China: A 5,000-Year Odyssey is written by Tan Chung who grew-up in China and both taught about, and conducted a research on, Chinese civilization for over half a century in India and the US.
The book credits the two great rivers, the Yangtze and Huanghe, for marking the contours of China on our globe, creating a Common Geographical Entity. Eventually, residents of the two river valleys developed a Common Civilization Entity within these contours. China emerged approximately 4,000 years ago, when a Common Political Entity was formed within this Common Civilization Entity.
Over a period of 1,500 years into the 14th century, China became a unique Common Entity of Destiny and a highly-developed civilization state. Sadly, 100,000 Chinese military and civilians jumped, along with the Song Emperor, into the sea, thus cutting short a merrymaking pacifist civilization. Mongol Yuan and Manchu Qing conquered China and infused the nation state element with the persevering native civilization ethos.
Beginning in the 19th century, China succumbed to the challenge from the sea: However, now China has resurrected like a phoenix from the ashes to continue on its 5,000-year odyssey along the civilization highway. While so many books on China have provided inaccurate depictions, pulling the wool over the eyes of readers, at long last we have a refreshing, holistic, true picture of China, which will endear it to all of us.