Every bookshop in Britain is presenting a book called 1434 by Gavin Menzies as a major history title. Like the Olympic spectacular, Menzies' book celebrates Chinese history. Its subtitle is: "The year a magnificent Chinese fleet sailed to Italy and ignited the Renaissance." But, like the Beijing firework display, it is not quite what it seems.Read more about this counterknowledge at... eh... Counterknowledge
In fact, 1434, published by Rupert Murdoch's HarperCollins, is not a history book in any meaningful sense of the term. That is because, to put it bluntly, a magnificent Chinese fleet did not sail to Italy in 1434 – or, if it did, not a single eyewitness recorded this amazing event. Did the Venetians have their backs to the water when it slipped past?
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