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am 20. Februar 2006
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. These were documented and maintained as part of the ongoing record of Chinese history - why they would be selective to edit out the parts about the Americas, Greenland, and Antarctica becomes a bit speculative.
Likewise, his description of medieval Europe in the generations before and of the great voyages of discovery is also very interesting. He describes some of the political forces driving both exploration and colonisation - again, however, things fall a bit short. Why would the Portuguese, already settled in the Caribbean, agree to a division of the world by the Pope that would cut them out of that territory (particularly when the fact that they had a presence in Brazil was part of why they were permitted in the division to maintain their colonies there)?
Menzie's evidence comes from maps, from archaeological finds, and from literary and documentary pieces. However, one of the pitfalls here is that most every piece of evidence presented is subject to multiple interpretations. Menzie's claims as a navigator and expert in chart-reading do bear up under scrutiny, but this does mean that his interpretations are necessarily correct. There are those who brand his interpretations and conclusions as outlandish - I would opt more for the word 'hopeful' here, in that he does believe that what he has discovered is true on the whole, and this hopefulness leads in a particular hermeneutical direction.
Accoring to one commentator, 'Menzies' hypothesis and his theory accomplishes what many Zheng He scholars and academicians failed to do: that is to create a wide awareness on the subject matter; and forced a critical rethink, including some reevaluations on the extent, the success and the failures of the Ming Imperial Treasure Fleet.' The real benefit of a book such as this one is that it causes conversation and research into history among those who might not otherwise be so inclined. The worrisome part is that it might not be conducted in such as way as to be able to separate fact from fiction.
Menzies does maintain a website dedicated to further researches and refinements in his theory. Thus far, few major academics and historians have signed on as believers of this theory, but there are some - Sir John Elliott, in the Department of Modern History at Oxford is perhaps the most notable.
So, one is left at this - history is not an exact science much of the time, but it isn't a complete fiction or completely subjective dependent upon the whims of those who believe what they will believe, either. It is true that China was more advanced that Europe in many ways at this time, and that the Chinese did command larger fleets than the Europeans at this point in time. However, Menzies' conclusions here are based on interpretation that rests on the shifting sands of myth, legend, and documents with variable ideas of accuracy. Menzies is passionate in his writing, but so far has failed to be convincing. I will strive to maintain an open mind; I will continue to accept the more 'canonical' reading of history that has a stronger pedigree, but will follow the developments of Menzies' theory in the coming decades with interest.
I would give this three-and-one-half stars given the option.
0Kommentar| 5 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 11. Oktober 2015
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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am 20. Februar 2006
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. These were documented and maintained as part of the ongoing record of Chinese history - why they would be selective to edit out the parts about the Americas, Greenland, and Antarctica becomes a bit speculative.
Likewise, his description of medieval Europe in the generations before and of the great voyages of discovery is also very interesting. He describes some of the political forces driving both exploration and colonisation - again, however, things fall a bit short. Why would the Portuguese, already settled in the Caribbean, agree to a division of the world by the Pope that would cut them out of that territory (particularly when the fact that they had a presence in Brazil was part of why they were permitted in the division to maintain their colonies there)?
Menzie's evidence comes from maps, from archaeological finds, and from literary and documentary pieces. However, one of the pitfalls here is that most every piece of evidence presented is subject to multiple interpretations. Menzie's claims as a navigator and expert in chart-reading do bear up under scrutiny, but this does mean that his interpretations are necessarily correct. There are those who brand his interpretations and conclusions as outlandish - I would opt more for the word 'hopeful' here, in that he does believe that what he has discovered is true on the whole, and this hopefulness leads in a particular hermeneutical direction.
Accoring to one commentator, 'Menzies' hypothesis and his theory accomplishes what many Zheng He scholars and academicians failed to do: that is to create a wide awareness on the subject matter; and forced a critical rethink, including some reevaluations on the extent, the success and the failures of the Ming Imperial Treasure Fleet.' The real benefit of a book such as this one is that it causes conversation and research into history among those who might not otherwise be so inclined. The worrisome part is that it might not be conducted in such as way as to be able to separate fact from fiction.
Menzies does maintain a website dedicated to further researches and refinements in his theory. Thus far, few major academics and historians have signed on as believers of this theory, but there are some - Sir John Elliott, in the Department of Modern History at Oxford is perhaps the most notable.
So, one is left at this - history is not an exact science much of the time, but it isn't a complete fiction or completely subjective dependent upon the whims of those who believe what they will believe, either. It is true that China was more advanced that Europe in many ways at this time, and that the Chinese did command larger fleets than the Europeans at this point in time. However, Menzies' conclusions here are based on interpretation that rests on the shifting sands of myth, legend, and documents with variable ideas of accuracy. Menzies is passionate in his writing, but so far has failed to be convincing. I will strive to maintain an open mind; I will continue to accept the more 'canonical' reading of history that has a stronger pedigree, but will follow the developments of Menzies' theory in the coming decades with interest.
I would give this three-and-one-half stars given the option.
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am 4. März 2016
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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am 20. Februar 2006
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. These were documented and maintained as part of the ongoing record of Chinese history - why they would be selective to edit out the parts about the Americas, Greenland, and Antarctica becomes a bit speculative.
Likewise, his description of medieval Europe in the generations before and of the great voyages of discovery is also very interesting. He describes some of the political forces driving both exploration and colonisation - again, however, things fall a bit short. Why would the Portuguese, already settled in the Caribbean, agree to a division of the world by the Pope that would cut them out of that territory (particularly when the fact that they had a presence in Brazil was part of why they were permitted in the division to maintain their colonies there)?
Menzie's evidence comes from maps, from archaeological finds, and from literary and documentary pieces. However, one of the pitfalls here is that most every piece of evidence presented is subject to multiple interpretations. Menzie's claims as a navigator and expert in chart-reading do bear up under scrutiny, but this does mean that his interpretations are necessarily correct. There are those who brand his interpretations and conclusions as outlandish - I would opt more for the word 'hopeful' here, in that he does believe that what he has discovered is true on the whole, and this hopefulness leads in a particular hermeneutical direction.
Accoring to one commentator, 'Menzies' hypothesis and his theory accomplishes what many Zheng He scholars and academicians failed to do: that is to create a wide awareness on the subject matter; and forced a critical rethink, including some reevaluations on the extent, the success and the failures of the Ming Imperial Treasure Fleet.' The real benefit of a book such as this one is that it causes conversation and research into history among those who might not otherwise be so inclined. The worrisome part is that it might not be conducted in such as way as to be able to separate fact from fiction.
Menzies does maintain a website dedicated to further researches and refinements in his theory. Thus far, few major academics and historians have signed on as believers of this theory, but there are some - Sir John Elliott, in the Department of Modern History at Oxford is perhaps the most notable.
So, one is left at this - history is not an exact science much of the time, but it isn't a complete fiction or completely subjective dependent upon the whims of those who believe what they will believe, either. It is true that China was more advanced that Europe in many ways at this time, and that the Chinese did command larger fleets than the Europeans at this point in time. However, Menzies' conclusions here are based on interpretation that rests on the shifting sands of myth, legend, and documents with variable ideas of accuracy. Menzies is passionate in his writing, but so far has failed to be convincing. I will strive to maintain an open mind; I will continue to accept the more 'canonical' reading of history that has a stronger pedigree, but will follow the developments of Menzies' theory in the coming decades with interest.
I would give this three-and-one-half stars given the option.
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am 21. Juni 2004
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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am 9. Mai 2004
I was a bit dissapointed by this book which I had bought with very high expectations. Mr. Menzies gives very little evidence for his thesis of the Chinese traveling round the world in 1421. In addition, he misreads some of the maps, e. g. the Piri Reis map. The Chinese may have been in many places of this world, especially on the western coast of the Americas. But they most likely didn't come there by way of the Maggelan Strait. They may also have been in Australia but by use of the direct way. Australia isn't that far away from China. Unfortunately Mr. Menzies doesn't quite hit the point. (By the way, this book is the American edition of "1421 - The Year China Discovered the World".
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am 4. Dezember 2013
Unbedingt lesens- (hörens-) wert!
Dasselbe gilt für das Folgewerk vom selben Autor : 1434

Interessante Auseinandersetzung mit der Renaissance .
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