In 1434, a large Chinese fleet arrived in Tuscany. Official ambassadors of the Chinese Emperor met with Pope Eugenius IV and shared a wealth of Chinese knowledge, including world maps (which were later given to Columbus), astronomy, mathematics, art, printing, architecture, civil engineering, military machines, surveying cartography, and genetics. This gift of knowledge sparked the inventiveness of the Renaissance - Da Vinci's inventions, the Copernican revolution, Galileo's discoveries, and much more.
©2008 Gavin Menzies; (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
A worthy listen. Just not very good history. A Lot of things could of happened in history, but it does not mean that they did.
I gave 1421 three stars more for his imaginative narrative and style than the historical contents. This book lost even that. Although, it provides good catalog and listing for both Chinese and European Scientific achievement, the list is comprehensive.
The problem with his view was he discounts any possibility of indigenous invention, like Printing Press etc, one needs more solid evidence to prove that those Renaissance invention were imported from China, furthermore even if one concedes those invention were from China (which few would), it did NOT show it was done during Zheng He's 7th voyage. This book is fundamentally flawed in its argument, and logic, again this is how NOT to write history.
I am asian and was inclined to believe the information in this and the author's previous book. However, I could not really get a good feel for how generally accepted the work is. Much of the information presented is open to interpretation and it would be instructive to have this historical work peer reviewed. As a lay historian, it is impossible for me to judge the strength of his suppositions and hypotheses. It was also difficult to tell hypotheses from fact in many instances. Is this good, academic, history analysis or a more detailed Da Vinci Code? I could not tell.
I constantly had a feeling that this book is somehow just Chinese propaganda. It's not really history, but conjecture. Highly implausible at that. But stitched together by a narrative of glorification of China. Shoddy history, boring fiction.
I enjoyed 1421, which made a very convincing case for the Chinese discovery of the Americas before going a bit off the rails in its final chapters. 1434, however, is a totally inferior work which does a disservice to Gavin Menzies' previous book. This is a work of pure and utter speculation which does much to demonstrate the author's love of China and Renaissance Italy but makes no convincing case for the type of contact he claims between the two. Menzies' language betrays his lack of evidence as he constantly concludes that this or that "must have been" the case, but is unable to offer any conclusive or even vague proof to make his case. And some of the book's claims are just too fantastical to be taken seriously, even by readers who considered the arguments of 1421 plausible. Pity.
Interesting point of view that needs more thoughtful presentation. Much of the book references the reader to the website. Why read the book? Also, the author spends a lot of time explaining to the reader that this represents his conclusions and his opinion. I think that such an explanation is implicit and does not need further clarification. He also uses a major tsunami to explain why few remnants of Chinese culture are left around the Pacific. This would be a startling revelation but is relegated to a short segment at the end of the book. I guess you are supposed to see the website...
I first read 1421 a few years after I visited China. In Xian, I got my first clue that history as taught in the US schools was one sided. 1421 confirmed that observation. 1434 takes it to a different level. The approach that the Chinese took to world politics in 1421 to 1434 can be seen in what they are doing today. Even in the 1400s China view intellectual property as a weapon for diplomacy. Read this book and think about what is happening today in the world markets. And when you get to the end, think about the recent tsunami in Japan and imagine what it must have been like in 1434!
If I were doing research and needed to know every name of every Chinese,(down to the cooks it seemed) who was involved in these adventures it might be worth listening to. If it were a print book I could skip thru the boring details (and there are lots of them). As it was we just quit listening. It was very disappointing as it is a topic we find very interesting.
Well worth the listen. It turned my niave Eurocentric historical beliefs upsidedown. Thanks so much for the lesson.
Very convincing and accademic read. This book has a lot of reference information that would be good to have in front of your face rather than just audio. If this is your interest be prepared for an immense amount of information. Well read.
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