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1421

The Year China Discovered America
Narrated by: Simon Vance
Length: 12 hrs and 59 mins
Categories: History, World
4.5 out of 5 stars (221 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

On March 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" and unite the whole world in Confucian harmony.

When it returned in October 1423, the emperor had fallen, leaving China in political and economic chaos. The great ships were left to rot at their moorings and the 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 and had circumnavigated the globe a century before Magellan. Also concealed was how the Chinese colonized America before the Europeans and transplanted in America and other countries the principal economic crops that have fed and clothed the world.

Unveiling incontrovertible evidence of these astonishing voyages, 1421 rewrites our understanding of history. Our knowledge of world exploration as it has been commonly accepted for centuries must now be reconceived due to this landmark work of historical investigation.

©2002 Gavin Menzies (P)2014 HarperCollinsPublishers

What members say

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Would have been a good novel...

As a piece of history this book is not credible. Circular reasoning, impossible timelines, lack of evidence, confusion of “hypotheses” with “evidence”.

It might have made a fun novel in the vein of “Da Vinci Code.” Unfortunately it’s masquerading as history.

The narrator is great though!

18 of 22 people found this review helpful

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  • Phyllis
  • Glendale, WI, United States
  • 11-24-16

Short on Evidence

Speculation and circular arguments do not make a convincing case. Spectacular narration could not save factual nonsense.

16 of 23 people found this review helpful

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A compelling new way to understand the New World

The author does a fabulous job laying out his evidence for a claim that flies in the face of what every European and American is taught about the Age of Discovery. As it turns out, the famous Spanish and Portuguese explorers seem to have known exactly where they were headed and, in many cases, precisely how to get there. This book is about to whom they were indebted for that knowledge.

While the title and subtitle of a book like this could certainly produce instant skepticism, Mr. Menzies painstakingly brings out a wealth of archaeological, navigational, historical, and DNA evidence to buttress his assertions. For those not familiar with Chinese names, the audiobook can be a little difficult in spots, but the story is gripping and the narration is wonderful. By all means purchase and enjoy this book. I'm looking forward to other titles from this author and other readings by Simon Vance, too.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Rational Explanations for Historical Mysteries

After a great celebration for the completion of the Forbidden City, the Ming Emperor Tzu Di sends out a great armada to return dignitaries to their home countries and gives the order that the fleets of Junks continue onward in exploration and charting.
Where did they go? What much did they document? A great amount was destroyed by a later Emperor, but clues remain behind. Gavin Menzies made it his life's work after retiring from the British Navy to find out.
"The Year China Discovered America" is a nice tease. The book is much more than that. The list of discoveries and technologies are staggering.
I also bought the paperback version of the book to see the illustrations and ancient maps detailed in the narrative.
Also, I would give more stars to the narrator if that were possible. Mr. Vance has tremendous skills in switching effortlessly between Chinese, Latin, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese pronunciations. If it weren't for the audio version, I may have gotten bogged down with all of the unfamiliar names and places if I were reading it. Remember, I bought the paper book for the pictures.

15 of 23 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark
  • Toney, AL United States
  • 01-18-19

Fascinating Theory

I thoroughly enjoyed the book 1421 and readily accept significant portions of the book, however there are also many parts of the book that would seem to be pure conjecture - coupling facts and theories that fit his narrative. Clearly the Chinese civilization made some huge accomplishments in areas far sooner than their European counterparts and naval discoveries pertaining to navigation are among them. I found the portions dealing with the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean far more plausible than those proposed in the Atlantic, especially those associated with the North Atlantic. The book really is fascinating and the narration is first rate. I would strongly recommend the book to people who enjoy history and histories mysteries.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Say What?

Some of his global warming theories are askew. I think there is some merit to his ideas, however.

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Great research

This book presents amazing research, however, in some parts it feels over-detailed for a common reader.

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Amazing untold story. Brilliant

Tore thru it. Great read. The author details the most amazing story I've read in a long time.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Fantastic narration

The narrator did a great job reading this book. Well researched book I enjoyed the parts about astronavigation and ocean currents.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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You’ll never view the history of the world the same

Gavin Menzies a master navigator proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Chinese and not the Europeans guided the evolution of the worlds society beyond anything that the European adventurist and conquers ever did. A must read of how far advanced that the Chinese were in relationship as to how history portrays them.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful