A gripping account of the seafaring adventures of the Mongol Empire under Khubilai Khan.
In 1279, off China's southeast coast, Khubilai Khan routed the Song navy and completed the grand dream of his grandfather, Genghis Khan -- the conquest of China. The Grand Khan now ruled the largest empire the world had ever seen, stretching from the China Sea to the plains of Hungary. Having also inadvertently inherited the world's largest navy -- more than seven hundred ships -- the Mongols began audacious attacks on Japan, Vietnam and Java. Yet within fifteen years, Khubilai had squandered his massive fleet, and the Mongols were a spent maritime force.
Considered for centuries to be little more than legend, the story of the Mongols' fleet has finally been confirmed. Renowned archaeologist and historian James P. Delgado has dived with the Japanese team studying the remains of the Khan's lost fleet at Takashima. Using original sources as diverse as actual sunken ships, land excavations, temple inscriptions, hand-painted scrolls and historical and literary records from China, Japan and Vietnam, Delgado takes the reader on an exciting history of Khubilai Khan's great Mongol navy, whose rise and fall presaged the great fleets of the fifteenth-century Ming Dynasty, made famous in the best-seller 1421.close this panel
"James Delgado is one of the world's preeminent marine archeologists; he's also a terrific writer, and Khubilai Khan's Lost Fleet is a fascinating adventure tale packed with insights into a maritime empire about which most Westerners know almost nothing."
"James Delgado does a splendid job as a cultural historian in showing how the legend of a brave but doomed defence, supported by the intervention of the gods, shaped national identity over seven centuries."
"Dismissed as legend for centuries, the story of the lost Mongol fleet has finally been confirmed. Author James Delgado, president of the Institute of Nautical Archeology, takes you on his dives to the wrecked ships buried in centuries of mud. He investigates the nature of the Mongol's catastrophe and the Japanese victory, and how these events shaped the history of Japan."
"[Delgado] is an entertaining storyteller, and in this new book he regales us with the tale of the fleet that Khubilai Khan sent to invade Japan. It's a book about hubris, a divine wind, and a terrible defeat, and it's packed with fascinating details."
"Dredging not only the sea but also historical records, Delgado tells us something new -- some of it speculative but most of it richly authentic -- about a great nautical adventure."