Sell, Sell, Sell

"The more negative the reviews, the more the book sells!”

Written by Steve of BejingLives blog
Thursday, 23 March 2006

Gavin Menzies, author of 1421: The Year China Discovered the World appeared along with Liu Gang and Dr. Gunnar Thompson at a March 23 press conference on the "1418 Map." I had the opportunity to ask him a number of questions regarding the map:

BeijingLives: What are your thoughts on the reaction that the map has received?

Menzies: It has been unbelievable! There have been over 400 press reports since the unveiling of the map. In two seperate online surveys over 230,000 voted on the maps authenticity, and 58% voted it was in fact a genuine map.

BeijingLives: But among the reactions have been a number of very harsh critics, any reaction to them?

Menzies: Most of the Chinese quote-unquote scholars have not even truly examined the map. Their criticisms are superficial and uninformed. These critics are being answered by tonights presentation and evidence. You can also look on for more answers to the critics.

BeijingLives: If indeed authentic, how does the discovery of this "1418 Map" effect the central thesis of your book 1421?

Menzies: In my book, I vastly underestimated the extent of early Chinese voyages. It now seems that much of Chinese exploration had occurred during the reign of Kubla Khan. (During his presentation, Menzies stated further that has book had "made serious mistakes" on this issue.)

BeijingLives: Have you had a chance to reformulate your timeline of Chinese exploration given your new discoveries?

Menzies: No, not yet. But I hope to in the near future.

BeijingLives: What period of time would you now give for the first Chinese exploration of North America?

Menzies: Somewhere between 1270-1300

BeijingLives: Given your latest views on the actual timeline, will you make any effort to change the name of your book "1421: The Year China Discovered the World" in subsequent editions?

Menzies: Well, the word "discovery" can have many different meanings in the English Language.

BeijingLives: So you believe the title "1421: The Year China Discovered the World" is still acccurate despite your new view that the first Chinese exploration had already occurred by 1300?

Menzies: Any changes on the title will be determined by the books publisher...based largely on what name will sell best. (I also overheard Menzies say gleefully that, "The more negative the reviews, the more the book sells!")

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