to Shao Lin, goddess of the sea." -- BOOK JACKET.… (mer)
Medlem:Fryfry
Titel:1421 : The Year China Discovered the World
Författare:Gavin Menzies (Författare)
Info:Bantam (2004), Edition: Bantam New Edition, 650 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
Betyg:
Taggar:Ingen/inga

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1421: The Year China Discovered America av Gavin Menzies

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» Se även 64 omnämnanden

engelska (85)  nederländska (2)  katalanska (1)  danska (1)  spanska (1)  portugisiska (1)  Alla språk (91)
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CO-4
  Murtra | May 15, 2024 |
Not sure I believe Menzies thesis, but it this was a terrific read. ( )
  MylesKesten | Jan 23, 2024 |
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. ( )
  nordie | Oct 14, 2023 |
The book sounded interesting when it first came out, but on reading it's full of dubious claims. The author seems very full of himself and acts as though he knows more than historians who have studied these topics for many years. See detailed review by Dan Gibson at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/321708429_Book_Review_1421_The_Year_Chi... which notes that "I believe that Menzies has done what many others before him have done. That is: assume that they are researching the very first cross-Atlantic voyages, thus not taking into account that others may have been there before." and "The proofs given by Menzies only bring us to the conclusion that the Americas had been visited before the Portuguese arrived. This is no surprise, since it seems that the ancient Egyptian pharaohs possessed items and plants that were native only to the Americas. Obviously some people had been crossing the seas for many centuries. But was it the Chinese? Menzies fails to prove this."

Some issues I had with this book:
1) Menzies makes a big deal about the Fra Mauro map and quotes an appended note that says "Around the year 1420, a ship or junk [coming] from India ... was driven beyond Cap d Diab [Cape of Good Hope] and through the Isole Verde ... towards the west and south-west for 40 days, found nothing but sea and sky. ... They made their return to the said Cap de Diab in 70 days." He uses this as evidence for his argument that a Chinese fleet sailed to South America. But his theory has them sailing up the west coast of Africa and across the Atlantic, then south down the coast of South America, and then near the Antarctic and on to Australia. He completely ignores the text on the map he uses for evidence that says they found nothing but sea and sky and returned in 70 days.

2) He describes a second Chinese fleet going up the east coast of North America, then part of that fleet continuing on to Greenland, and maybe on to the North Pole. Then he claims in only a couple of paragraphs that they came home around Siberia and through the Bering Strait. In most of the rest of the book he uses long arguments to make his case, but there's very little in support of this wild claim.

3) He spends one whole chapter writing about his claim that the Chinese had discovered the secret to longitude and describing how they did it. He claims the existence of certain maps prove the Chinese had figured out how to calculate longitude, but there's no evidence to support his claim that one of the treasure fleets had actually carried out the measurements at this time.

Overall, there are just too many problems with this book to be believable. ( )
1 rösta atozgrl | Dec 19, 2022 |
The teaching of history is, as von Clausewitz said of war, the extension of politics by other means. Different nations teach their own history from their own viewpoint. Even if that history extends beyond their own borders, the story usually reflects the role of each country in the development of the world. So works of trans-national history are comparatively unusual, and even more rarely do they look beyond narrow national viewpoints.

So a book that claims that Chinese treasure fleets explored the world's oceans, circumnavigated the globe 100 years before Magellan and made landfall in the Americas some 75 years before Columbus is bound to ruffle some feathers. Menzies' '1421' does just that. His thesis is that the extravagance of the early Ming emperors, which culminated in the building of the Forbidden City, the completion of the Great Wall, and the commissioning of a massive trading fleet, numbering hundreds of ships, caused a subsequent emperor to retrench the nation's activity, to purge the archives of all records and to retreat into isolationism, leaving Portuguese explorers tantalising clues and charts showing distant lands which they then went out and "discovered".

Given that China had trade links all over South-East Asia, the coast of India and down the east coast of Africa, this seems plausible. The big problem is the lack of firm evidence. Given that (in Menzies' account) all the main Chinese records were destroyed, this leaves him to pick up scraps from a range of other sources, piecing a story together from fragments. But this is always going to lead to confirmation bias; any evidence will be assessed for how it fits into the grand narrative, rather than looking at the evidence in isolation. Menzies lists a large number of academic institutions that helped him in his researches; what they thought of the outcome is another matter.

The style of the writing does not help. Menzies initially started writing a world travelogue, of which the central idea behind "1421" was just one part. This came to the attention of an enterprising publisher who saw the possibilities in a book based on the account of the treasure fleets. Menzies re-wrote that segment of the book with the aid of a ghost writer; but he admitted that he himself was no writer. He uses some of the usual tropes of the pseudo-science writer - "this proves that the Chinese must have...", "the only possible conclusion is that..." and so on. Even if his evidence were sound, the book presents subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) suggestions that it is not, simply because of the style. Interestingly, he twice cites Erich von Däniken, though not as any sort of reliable source, but rather as the only other person to think such-and-such a piece of evidence is significant, "and that can't be true!".

Of course, if his thesis is true, then all we will have are fragments which need to be pieced together. But this runs the risk of the whole being more than the sum of its parts. China has an extensive history; it was the world's first superpower. But if this claim was viable, would it not be the Chinese who would be making it?

Menzies died in 2020. He published further books making more fantastical claims about the role of China in medieval European history; and set up a website asking members of the public to add to the body of his evidence. This has been replaced by a very slick site for a "1421 Foundation" which has picked up this particular ball and is running with it. This is a shame, because it all now smacks of commercialisation and sensation; certainly, any serious historian or archaeologist coming to the field of medieval Chinese naval history might well be put off by all the trappings. And that would be a shame; in a world where narrow national interests are being exploited for political gain, any trans-national or global perspective is helpful in trying to give a sense of balance. But without better evidence, this book and its successors are not helping. ( )
  RobertDay | Sep 15, 2021 |
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This book is dedicated to my beloved wife Marcella, who has travelled with me on the journeys related in this book and through life.
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On 2 February 1421, China dwarfed every nation on earth.
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"On 8 February 1421 the largest fleet the world had ever seen sailed from its base in China. The ships, 500 foot long junks made from the finest teak and mahogany, were led by 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 whole world in Confucian harmony. Their journey would last over two years and circle the entire globe. When they returned Zhu Di had fallen from power and China was beginning its long, self-imposed isolation from the world it had so recently embraced. The great ships rotted at their moorings and the records of their journeys were destroyed. Lost was the knowledge that Chinese ships had reached America 70 years before Columbus and circumnavigated the globe a century before Magellan. They has also discovered Antarctica, reached Australia 350 years before Cook and solved the problem of longitude 300 years before the Europeans. Gavin Menzies has spent 15 years tracing the astonishing voyages of the Chinese fleet. In this historical detective story, he shares the account of his discoveries and the incontrovertible evidence to support them. His narrative brings together ancient maps, precise navigational knowledge, astronomy and the surviving accounts by Chinese explorers and the later European navigators. It brings to light the artefacts and inscribed standing stones left behind by the Emperor's fleet, the evidence of sunken junks along its route and the ornate votive offerings left by the Chinese sailors wherever they landed, in thanks to Shao Lin, goddess of the sea." -- BOOK JACKET.

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