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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (5,434 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Gavin Menzies Narrator: Simon Vance Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2014 ISBN: 9780062343680
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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 seventy 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.

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Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Saul Dunning | 2/18/2014

    " Wish I could remember who I loaned this too .... Would live to re-read it !!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Graham | 2/13/2014

    " An astonishing mountain's-worth of evidence that the Chinese sailed, not just to America, but all over the world, well before Columbus. It was an exciting book--you could tell the author loved his project. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Craig | 2/8/2014

    " Unbelievably well researched account of the voyages of the Chinese treasure ship fleets in the early Ming dynasty. He proves beyond much doubt that the fleets methodically explored, mapped and landed colonies around the Americas 70 years before Columbus and that Columbus had maps showing, at least, some of the Caribbean islands before he set sail. Later Chinese rulers purposely destroyed almost all the evidence of these voyages 100 years later, which accounts for the erroneous credit given to early European explorers. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Foggygirl | 2/3/2014

    " I thought that this was the most interesting history book that I have ever read. Who knew that the Chinese discovered America! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 James Bosanquet | 2/1/2014

    " Does go on a bit and some of the evidence is a bit spurious, native foxes mating with introduced (chinese) dogs in South America. Some of the evidence of wrecks in Australia seems a bit inconclusive. When he imagines the history and writes of the adventures of Chinese exploration is when it is best. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Briapedia | 1/27/2014

    " Its so hard to rate this book- the first half is a 4 or 5, but the last half is a 2 at best. Very interesting hypothesis- it really convinces you that the Chinese did connect not only with the middle east, but the eastern coast of Africa. It stretches pretty far after that. Of course, I read this book when I'd had a broken jaw with my mouth wired shut and in a lot of pain, so I could have completely misjudged it. Oh, well. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amanda | 1/19/2014

    " An enjoyable history with fascinating info about navigation, sailing, and maps written for the layman. And so much for European hegemony. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Alan | 11/1/2013

    " This book is really dragging. I hope I can get through it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Trisha | 9/23/2013

    " Interesting hypothesis...but no hard evidence. If you think this book sounds interesting, read the Wikipedia article on the subject and save yourself some major time! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Gail | 8/25/2013

    " Interesting at first, then got repetitive "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Erin | 8/22/2013

    " fascinating, a little slow in parts. It could have been shorter and just as good. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mont'ster | 8/21/2013

    " I have not yet (5/18/11) finished this book but what I have read so far has been FASCINATING! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Wood | 8/3/2013

    " Menzies has a pretty convincing circumstantial case here; it makes a lot of sense. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laura | 7/13/2013

    " This book made me question my entire education. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katie Chavez | 1/27/2013

    " Magical history that ensures that with research history is still being told. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dad | 11/18/2012

    " This book will give you much to think about when it comes to exploration. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alan Saltzstein | 7/23/2012

    " Questionable findings expressed here. One must read it with some skepticism "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer Kim | 4/29/2012

    " As an Asian, I love what it implies and I want to give 5 stars, but there's a part of me that's still a skeptic. Other than that I love the research and the what ifs... that come up with this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Neil Davies | 5/30/2011

    " Heavy going in places purely because of the mass of evidence but fascinating and convincing reading. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 A.J. | 5/19/2011

    " A tome of a book 490 pages, with a further 130 in the appendix - but well researched and incredibly detailed. Facts I never heard of. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jacque | 5/17/2011

    " Reading this here and there when I can sneak in a chapter....belongs to my husband and he's reading it too! Rarely do I read nonfiction. This nonfiction is irresistible. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Soli | 5/15/2011

    " I do not buy off on a lot of his assumptions. However, he goes a long way in dispelling the euro centric myth that america was somehow discovered by the brilliance of one man. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Scott | 4/27/2011

    " I found this very interesting and plausible. There is much controversy about his findings, but a good read and provocative. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mont'ster | 4/26/2011

    " I have not yet (5/18/11) finished this book but what I have read so far has been FASCINATING! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeff | 4/17/2011

    " Fascinating theory that a Chinese explorer found the south American continent 70 years before Columbus. Lots of interesting circumstantial evidence, but no confirmation. What if China had not retreated, but instead, had colonized California? "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Lucas | 4/11/2011

    " complete garbage. if i could give 0 stars i would. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 jeff | 3/29/2011

    " Can modern American history actually be this incorrect? Amazing factual information. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rick | 3/8/2011

    " I found Menzie thesis interesting and the book entertaining. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Penny | 3/4/2011

    " It sounded very interesting but I couldn't get past the terrible writing. It's too bad as the book is very well researched. I kept hoping it was just one or two paragraphs of unreadability but nope.... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Neil | 2/13/2011

    " Heavy going in places purely because of the mass of evidence but fascinating and convincing reading. "

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About the Author
Author Gavin Menzies

Gavin Menzies was born in 1937 and lived in China for two years before the Second World War. He joined the Royal Navy in 1953 and served in submarines from 1959 to 1970. In the course of researching 1421, he visited 120 countries, over 900 museums and libraries, and every major sea port of the late Middle Ages. He is married with two daughters and lives in North London.

About the Narrator

Simon Vance (a.k.a. Robert Whitfield) is an award-winning actor and an AudioFile Golden Voice with fifty-eight Earphones Awards. He has won thirteen prestigious Audie Awards and was Booklist’s very first Voice of Choice in 2008. He has narrated more than eight hundred audiobooks over almost thirty years, beginning when he was a radio newsreader for the BBC in London.