Book Review: Genghis Khan by R.P. Lister

Genghis Khan is the book by an English writer Richard Percival Lister. In spite of the fact that not much information may be found about this author, his works and his contribution to the world of literature and even to history remain to be quite important.

Author’s Biographic Note

Richard Percival Lister was born23 November 1914 in Nottingham, England (McIntire, 318). From the very beginning, this person demonstrated his abilities in different spheres of art: he perfectly performed the role of a brilliant author, he was a sophisticated poet, and even more, he proved himself as a professional painter. R. P. Lister educated at Manchester University and got his BSc there (Lister, 1979, 1).

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This writer wanted to achieve one goal – to present something that could be really important and even helpful for people. His works had to be kept in mind and used by people of different age and nations. The point is that Lister’s English was really great and clear, this is why his pieces of work could be easily published in the United States of America and in England. Being a true Englishman, Richard Percival Lister makes use of British English while writing his Genghis Khan.

It is also necessary to admit that R. P. Lister contributes considerably such organizations like Punch, Atlantic Monthly, and New Yorker (Watt, 422).

Thesis Statement

Richard Percival Lister has created one of the most captivating pieces of writing, which described the life of one of the most respectable warriors of all the times, Genghis Khan; the author also paid special attention to Khan’s childhood, his relations to parents, and the qualities, which made his a worthwhile figure in the history, and the grounds of this were closely connected to The Secret History of the Mongols, one of a few primary sources about Genghis Khan.

Summary of the Book

In Genghis Khan, Richard Percival Lister makes a wonderful attempt to use the already known information about the life and achievements of Genghis Khan and represent it in more comprehensible for the reader way. Without any doubts, The Secret History of the Mongols is a reliable and captivating primary source, where facts from Genghis Khan’s life were presented.

However, the information of this source is very hard to comprehend for each reader; this is why the book under consideration may turn out to be a good variant for reading for those, who wanted to know more about Genghis Khan’s history.

This book provides the reader with an opportunity to learn deeper the facts about such a ruthless warrior of all the times like Genghis Khan, also known as Temujin. This person created such heritage and left rather a significant legacy that made his name closely connected to such words like destruction, power, and fear. R. P. Lister describes Genghis Khan like a professional ruler, who made use of his past, the past of his parents, and the tribes, he lived in.

R. P. Lister gave a wonderful chance to any reader of his book to take a kind of tour through the life of the terrible and cruel Genghis Khan and comprehend what made Genghis Khan so heartless. The more a person reads, the clearer the picture turns out to be. There were certain reasons in Khan’s life, which made him take cruel and even inhuman actions.

Temujin was the person, who was afraid and, at the same time, respected his mother too much: “When my mother is angered against me, I am terrified. I am ashamed of myself” (Lister, 2000, 192). The point is that this weakness is the only one that may describe Genghis Khan as an ordinary person, who usually has some fear or respect to own parents.

It may seem like the author is afraid himself to writer something weak about Genghis Khan; but, at the same time, the author does not use too many words to describe Genghis Khan’s power. The only words, he likes to use is that Genghis Khan had some unbelievable power that made other people follow and listen to him.

The book is divided into several chapters, which represent the chronology of Genghis Khan’s life and achievements. At the very beginning, brief information about The Country of Mongols is presented. This information helps the reader to get a clear picture of the situation and the conditions under which Genghis Khan was born.

Several chapters are devoted to the significant events in Genghis Khan’s life: his betrothal, captivity, first companions, and allies. In other chapters, the author pays his attention to expeditions and wars headed by Genghis Khan and the steps, which helped a new ruler to conquer people and make them be afraid of him.

At the end of the book, the sections like Chronological Table and Genealogical Tables are given. They help the reader briefly revise the significant dates from Genghis Khan’s life and the facts about his family.

In general, the structure of the book and the style are properly chosen by Richard Lister. He presents not only some historical facts and its outcomes; he creates a story about a person, about fears, about power, and about the desire to conquer the world and made it respect one person, Genghis Khan.

Personal Evaluation of the Story

To my mind, the book by Richard Lister is a perfect chance to everyone to learn deeper the history and the life of Genghis Khan in particular. There were lots of warriors, who were eager to win and conquer, however, only this person made so many people be afraid of him and, at the same time, respect him. By means of references to one of the most famous primary sources about Genghis Khan and the Mongols, The Secret History of the Mongols, Mr. Lister provides reliable historical facts and their impact on our future.

However, if the reader wants to find out a historical manuscript that represents in details the life and influence of Genghis Khan’s actions, he/she may be a bit disappointed, because this piece of writing is a kind of collection of a novel and a historical book. Much attention is paid to description of horses and pastures.

My opinion is that the Mongols focused a lot on the role of women in society and their impact on their present and future, but the author instead of describing women, their appearance, and qualities, which were more significant to the Mongols, stops on horses more than on women. This is why this book is possible to read every day in order just to enjoy author’s skills to describe ordinary life and battles, inherent to the times of Genghis Khan.

It will be interesting for people of different age: for students, to learn deeper the history, and for adults, to enjoy one more perfectly written book. I do recommend this book to other people just in order to get a clear picture of our past and comprehend what it means to live without fears and be respectable by everyone. This book helps to comprehend the essence of power and the outcomes, when this power is difficult to control.

Works Cited

Lister, Richard, P. Genghis Khan. Rowman & Littlefield Inc., 2000.

Lister, Richard, P. The Travels of Herodotus. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1979.

McIntire, Dennis. International Who’s in Poetry and Poets’ Encyclopedia. Cambridge: Melrose Press Ltd., 2001.

Watt, Donald. Aldous Huxley: The Critical Heritage. Boston: Routledge, 1975.

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