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.