Book Review of
1421 The Year China Discovered America
On March 8, 1421, the largest fleet the world had ever seen set sail from China to “proceed all the way to the ends of the earth to collect tribute from the barbarians beyond the seas.” When the fleet returned home 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 the 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. And they colonized America before the Europeans, transplanting the principal economic crops that have since fed and clothed the world.
1421 The Year China Discovered America is on my top ten favorite books that I have read. I always love to share about this book since it encouraged me to read other nonfiction books.
My neighbor, who is a semi-retired man who likes history, let me borrow his book 1421: The Year China Discovered America, which he had just finished reading. I immediately fell in love with it, which made it the first nonfiction book that I felt torn to put it down as I soaked in every page. Then when I finished it, I had a long discussion with my neighbor about the book.
Having this discussion made me feel more knowledgeable in certain areas than my family because the neighbor and I were discussing something that they did not understand because they had not read the book. This feeling caused me to seek out other interesting nonfiction books to read.
It is a may have happened book, which goes against what I learned in history. And this is part of why I liked it. I just love how Menzies has evidence that supports the idea that the Chinese were in the American hemisphere and sailed around the world before the Europeans did.