Before the legendary explorations of Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama, and Ferdinand Magellan, Admiral Zheng He sailed from Ming-dynasty China, and in 28 years, made seven voyages visiting 30 countries. With his fleet of hundreds of junks, he traveled from Southeast Asia to Africa, from India to the Middle East, gathering riches, scientific knowledge, fame, and power for his emperor. He came close to conquering the world, until the Ming Dynasty's power shriveled and the explorer's accomplishments were all but forgotten. More than six centuries after his first voyage, acclaimed photographer Michael Yamashita restores the deeds of the "Forgotten Admiral" to their rightful place in history. In this compelling tribute to Zheng He, Yamashita traces each of his journeys and pays homage to the impressive achievements of this explorer whose feats equal or surpass those of other better-known explorers. In a meticulous visual recreation that has become his signature style, Yamashita presents the details of each voyage, chronicling the interactions and commercial exchanges, and documenting, through his exceptional photographs, the diverse locales Zheng He discovered in nearly three decades of intense exploration.
Michael Yamashita has combined his two passions—photography and travel—as a regular contributor to National Geographic since 1979. He has received numerous awards, including the National Press Photographers Association Pictures of the Year Competition, and an award from the New York Art Director's Club. He is the author of Marco Polo (White Star, 2005). Gianni Guadalupi has worked for many years compiling anthologies on literature pertaining to travel. He has written numerous books on the culture of travel for White Star.