Ireney Berezniak's Reviews > The Island of Seven Cities: Where the Chinese Settled When They Discovered America

The Island of Seven Cities by Paul Chiasson
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's review
Mar 30, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: pseudo-history, non-fiction, history, china

I had purchased this title having spotted it at a local bookstore, intrigued as I was by Gavin Menzies' theory that the Chinese had circumvented and mapped the globe as early as the 1420s ... long before Magellan's documented voyage of 1519-1521. Paul Chiasson, the author of this particular pseudo-scientific title, claimed that he had discovered remnants of ancient Chinese settlements on Cape Breton, the place of his birth.

The book is certainly enthusiastically written, rather entertaining, and, crucially, quite convincing. However, the science and evidence fall flat under scrutiny. The ancient walls, crumpled ruins, and roads "discovered" by Chiasson, were later revealed by archeologists and folks familiar with the area to be an assortment of natural rock formations, and various remnants of human construction dating back to late 1800s, and as early as late 1980s ... a little bit of time with a search engine reveals scores of articles debunking this theory.

Whether Chiasson seriously contemplated this outlandish theory, or fabricated it to garner some attention for whatever reason, I do not know. Perhaps it is a story of fiction, wrapped in the pretense of science for the benefit of publicity generated by controversy. Regardless, this work cheats the reader into believing a lie. As such, I cannot rate it highly ... the 2 stars are both a reward for the entertainment and bits of historical facts, and a penalty for the blatant lie.

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