Firstly, the author should be commended for even attempting to condense such a vast and complex subject as the history of China into a single volume. On the whole, it is an accessible account which will give an introductory understanding of many parts of China's history.
However, the book gives the impression that the supporting research was done in a great hurry, and contains errors, inconsistincies, and a number of sensational conclusions, some of which are not supported by sufficient evidence. It was therefore little wonder to me when I learned that the author is, in fact, a journalist and not a historian. It seems as though the author has attempted to make some attention-grabbing statements in a clumsy attempt to turn Chinese history on its head.
I will give just three examples of the kind of sloppiness that I have referred to. 1) One theory, which is entirely undeveloped apart from a small amount of hypothesising on the part of the author, is that the Great Wall did not prevent northern tribes from entering China and was never designed for this purpose. In stating this, the author appears unaware of the extraordinary career and accomplishments of Qi Jiguang, perhaps China's greatest military leader of the Ming (or any other) period. He built, and successfully defended the Great Wall against all comers. Although it was never intended to be an entirely defensive structure, and although no one other than Qi Jiguang was able to defend China's northern frontier as he did, this hardly validates the author's sensational theory 2) the portrayal of Jiang Jieshi (Chiang Kai-Shek) as a collaborator in the Long March of the CCP ignores the fact that he hated the CCP, wanted it to be eradicated from the face of the Earth, and had expended an enormous amount of political and military effort in attempting to defeat them. For Jiang to sit back and watch the Long March, while "shepherding" the CCP to its new northern base under duress from the Soviet Union, runs counter to everything that we know about Jiang's struggle with the CCP 3) the author states that Jesuit missionaries in China attempted a top-down conversion of the Chinese empire to Christianity, which is a misconception of the kind that you would expect from someone who only reads headlines - while the Jesuit missionaries spent substantial efforts attempting to win imperial recognition and support, the vast majority of their work was focussed on the Chinese countryside.
I readily admit that I am no expert on any period of Chinese history. However, the fact that even someone in my position can easily see some of the flaws in the author's arguments only shows how circumspect the reader needs to be in approaching this book. I would guess that someone who really is an expert on Chinese history would find many more flaws.
This book is useful as a basic outline of Chinese history, but is flawed in at least some, probably many, of its details, and needs to be supplemented with other sources to gain a more balanced and informed view of the topics covered.