|Seven voyages : how China's treasure fleet conquered the sea|
Author: Bergreen, Laurence
The extraordinary true story of the seven epic voyages of Zheng He, who sailed the oceans from Asia to Africa 150 years before the age of Magellan in a fleet of 1,500 wooden ships.
|Added Entry - Personal Name:||Fray, Sara|
Kirkus Reviews (12/01/20)
School Library Journal (07/01/21)
Booklist (+) (12/01/20)
The Hornbook (00/05/21)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 12/01/2020 *Starred Review* Children raised on Columbus’ derring-do will be surprised to learn that, a century before he arrived in this country, the Chinese armada had ships four times bigger than European colonists’ vessels. Bergreen and Fray (Over the Edge of the World, 2009) detail the life of Zheng He, a seven-foot-tall man whose destiny became intertwined with China’s when he was captured and transformed into a royal eunuch (the procedure is matter-of-factly described). The rest of Zheng’s life was devoted to making Emperor Zhu Di a fearsome leader, with Zheng helming a huge fleet—its needs stretched the emperor’s vast resources to breaking point—that braved seven voyages to import riches and conquer surrounding lands. The research for this book must have been as formidable as the voyages, with the authors covering everything from Chinese daily life in the 1400s to shipbuilding and regional politics. It’s never overwhelming, though, since as well as being fascinating on their own, these facts contextualize the swashbuckling drama. Independent readers interested in history or the military are the natural audience for this, but it would also be useful for a broad range of topics, from those on worldwide food and clothing to studies of the built environment. - Copyright 2020 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 07/01/2021 Gr 5–8—Chinese history is often glossed over in world history curriculums, so this work is one that will interest real history buffs. Geared to sophisticated middle and high school readers, Bergreen and Fray's work opens with a vivid and exciting narration, grabbing readers as if embarking on an adventure novel, instead of a history book. The text quickly sinks into a litany of facts as the authors describe Zhu Di's climb to power as the Yongle Emperor during the Ming dynasty. The narration ebbs and flows, tedious at times, exciting at others as it delves into the various voyages of Zheng He and how his expansion of trade brought much power to the Chinese empire. The title is sparsely illustrated; the lack makes this a text-heavy title, which may disappoint young readers drawn to photos and illustrations. VERDICT This isn't a title for reluctant readers, but libraries looking to expand their coverage of Chinese history would do well to add this book to their collection.—Esther Keller, I.S. 278, Brooklyn - Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.