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1421 - A Book Review
Who discovered the Americas? Most would say Christopher Columbus. Others who have been paying closer attention to history after high school would say the Vikings. What would you say if all the answers to this question were changed to China?
In the book 1421: The Year China Discovered America (P.S.) by Gavin Menzies , history gets turned upside down. Menzies goes through primary historical documents that cover the globe and pieces together the theory that China actually explored more of the world than most Europeans realize and even left their mark in Australia, Africa, North America, South America, Central America, and even the Caribbean.
Mainly relying on maps, Menzies takes the reader from the Golden Age of China to the rest of the world. He shows various maps that were dated prior to 1492 as having extremely detailed drawings of land that supposedly had not been “discovered” yet. According to Menzies, Columbus, de Gama, and other explorers possessed maps that directed them to where they were going. Nothing was done by chance.
Maps are not the entire basis for Menzies’ theory though they do play an extremely important part in his journey. Menzies realizes that more concrete proof has to be found. He digs deeper and comes up with evidence in the form of geographical markings, plant life, legends, archeological findings, and more that China mined in Australia, taught the Incans and Mayans a few things, and even settled in areas in California.
Why did European explorers find Asiatic chickens in the Americas? Why do multiple cultures talk about yellow men and women who wore long white shirts landing on their shores and even living among them? Why is there evidence of copper mining in parts of the world that did not know how to mine? Why is there Chinese DNA in groups of natives around the world?
Menzie goes through each of these questions and more to show that the reality is history has been taught wrong. When proposing this theory and laying out his findings, he was surprised to find that others thought the same thing and even “knew” it to be true. He was not alone thinking that history had been taught to emphasize European involvement and exclude other cultures.
What You Find in This Book:
• Detailed maps and pictures to support the author’s conclusion
• Fair analysis. The author does not just have a theory and explain it in glorified terms expecting others to jump on board some crazy notions. He does not even accept initial prove of his theory. He continues till he has enough proof that other historians will accept the theory and the proof supporting it.
• Analysis of China and its explorations that cover every aspect of Chinese life.
• Tons and tons of information that is very revealing of all cultures the Chinese encountered.
• A better understanding of how the explorers in the 1400’s ventured into the “unknown”.
What You Will Not Find in This Book:
• Crackpot ideas with no support behind it.
• Watered down information – Details and support is abundant.
1421 is an excellent book that really makes a reader rethink much of what they have learned. After reading the book, I wanted to go on my own exploration and see the evidence firsthand.
I highly recommend this book. You will not want to put it down as you follow his examination of China’s Golden Age of exploration and what it means to us.
Disclaimer: I purchased this book with my own funds.
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