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1421: The Year China Discovered America (Englisch) Audio-CD – Audiobook, Dezember 2008

3.6 von 5 Sternen 8 Kundenrezensionen

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Audio-CD, Audiobook, Dezember 2008
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Amazon.de

If you're going to make a stir, you might as well do it in style. And Gavin Menzies has caused one, big time. In 1421: The Year China Discovered the World, this retired Royal Navy submarine commander, who only visited China for the first time on his 25th wedding anniversary, claims that the Chinese navigator Zheng He discovered America some 71 years before Columbus. And not content with this, he goes on to suggest that Zheng He learnt how to calculate longitude several centuries before John Harrison supposedly nailed the problem. Unsurprisingly, this has not gone down too well in some areas and the book has been the target of some scepticism.

Although Menzies has unearthed a few unknown primary sources, the bulk of his thesis depends on amalgamating several disparate areas of research into a grand unified theory. So he combines what we do know--principally that the Chinese built huge sailing ships with nine masts and that Asiatic chickens were discovered in South America--into what he considers compelling evidence. Menzies has also turned up some maps from the pre-Columbus era that appear to show the Americas, along with a few shipwrecks and Ming artefacts from along his supposed route.

It all makes for a gripping read, even if the sum doesn't quite add up to the whole. For all the detail, Menzies is some way off providing proof. None of the supposed 28,000 colonists has left any documentary evidence because all records, boats and shipyards associated with his voyage were burnt by imperial order in 1433. This surely begs the question--if we know so much of Zheng He's voyages around the Indian Ocean, how come we know nothing of his trips further east? Nor, conveniently for Menzies, did any of the colonists return home in triumph. They either died en route or skulked home to obscurity after they were disowned by the emperor.

So you either accept Menzies as an act of faith or brush him aside with scepticism. Either way, you'll have a lot of fun in the process as the book is never less than provocative. And even the sceptics will find themselves hoping Menzies has got it right, because there's something intrinsically uplifting about the notion of an amateur historian getting one over the professionals. --John Crace -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Gebundene Ausgabe.

Pressestimmen

“Menzies’ enthusiasm is infectious and his energy boundless. He has raised important questions and marshaled some fascinating information.” (Toronto Globe and Mail)

“Captivating . . . a historical detective story . . . that adds to our knowledge of the world, past and present.” (Daily News)

“<1421> is likely to be the most fascinating read of 2003.” (UPI)

“No matter what you think of Menzies’s theories, his enthusiasm is infectious.” (Christian Science Monitor)

“What you’ve done, brilliantly, is to raise many questions that people are debating.” (Diane Rehm, The Diane Rehm Show)

“[Menzies] makes history sound like pure fun...a seductive read.” (New York Times Magazine) -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.

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3.6 von 5 Sternen

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Format: Taschenbuch
I am of two minds about this book by Gavin Menzies. I find it absolutely fascinating to read some of the speculations and interpretations that he puts on different maps and findings. I find it credible to believe that Chinese fleets of the early 1400s would be trading in the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean, making regular journeys to places as far as Africa, and perhaps reaching the Pacific Coasts of North and South America a few times.
However, I don't know what to think of such issues as Puerto Rico not only having been discovered by Chinese Fleets, but that based on this information, the Portuguese would have colonised areas in the Caribbean a generation prior to Columbus' journey - there seems no credible reason why Prince Henry the Navigator, being given such acclaim in history as he has been, would not also be credited with discovery of the New World if in fact he and his companions had found a passage across the Atlantic and discovered islands there.
Menzies is a good writer. I enjoyed reading the text very much. His description of the history of imperial China in the generation of the 1421 fleet is very engaging. The description of the politics and culture of China of the early Ming dynasty is good. The building of the Forbidden City, the repair of the Great Wall, and the dredging and expansion of the Great Canal are all projects from this period. It is also well known in historical circles that the period from 1400 to the 1430s was a time of exploration, with Zheng He, a Muslim eunuch in the court of the emperor, in charge of seven different fleets that reached Africa, Japan, and many islands of the South Pacific.
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It seems as though all we learnt in school about the Spanish discovering the Americas is very questionable at the least and highly likely to be proven entirely wrong. The Chinese explored the globe decades before. Very worth while read. Sometimes a little repetitive, but certainly well written.
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Ich habe die Lesung dieses Buches sehr genossen, ich bekam es von meinem Vater geschenkt (dänische Übersetzung). Der Verfasser erklärt mit der chinesischen Expedition einige Ungereimtheiten in der Geschichtsschreibung, die vor Jahren selbst mir aufgefallen waren. Ob es nun die Wahrheit ist oder nicht, kann ich als Laie natürlich nicht beurteilen. Aber nachvollziehbar ist es allemal. Ähnliches ist mir geschehen bei der Lesung von Büchern Thor Heyerdahls. Wahrscheinlich ist ein größerer Teil unserer Geschichte von der Seeseite her beeinflusst worden als bisher bekannt war. Und es ist allemal gut, die Augen offen zu halten und nachdenken. Es kann niemandem schaden, dieses Buch durchgelesen zu haben, auch wenn man nicht mit Bestimmtheit sagen kann, ob alles nun genau so war, wie hier beschrieben.
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When she presented me this book at her visit to China, my friend advised me to read it, not only for politeness for her gift, but because I will definitely like it. I, however, thought it is one more book about things I only know too well about China after working there for nearly twenty years. I even almost smilingly ignored the subtitle: The year China discovered the world. What might it be?
How wrong was I! This book is full of exciting news. Being a former navy officer myself, I admire Menzies for his astuteness, endurance and his unprecedented attempt to integrate different research findings and professional practice into a new, a WHOLE picture. And that is the point where the established scientific grumblers will start criticizing and ridiculing him for being superficial, randomly integrating cross-science findings into a new approach to prove his 'theory' to rewrite human history.
Even ignoring his attempt for the time being, for the long run, nobody can turn a blind eye to his new view on human history, especially with the rise of China as a new powerful player in world affairs. The question Menzies asks himself: Why are oriental scientists aware of all the facts he presents, but why is the Western view on its own history so blind? Self-censorship, arrogance? Or - because of the divine plan that we in the West are - per definitionem - the good guys who present progress that saved and will save the world? The Chinese of the past have at least shown that a different approach to deal with other cultures than with suppression, eradication and exploitation is possible. Is it this, what we should learn from Menzies new approach? In the West and in the East?
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