Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Who Discovered America? The Untold History of the Peopling of the Americas” as Want to Read:
Who Discovered America? The Untold History of the Peopling of the Americas
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Who Discovered America? The Untold History of the Peopling of the Americas

3.07  ·  Rating Details  ·  228 Ratings  ·  63 Reviews
Greatly expanding on his blockbuster 1421, distinguished historian Gavin Menzies uncovers the complete untold history of how mankind came to the Americas—offering new revelations and a radical rethinking of the accepted historical record in Who Discovered America?

The iconoclastic historian’s magnum opus, Who Discovered America? calls into question our understanding of how
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 8th 2013 by William Morrow
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

Be the first to ask a question about Who Discovered America? The Untold History of the Peopling of the Americas

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 570)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Scott Hamilton
Apr 15, 2014 Scott Hamilton rated it did not like it
The thing that strikes me most about this book is how far out of control Menzies' ego has gotten. Let me give a couple of examples.

At the beginning to the book Menzies claims that he tried to make a crossing of the Bering Sea, to prove whether or not the ancestors of the Native American could have done the same. He fails, and therefore states no one else could. Imagine the hubris, first just to assume that he's personally the yardstick of human accomplishment, and secondly that he didn't bother
David R.
Mar 16, 2014 David R. rated it did not like it
Shelves: world-history
I have read the complete set of Menzies' "Chinese navigators" books and this is by far the most ludicrous of the bunch. The book wobbles through varies "theories" of various peoplings, the most noteworthy being Peru and North Carolina(!) Menzies continues to display a penchant for devising a theory, seeking the data that fit it, making astonishing but unsupported claims, and disregarding perfectly good evidence that contradicts him, making him the 21st Century Erich von Daniken. His North Caroli ...more
Jessica Torres
Oct 17, 2013 Jessica Torres rated it it was amazing
I found this book after a curiosity with DNA research led me to it. I'm also a biologist and after having my own DNA run and discovering a huge percentage of what is called "Asian/Native American Admixture" I had to do more research. I'm Puerto rican and I knew I was part Native American but Asian??? The black/white xtian thing is so dominant here in the US conversation that we just ignore anything that doesn't fit our stupid idea of MURICA. I remember never liking history as a kid. It was blata ...more
Dec 27, 2014 Virginia rated it did not like it
Menzies' first book "1421" offered an interesting premise which I think has promise. His style of writing was a bit unpleasant as he was so eager to make the point that China had visited the Americas pre-Columbian that he verged on missionary fervor. Since it was his first book, I overlooked it. Unfortunately, that fervor became worse: he offered up a LOT of opinions without offering much critical analysis. The fact is he is not an archaeologist, biologist, botanist, or other scientist that can ...more
Jan 22, 2015 Walt rated it it was ok
Shelves: history-other
When Menzies published 1421 he received a lot of attention. His theories threatened to shake up academe. Unlike other revisionists, he packs in a lot of references to beef up his claims. He draws on a variety of fields - biology, anthropology, linguistics, history, oceanography, etc. Consequently, it is nearly impossible to systematically evaluate his claims. This book is presented as an addendum to 1421 and his subsequent books on prehistoric explorers.

I was eager to finally read one of Menzies
Feb 03, 2015 Alison rated it did not like it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
Painful. I love a good historical conspiracy theory, and I'll be the first to admit as a former history major that, sure, sometimes academics get hung up on their favourite established theories and are too reluctant to accept new arguments. Unfortunately Menzies' arguments seem to consist of feelings, hunches, and figments of his imagination.

I stopped reading about a quarter of the way through. I just couldn't take it anymore. I was going to give a few examples of his logic (or lack thereof), bu
Dec 10, 2013 Doug rated it it was ok
I finished this mainly as an object lesson to be more careful in the books I choose. To put it simply, Menzies maintains that the Americas were settled by sea by the Chinese (and as almost an afterthought at the very end, by the Mionians). The sad thing about it is that there are probably some truths hidden in the book, but they are so overshadowed by fuzzy logic that it's hard to take much of it seriously. I find his writing and thought patterns more like Von Daniken's Chariots of the Gods than ...more
Gerald Matzke
Nov 16, 2015 Gerald Matzke rated it liked it
This book presented information that was new to me. This is a genre that I don't generally read but I was fascinated by the title and as a result I enjoyed the book. Parts of it were slow reading especially when the author presented many examples that drew the same conclusion. The evidence was convincing that Columbus was by far not the first person to land in the Americas. He wasn't even close to being the first. DNA evidence can not be dismissed. As the author states in his conclusion, there i ...more
Susan Olesen
Apr 03, 2014 Susan Olesen rated it it was amazing
Holy crow. Ever read a book that makes you feel like you woke up on an alien world, that everything you were ever told about history was wrong?

That's this book.

Even if the author's exact conclusions are off, the evidence that his generalizations are correct is overwhelming, and ignored by mainstream history. There is overwhelming evidence that Asian peoples were routinely coming to the Americas by boat, long before the Europeans - making it as far as Nova Scotia - *which the Europeans acknowled
Jun 01, 2014 Bob rated it really liked it
This is absolutely fascinating. The premise of "Who Discovered America" is that there have been many voyages to the Americas over not only centuries but millennia, by Mediterranean peoples but also, importantly, by the early Chinese, who not only left much evidence of their arrival & interaction with the native inhabitants but through intermarriage left their DNA, which Science can now verify.

This a clear & detailed study of Menzies' position that Admiral Zheng He took his massive fleet(
Donna Herrick
Feb 04, 2015 Donna Herrick rated it liked it
A fascinating tale of decades of research. But, I found the continual carping about the naysayers to be petty and tiresome. If this had been written from the point of view of a journalist, in the style of "Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw", then the criticism of the recalcitrant would be informative about the process of the scientific community.

I was surprised that the notion of a spherical world was more ancient than I had learned in grade school. It would have been interesting to also include
Nivedita Sankar
May 19, 2015 Nivedita Sankar rated it did not like it
My favorite part of this book might have been the first two pages, when Gavin Menzies seemed to be leveraging his strengths and doing an incredible (improbable) amphibious trip across the Bering. The cancellation of his trip, based on the political climate of Russia and poor access to oil and other resources, seems to give Menzies weight enough to claim that a Bering crossing could never have been possible.

There is no science, history, or apparent understanding of evidentiary support. The rest o
May 03, 2014 Clifford rated it did not like it
Really? I can buy into the basic premise, but this author feels like he must discredit other theories of human migration into the Americas in order for his to have primacy. It would be OK if he did so with evidence and reason, but he resorts to anecdotal stories and his own out-of-context experiences to claim other theories are wrong and assert his conjecture as the only way people came to this continent.

I could live with his ego-trip if he worked his evidence and theory in support of present f
Jonathan Reed
May 26, 2015 Jonathan Reed rated it liked it
Intriguing and seemingly well-researched, but has a tendency to either ramble or make jumps in narrative or theme that can be quite jarring and leave you re-reading sections to see what you missed. The author also seems to have a particular bone to pick with a university in Singapore, and repeatedly singles them out for ridicule because of their reactions to his theories. Based on their actions this might be justified enough, but it can come across as though the authors are bitter and hurt that ...more
Jan 04, 2014 Tom rated it liked it
Menzies continues themes covered in his first three books: 1421:The Year China Discovered America; 1434: The Year a Magnificent Chinese Fleet Sailed to Italy and Ignited the Renaissnce; The Lost Empire of Atlantis: History's Greatest Mystery Revealed. This book, described as his swan song, attempts to summarize his arguments to date and add new material. His chief argument is that the Chinese found and populated the Americas long before the Europeans and that, indeed, the native population foun ...more
Jan 11, 2016 Mirrani rated it liked it
Here's the thing about books like this: you either believe what is written in them or you don't. I am not an expert on this subject, so I couldn't tell you whose research is right and whose is wrong and when I chose this book to listen to, I wasn't interested in anything other than hearing someone's theory on the subject. On that count this book hit the mark. It very clearly defined the author's position on the "discovery" of the Americas and what culture or person was the first to visit what ar ...more
Jul 10, 2016 Ddraig rated it liked it
poorly researched, desperately grasping at straws, you want it to be true - and it may well be, but as a work of historical research it's basically crap. Take note of his source material and go and make up your own mind - reminds me of Terrence McKenna - nice ideas, hopeless logic

Certainly worth reading, but not worth basing a worldview on. A good place to begin from.

3 stars for originality and for the general idea that there's more to history than is taught in schools. If this were a student's
Feb 27, 2014 Sally rated it liked it
The author isn't a scholar or specialist, but brings together evidence that contradicts the present academic storyline and so is usually ignored or dismissed out of hand. Always interesting, whether his own interpretations are correct or not, and makes you want to investigate further some of the sources he quotes. There's a great benefit to scholarship in having a popular author talk about evidence that academics otherwise refuse to deal with, because eventually they are forced to explain it cre ...more
Jun 30, 2014 Yasmin rated it really liked it
Well as I just finished this book I will have to mention first the last thing I read that struck me upside the head. Gavin Menzies mentions everyone in a faith thus "Jains, Hindus, Jew, Christians, etc. followers of Islam." Okay what's with that? Are Muslims somehow not followers of Islam? Maybe it's picky, but it did strike me as odd and disjointed from the whole paragraph and sentence in the book. I am also curious by the lack of mention of the Beothuk in Novia Scotia/Newfoundland area, only t ...more
Lisa Llamrei
This is an expansion of Menzies' theory first presented in "1421: The Year China Discovered the World" that the Chinese arrived in North America prior to Columbus. In "Who Discovered America?" he goes further by positing that the Chinese, and Europeans (specifically, the Minoans) made repeated voyages to the Americas for a period of thousands of years and became the Native Americans.

The evidence presented is compelling: DNA, language similarities, the presence of non-indigenous flora and fauna e
Dec 18, 2013 Geoff rated it it was ok
Interesting topic but the text could have done with better editing. It would have been helpful too if there had been more maps/diagrams in the text about where was being discussed. Thankfully there is a reasonable good index.

I bought the book thinking I would send it to a friend in Brazil, who is interested in the populating of the Americas. But when I got to chapter five I realised I would be wasting my money doing that. In chapter five is a paragraph that says:

"(It must also be noted that a gr
Maryclaire Zampogna
Jul 11, 2014 Maryclaire Zampogna rated it it was amazing
Bye, bye Columbus and all the others. This book explains, who, how and why the explores came. The author refers to the DNA which doesn't lie, along with the flora, fauna and customs that are similar to the Chinese. There are similar words used by many countries. This book is real eye opener that I would read again for more knowledge of the people, their culture, and the early buildings including the pyramids. This a great read for any history buff.
Feb 23, 2014 Jenny rated it it was ok
This book was okay. The evidence was understandable, although to be honest, I don't know enough about anything to judge the validity of the DNA evidence or the botanical evidence. I decided to rename a shelf because of this book. I added it to historical BS. Not because I think this book was BS but because it felt like it should have been the basis for a fictional historical research thriller, with daring escapes and treacherous villains and a beautiful/handsome archaeologist, who is also a geni ...more
Madeleine McLaughlin
Mar 29, 2014 Madeleine McLaughlin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
More from Gavin Menzies about the Chinese coming to North America and South America in the past. It makes sense as the whole of Native populations came from Asia. This book focuses on settlements by 'pure' Chinese among Native populations. In fact, there's so much evidence to support him, it makes one wonder why we never knew they were here before. Great read.
Jared Millet
Jan 29, 2016 Jared Millet rated it it was ok
Didn't finish. Interesting premise, but the arguments are undercooked, smell of crackpottery, and it's too easy to look up refutations of Menzies' claims. I'm perfectly willing to buy the idea of pre-Columbian contact with the Americas, but only from someone who doesn't base his research on tourist trips to museums and claims that "scientists and historians" are out to get him.
Angela Kershner
May 30, 2014 Angela Kershner rated it liked it
Some of the authors' claims are rather convincing, others are questionable, still more seem to be complete nonsense. I may believe that the Chinese were a part of the peopling of the Americas, but I don't think they played quite as big a part as Menzies and Hudson make them out to be.
Take this book with a grain of salt, and remember: birds spread seeds too.
Aug 04, 2014 Megan rated it did not like it
Good grief is this an amusing testimony of ego. He tosses out standard, accepted theories in under a sentence. Perhaps, just maybe, he has a point, but he sure isn't taking the standard route of convincing academics that his theory is valid. As a travelogue, this book is fabulous. As a history/science book, it is quite sketchy.
Jeppe Haarsted
Jun 09, 2016 Jeppe Haarsted rated it did not like it
Oh my god this is a spectacularly bad book. Poorly researched, the author comes up with wildly unsubstantied claims about archeology and history. This is then coupled with total dismissal of any criticism as 'obviously wrong' and simply the establishment trying to hold a man down. On top of it all the reader must get through long dull sections describing the author's travels and decriptions of regular tourist sites. There is really no reason for anyone to read this book.
An interesting description of the peopling of the Americas. Some bold assumptions made, and many areas are glossed over. This book probably contains some of the truth of the subject, but there appear to be some serious doubt over some claims.
Roger Taylor
Aug 05, 2015 Roger Taylor rated it liked it
An interesting hypothesis about the discoveries of America which is very different from the standard interpretation that Columbus discovered America. Worth reading but it is difficult to believe the claims that are made about Chinese influence in early America.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 18 19 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Chasing Shackleton: Re-creating the World's Greatest Journey of Survival
  • Falling Upwards: How We Took to the Air
  • Biography of a Germ
  • The Suppressed History of America: the Murder of Meriwether Lewis and the Mysterious Discoveries of the Lewis and Clark Expedition
  • Ghetto Brother: Warrior to Peacemaker
  • The Tragedy of the Templars: The Rise and Fall of the Crusader States
  • Fifty Animals That Changed the Course of History
  • A History of Ancient Egypt: From the First Farmers to the Great Pyramid
  • A Volcano Beneath the Snow: John Brown's War Against Slavery
  • Because They Marched: The People's Campaign for Voting Rights That Changed America
  • История Российского государства. От истоков до монгольского нашествия.
  • Birdmen: The Wright Brothers, Glenn Curtiss, and the Battle to Control the Skies
  • Naming Jack the Ripper
  • Women of the Frontier: 16 Tales of Trailblazing Homesteaders, Entrepreneurs, and Rabble-Rousers
  • America: A Narrative History
  • The Real All Americans: The Team That Changed a Game, a People, a Nation
  • Dinosaurs Without Bones: Dinosaur Lives Revealed by their Trace Fossils
  • Pirates Of Barbary: Corsairs, Conquests and Captivity in the 17th-Century Mediterranean
Former British submarine commander and amateur historian.

Menzies is most known for his book "1421: The Year China Discovered the World" which claims that the Chinese admiral Zheng He discovered America in 1421.

In his follow up book "1434" He claims that the European Renaissance was sparked by the Chinese.
More about Gavin Menzies...

Share This Book