When China Ruled the Seas Review

When China Ruled the Seas
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When China Ruled the Seas ReviewThis is an entertaining look at the voyages of Zheng Ho, a eunuch in the service of the Ming Emperor of China, in the fifteenth century C.E. China's navy was then the most powerful in the world, and Levathes helps us recognize this with some skillfully drawn comparisons between Zheng Ho's treasure ships (the largest wooden vessels ever built) and the puny Santa Maria. China was unquestionably the most advanced civilization in the world during Zheng Ho's time, and had the voyages been allowed to continue, resulting in permanent Chinese influence on and control of the Indian Ocean, Africa, and possibly America and Europe, our world today would be very different indeed. Levathes does a good job of explaining why Ming China decided to stop the voyages and its international trade, and points out that while Westerners tend to see this as a failure, to the Chinese at the time it seemed a success. This is probably the most valuable insight of the book, the illustration of a very wide gap between the psychological makeup of East and West.When China Ruled the Seas Overview

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