07 February 2008

Chapter 2 - Disaster!!

Heh.. Ok folks. I'm starting to feel like a blabermouth on here. Feel free to add posts in between my huge long ones.. *hint hint nudge nudge* (Anyway, with that disclaimer aside, I'll go on and say my bit about the next chapter)

Oh my goodness! The turn around of fortune from the previous chapter was so drastic! Gavin Menzies is a very compelling author. He is very gifted in putting a spin on a story. Not to say that I think it's all untrue, or impossible, but he does seem to have a lot of flourish and detail and an impressively fleshed out story for something that had all documentation destroyed.

All that aside though, one can't help but feel great sympathy for Zhu Di and his complete downfall before the end of his reign as emperor. By the end, all his dreams had been squashed and destroyed. I'm sure it's very American of me to look at it ( and so not Confucian) and think that it was so admirable that Zhu Di achieved so much greatness and that it be so tragic that his successors would turn it around so completely after his death. However, I'm sure Zhu Gaozhi and Zhu Zhanji felt they were doing what was best for China; all of Zhu Di's extravagance almost bankrupted the country and was so heavy with human life. Still, I think it's a sad sad tale.

I think I feel the most sympathy for the poor sailors who went on that two year voyage and came back to a completely changed country. I'm sure they were so excited to return with all their successes, and then to be shunned for being part of Zhu Di's extravagance is so very tragic.

Though, in it all, my question is: If all the records were so meticulously destroyed after the voyagers returned, how did Columbus get those maps, or the Venetian cartographer Zuane Pizzigano?

Hehe... hopefully Mr. Menzies will address that eventually.


Ritsumei said...

So, I've been trying to get to this 1421 book, but I've also been trying to finish up the fleece jacket that I promised Andy at Christmas, and also I have been baking up a storm (very tasty) and also weaning my Boy, which means that I haven't been getting much computer time. Since we've done some much nursing here at the computer, he thinks he should be able to nurse here now, and so the simplest solution is to just not be on the computer. Except that I miss being on the computer! So, now that you have my excuses, here are my comments:

Mr. Menzies does indeed paint with a broad brush in the 1st 2 chapters! I wondered some of the same things as I went through, but after reading the whole book, I'm heading back through for the 2nd time & I'd have to say that his evidence is pretty compelling. It even includes some quotes from Columbus's diary that make no sense at all... unless he had maps & knew what he was doing ahead of time. Actually, it's a bit entertaining, Mr. Menzies paints Columbus & his brother as a couple of criminals. But the stuff that he's got to say about Portugal's Henry the Navigator... I wondered how come I never heard of him before!

Ritsumei said...

Errrr.... I don't think that you have the corner on the market in "huge long posts" here. I just added 2 of my own, so you should be feeling right at home. I'd keep going, but somehow it's suddenly well past midnight, and the Boy has been waking up rather early lately. Oops. I see a nap in my future!

So, I made some posts. You gonna make some comments?