Island of Seven Cities: the discovery of a lost Chinese settlement in the Americas
A posting to the H-Asia discussion list members,
At the risk of boring my H-Asia colleagues and being seen to be perhaps as off-the-planet as my bete-noirs, I would like to bring your attention to a real problem which is emerging in the publishing of fiction books masquerading as history.
Those of you who have been following the Menzies 1421 fairytale thread and my ongoing attempts to hold the publishers to account through the respective fair trading and fair description legislation, might be interested to know that the problem runs even deeper than first oberved. That is to say, it is not just the authors and publishers who are major elements in such deception of the public, but also public institutions in their acceptance of the publishers' descriptions of their works.
An excellent example has come to light in the last few days. Random House Canada (which comes under the umbrella of media giant Bertelsmann AG, as do the publishers of the U.K. and U.S. editions of "1421") is planning to publish a book by Paul Chiasson, entitled "Island of Seven Cities: the discovery of a lost Chinese settlement in the Americas." See here for details: Random House
This is a spin-off of the 1421 myth and, having seen the "evidence" offered for the "Chinese settlement" on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, I can affirm that it has even less credence than most of Menzies' claims. That is, this is again fiction masquerading as history.
And the publishers have the audacity to be marketing this work under the twin categories of "History - Canada - Pre-Confederation (To 1867); and History - China". This leaves the publishers open to charges under Section 74.01 of the Canadian Competition Act, whereby
"A person engages in reviewable conduct who, for the purpose of promoting, directly or indirectly, the supply or use of a product or for the purpose of promoting, directly or indirectly, any business interest, by any means whatever,
(a) makes a representation to the public that is false or misleading in a material respect; etc
The travesty does not end there, however. Even before the book is published, the august institution of Library and Archives Canada has already assigned (or accepted) a description of the work (under "History") as follows:
The island of seven cities : the discovery of a lost Chinese settlement in the Americas / Paul Chiasson. -- Toronto : Random House Canada, 2006.
ISBN 0-679-31455-5 : $34.95
1. Cape Breton Island (N.S.)--Discovery and exploration--Chinese 2. Chinese--Nova Scotia--Cape Breton Island--Antiquities 3. Cape Breton Island (N.S.)--Antiquities
This LAC listing can be found here: