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4.17  ·  Rating details ·  1,312 ratings  ·  112 reviews
Dag Hammarskjold left behind the manuscript of this book to be published after his death. It is a remarkable record of the spiritual life of a man whose public image was universally known and admired -- a record that reveals the extent of his commitment to the Way of the Cross.

Hammarskjold himself described the manuscript as a "sort of white book concerning my negotiations
Hardcover, 222 pages
Published September 12th 1964 by Alfred A. Knopf (first published 1963)
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Average rating 4.17  · 
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K.D. Absolutely
For the last couple of months, this small book was what I brought with me to the church when I attended the Sunday masses. My daughter volunteered to man the overhead projector on the 8:30am slot and she had to be there before 8am and stayed for another 30 mins afterwards to shutdown and go out without showing herself to the people as she descended the stairs in front of the altar. So, I read this book only during Sundays for two months and it was quite fitting because the book is a compilation ...more
Sep 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autobiography
Beautiful writing and profound thoughts from the late former secretary-general of the United Nations.


"Why this desire in all of us that,after we have disappeared, the thoughts of the living shall now and again dwell upon our name? Our name. Anonymous immortality we cannot escape. The consequences of our lives and actions can no more be erased than they can be identified and duly "labelled- to our honour or our shame.
'The poor ye have always with you.' The dead too."

"Why is it that whe
Apr 03, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: default
Dag Hjalmar Agne Carl Hammarskjöld was the second Secretary-General of the United Nations. He served from 1953 until his untimely death in a plane crash en route to negotiaions in 1961. He was the youngest person to have served in this post and one of only four people to have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize posthumously. He appears to have been a popular and respected diplomat.

He kept a sheaf of jottings, aphorisms, and reflections, starting aged 20 until he died. After his death, these not
May 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: god, biography
It is impossible to summarise a book which spans the entirety of a person's life, but perhaps it is possible to discern the themes or issues that this person obsessed over, at least at a personal level. Other people's diaries make for strange reading experience: you are unsure whether you are merely seeing your own obsessions dressed in other people's words, or whether you are really reading them aright. Many things -- a lot of the haikus written in the 2 years before his death, for example -- I ...more
I began thinking about Dag Hammarskjöld, for no apparent reason, and ordered this book from the library. Then it came, and I discovered it was translated by WH Auden! Now I had an actual reason to read it -- plus I had learned online, that it was a "spiritual autobiography." It's a strange book, published in English in 1964, and apparently forgotten completely. Though it's just as good as Thich Nhat Hanh. (I'm just guessing -- I went for a walk once with Mr. Hanh, but he didn't say anything. Thi ...more
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bildungsroman
It is hard for me to think of a fair rating for a book which is about the spiritual reflections of a person - since it is a deeply personal journey, and extremely tormenting for even a seeker to understand at times. Hammarskjöld's work is of importance, even today and the one that I thoroughly enjoyed.

It is clear that he could never break free from the clutches of his identity. He was a great economist and a man of influential position in the United Nations, and had to endure the challenges of
I love this book! On the surface, it's just a collection of one man’s quotes, poetry, reflections, and truths. And yet what makes the book special is who the author was: Dag Hammarskjöld, praised by many, including our own President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, who called Hammarskjöld “the greatest statesman of our century”. He was UN Secretary-General from 1953 until his death in 1961. He is the only person to have been awarded a posthumous Nobel Peace Prize; there has been persistent ...more
Marisa Bennett
A highly respected politico here in the U.S., Dag was a brilliant thinker. Do yourself a favor. Pick up this book. Read through it bit by bit. That is how it is meant to be read. I will NEVER give away my copy.
I had long been aware of this theological work by Hammarskjöld, a 1950s U.N. Secretary General. In the end I floundered through nearly a third of his dense collection of religious epigrams, but found it all a bit too abstract. Which is a shame, especially because it’s translated and introduced by W.H. Auden (Faber and Faber, 1964).

I did love this line, however: “only that can be really yours which is another’s, for only what you have given, be it only in the gratitude of acceptance, is salvaged
Jul 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read slowly, over years, as the author wrote it... that was wise. I think!
Out of the Bex
May 23, 2019 rated it liked it
When I found this book I had no idea who the author was, making my reading experience of Markings different than some.

Markings is a compilation of the scattered journal entries of world leader Dag Hammarskjöld in the 1940s - 1960s. Yet, it’s not like most diaries. There are no long passages of daily records. Nor are there summations of any events Rather, Markings contains the occasional thoughts of a religious man seeking to live righteously among the pressures of his world.

At times the passages
Mattie Stenbäck
I wasn’t ready for it to end where it did and neither was he. God bless his soul.
Stephen Koehler
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dag Hammarskjold was the Secretary-General of the United Nations, killed in a plane crash in Africa on a peace mission in the Congo. Hammarskjold was a quiet, introspective personality. His seminal work probably was his diary, published after his death. "Markings" is a journey into the mind of a a man who faced the problems of the world, confronted them and seized the moment. It is a journey of philosophy, feeling and introspection. His private moments and poetry are caught in the best a leader ...more
Patrick Sprunger
It would be egomania to say that I feel a lot like Dag Hammarskjold. The scale of personal responsibility I have for the people of my county is a mere grain before the burden Hammarskjold bore for the world. Nevertheless, it's a responsibility I try to own with humility and the right attitude - an attitude based on the belief that every person of means (be they physical, emotional, or mental) has an obligation to take the hardest job and carry the greatest load they can - because there might not ...more
Feb 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kat by: my grandfather
I chose this book as part of my own personal quest to understand the spiritual self. My grandfather recommended it along with Martin Buber and Viktor Frankl as authors worth considering. I have never regretted buying this book with hard-earned money as I continue to open it up and delve into a very personal account of Hammarskjold's struggles for that common ground of spiritual peace. This book was never meant for publication, but a letter was found with it giving permission for its publication ...more
Nuzhat Shaikh
"The life of simplicity is simple, but it opens to us a book in which we never get beyond the first syllable.” ...more
Charles Rouse
Sep 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm old enough that I grew up with Dag Hammarskjold in the news on about a weekly basis. He was the second Secretary General of the United Nations at a time that people paid a lot more attention to the United Nations than they do now. He was a genuine figure, sincere, genuinely concerned with world peace, and with humanity in general.
A Swede, Hammarskjold was a lifelong practicing Lutheran. His spiritual diary was published as "Markings." "Marking," was translated by WH Auden, the poet, with he
David Bjorlin
Parts of the book are 5 star brilliant, and parts are 1 star melodramatic. I left resonating most strongly with what Auden said in the introduction: "It is possible that [Hammarskjöld's] lack of participation in the liturgical and sacramental life of a church was a deliberate act of self-sacrifice on his part, that, as Secretary General, he felt any public commitment to a particular body would label him as too 'Western,' but he gives no evidence in his diary of desiring such a commitment. In any ...more
Christopher Pokorny
Jun 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book because it is precisely what I have strove to do since seminary: Capture thoughts and ideas that strike me as profound. This text, Markings, served as a diary or commonplace book of sorts for Dag Hammerskjold. Dag captures his thoughts on God, death, life and philosophy. There are quotes from others, haiku’s and his own reflections. A solid collection from a solid statesman, and helpful to spice up your own reading journey. One to keep on the shelf for sure.
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
More books should be written by the U.N. Secretary-General, translated, and reinflected by W. H. Auden. What a great idea.
Jul 19, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: holy-moly
What a really contemplative, thought-provoking and revealing read, in small portions, so that you have time to ponder over and digest all that is packed into each poem or short reflection. It is amazing that Dag Hammarskjold had such a richly introspective life, so full of humility and careful self-examination, despite being the UN Secretary-General. His writing to himself/about himself is inspiringly honest, and the sequential nature of his entries shows his growth personally and spiritually, f ...more
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really want to be able to like this more. After all, the cover's claim that Markings is an "enduring spiritual classic" gave me higher hopes. Unfortunately, I was unable to really warm up to it, aside from a handful of nuggets of insight. Perhaps it is generational, but more likely a lack of context on my part. For most of the work, I sensed I was reading something that was never really meant to be read by anyone other than the author, or perhaps only those most closest to him. Very clearly, i ...more
Zane Akers
Jun 23, 2019 rated it liked it
This book of Hammarskjold's reflections, mystical insights, and poems reveals him to have been, in some ways, a deeply divided individual. His rapturous prose and poems about nature crystallize moments in time in radiant words, speaking of a man of deep sensitivity. However his rather strange thoughts on emotional intimacy, together with expressions of extreme loneliness and isolation, make me wonder why he chose to embrace the path of service to humanity. The author doesn't seem to have underst ...more
Gareth Williams
Worth 5 stars for poems such as:

“He stood erect- as a peg top does so long as the whip keeps lashing it. He was modest – thanks to a robust conviction of his own superiority. He was unambitious – all he wanted was a life free from cares, and he took more pleasure in failures of others than in his own successes. He saved his life by never risking it – and complained that he was misunderstood.” -Dag Hammarskjold

But a couple problems for me.

1. I don’t trust a single word of the translation by WH Au
Feb 10, 2021 rated it liked it
This book is hard to write about really. It is the meandering thoughts in journal like format over multiple decades of the former UN Secretary General who died in a plan crash. The last entry is dated less than a month before he died. It is quick musing, quotes (mainly from the bible or religious teachers) and in the last few years poetry. It is an interesting mix and a good book to have when going to bed, not because it is boring and it will put you to sleep, but because it is something you can ...more
Dylan Cook
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are very few people in history who are pretty much unimpeachable. Dag Hammarskjöld is one of those people. His understanding, perspective, and kindness helped keep peace in the world during the early stages of the Cold War.

With that being said, it's pretty heartbreaking to see him expose himself through his writings. Most people, when thrust into the positions of power that Hammarskjöld held, would end up vain and overly confident. By contrast, Hammarskjöld was endlessly critical of himse
Cosmin Stroe
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dag Hammarskjöld, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations was the son of Hjalmar Hammarskjöld, former Prime Minister of Sweden and Governor of Uppland region. Similar with Michel de Montaigne - also his father was a political figure - the Mayor of Bordeaux in France. Both of them were very educated men, open-minded and it is a real joy to read their writings.

Dag Hammarskjöld was one of "the greatest statesman of our century", as president John F. Kennedy best described him.

"Let everyt
Dag Hammarskjöld was a Swedish economist and diplomat who served as the second Secretary-General of the United Nations. His only book though, a collection of his diary reflections, is not about economics or politics, but rather is a spiritual memoir.
You may have heard one of the most famous quotes from this book: "Never, 'for the sake of peace and quiet,' deny your own experience or convictions." Many of the entries are like this - succinct reflections on how to live your life. There's also a tr
Matthew Pullar
May 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This is kind of a classic for activists in Sweden, and I really really enjoyed it. I don't know a lot about Dag Hammarskjöld's life apart from some basic facts, but it was so fascination to read some of his thoughts and ideas. This book is mostly about how we should act towards other people, but it also has some poetry, and reflections on life and God. I'm not Christian myself, but I really felt like this book taught me some valuable lessons and gave me new perspectives. If you're a person who i ...more
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Dag Hjalmar Agne Carl Hammarskjöld was a Swedish diplomat and author and was the second Secretary-General of the United Nations. He served from April 1953 until his death in a plane crash in September 1961. He is the only person to have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize posthumously. Hammarskjöld remains the only U.N. Secretary-General to die in office.

U.S. President John F. Kennedy called Hammar

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