Monday, February 2, 2009

1434: A Chinese Fleet visits Italy and influences the Renaissance

A couple of years ago, I read Gavin Menzies' book 1421: The Year China Discovered America and was surprised about the influence that Chinese mapping and navigational technology had on European exploration. See the book's website for more detail (and shameless promotion). Note that the title has changed to "The Year that China Discovered the World"

This past weekend, I finished his followup book 1434: The Year a Magnificent Chinese Fleet Sailed to Italy and Ignited the Renaissance. Its website is at this link.

Both books, whether Menzies' speculative conclusions prove correct or not, illustrate that our Euro-centric attitudes about history must give way to acceptance that there are more possible sources of our business, science and culture. Both books will challenge conventional wisdom about history.

China has been for the West, a mystery. Our experience with Chinese medicine has been enlightening as we have come to understand how a three thousand year tradition of health and healing has much to say to us. Read these books. They will both be eye openers.

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