3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Interesting but with flaws,
This review is from: 1421 : The Year China Discovered the World (Paperback)
Different - it certainly addresses the euro-centric view of world exploration, but there are some parts I found suspect or disappointing.
The introductory map professes to be of East Asia in 1421, but it describes Persia as being within the modern boundaries of Iran, and gives modern boundaries to China, Mongolia & the Russian Far East? This fails to represent whatever were the true spheres of influence.
Repeatedly Menzies confuses cause & effect. Many of the resultant journeys appear to be based upon the Chinese having prior knowledge of Ocean currents, eg in the Pacific the South Equatorial Current divides, going North to the Philippines and South to Australia. So apparently the fleet deliberately divides itself in 2 - but surely if they did divide, it was accidental, as the hitherto unknown Current flow caught them unawares?
They were swept up the Sacramento River from San Francisco Bay at the mercy of the prevailing winds, but then there is no explanation of how did they ever get back again to the open sea?
He waxes lyrical about the problems of measuring Longitude, but when he draws his own maps, such as those of the Chinese Island bases across the South Pacific, the maps aren't accurate, eg placing Easter Island some 3,000 miles west of its true position.
For a book with such a strong emphasis on geography, spoilt by some sloppy cartography.