• by Gavin Menzies
  • Narrated by Simon Vance
  • 9 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The brilliance of the Renaissance laid the foundation of the modern world. Textbooks tell us that it came about as a result of a rediscovery of the ideas and ideals of classical Greece and Rome. But now bestselling historian Gavin Menzies makes the startling argument that in the year 1434, China - then the world's most technologically advanced civilization - provided the spark that set the European Renaissance ablaze. From that date onward, Europeans embraced Chinese ideas, discoveries, and inventions, all of which form the basis of Western civilization today.
The New York Times bestselling author of 1421 combines a long-overdue historical reexamination with the excitement of an investigative adventure, bringing the listener aboard the remarkable Chinese fleet as it sails from China to Cairo and Florence, and then back across the world. Erudite and brilliantly reasoned, 1434 will change the way we see ourselves, our history, and our world.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Fiction pretending to be history

What disappointed you about 1434?

This book was blowing my mind... until I found out it isn't really true.

Or, rather, some of it's true, some of it isn't, which's arguably worse, because then you can't tell the difference. If it were all fiction, that'd be fine, it'd be literature. But sadly, when you look at actual historical scholarship, many of the things Menzies writes about (like the Chinese fleet getting to Venice, the crux of the book) are crank speculations lacking any evidence. It's too bad, because even without that, the parts of the book that are factual would've already been mind-blowing enough, there's no need to turn it into fiction just to make it a few percent sexier.

My advice: go read some credible historical texts about the Chinese treasure fleet. It's mind-blowing enough.

Would you ever listen to anything by Gavin Menzies again?


If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from 1434?

All of the inaccuracies

Any additional comments?

I wish I could get my money back.

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- Chupacabracito

Sounds very convincing until you start checking sources

I have an open mind, so I was initially impressed with what was in this book. Unfortunately, none of what he says is supported by any evidence, and his sources are ridiculous - really scraping the bottom of the barrel and beyond. Don't waste your time.
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- Alex

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-28-2014
  • Publisher: HarperAudio