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Universally known and admired as a peacemaker, Dag Hammarskjld concealed a remarkable intense inner life which he recorded over several decades in this journal of poems and spiritual meditations, left to be published after his death. A dramatic account of spiritual struggle, <i>Markings</i> has inspired hundreds of thousands of readers since it was first published in 1964.<br /><br /><i>Markings</i> ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 10th 2006 by Vintage
(first published 1963)
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Oct 16, 2011 K.D. Absolutely rated it liked it · review of another edition
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
Beautiful writing and profound thoughts from the late former secretary-general of the United Nations. <br /><br />Excerpts: <br /><br />"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 <i>name</i>. 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.<br />'The poor ye have always with you.' The dead too."<br /><br />"Why is it that when ...more
Dag Hjalmar Agne Carl Hammarskjld 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. <br /> <br />He kept a sheaf of jottings, aphorisms, and reflections, starting aged 20 until he died. After his death, these notes ...more
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
Jul 04, 2011 booklady rated it it was amazing · review of another edition
I love this book! On the surface, it's just a collection of one mans quotes, poetry, reflections, and truths. And yet what makes the book special is who the author was: Dag Hammarskjld, praised by many, including our own President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, who called Hammarskjld 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 speculation ...more
I began thinking about Dag Hammarskjld, 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. This ...more
Jan 07, 2019 Nuri rated it it was amazing · review of another edition
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. Hammarskjld's work is of importance, even today and the one that I thoroughly enjoyed. <br /><br />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 overwork, ...more
Apr 13, 2012 Marisa Bennett rated it it was amazing
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.
When I found this book I had no idea who the author was, making my reading experience of Markings different than some.<br /><br />Markings is a compilation of the scattered journal entries of world leader Dag Hammarskjld in the 1940s - 1960s. Yet, its 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.<br /><br />At times the passages are ...more
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
Feb 12, 2013 Patrick Sprunger rated it liked it · review of another edition
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 Kat rated it it was amazing
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
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 [Hammarskjld'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
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. <br />A Swede, Hammarskjold was a lifelong practicing Lutheran. His spiritual diary was published as "Markings." "Marking," was translated by WH Auden, the poet, with help ...more
Oct 24, 2011 Rebecca rated it it was ok
I had long been aware of this theological work by Hammarskjld, 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 its translated and introduced by W.H. Auden (Faber and Faber, 1964).<br /><br />I did love this line, however: <b>only that can be really yours which is anothers, for only what you have given, be it only in the gratitude of acceptance, is salvaged from</b> ...more
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, from ...more
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, it ...more
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 understood ...more
Worth 5 stars for poems such as:<br /><br />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<br /><br />But a couple problems for me.<br /><br />1. I dont trust a single word of the translation by WH Auden. What ...more
There are very few people in history who are pretty much unimpeachable. Dag Hammarskjld is one of those people. His understanding, perspective, and kindness helped keep peace in the world during the early stages of the Cold War. <br /><br />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 Hammarskjld held, would end up vain and overly confident. By contrast, Hammarskjld was endlessly critical of himself, ...more
Dag Hammarskjld, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations was the son of Hjalmar Hammarskjld, 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.<br /><br />Dag Hammarskjld was one of "the greatest statesman of our century", as president John F. Kennedy best described him.<br /><br />"Let everything ...more
May 26, 2018 Ebba rated it really liked it · review of another edition
This is kind of a classic for activists in Sweden, and I really really enjoyed it. I don't know a lot about Dag Hammarskjld'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 is ...more
Finally finished it! Markings is good, but not for the faint of heart. Every sentence requires deep concentration, and I'm sure there was a lot I missed. <br /><br />No doubt Hammarskjold was a genius and a man of deep faith. His honesty to look straight at his dark side was inspiring. So many morsels of wisdom. The style of mixing prose and poetry was great -<br /> motivates me to try the same thing. However, I doubt the book would be considered a classic if written by a lesser-known person.
An interesting collection of thoughts and poems. Unexpected and at times poignant in their loneliness and stolidness. I mostly browsed and read when I was caught, skipping past the religious themed pieces and focusing on the more existential parts. It was an enjoyable evening with the rain falling against the window.
Sep 21, 2017 Samuel McCann rated it really liked it · review of another edition
I feel that if I didn't identify with his struggle to overcome a feeling of self-importance I would have hated reading this book, but so often I found his attempts to embrace humility so important to my own life and sense of purpose.
Dag Hjalmar Agne Carl Hammarskjld 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. Hammarskjld remains the only U.N. Secretary-General to die in office.<br /><br />U.S. President John F. Kennedy called Hammarskj ...more
“When you have reached the point where you no longer expect a response, you will at last be able to give in such a way that the other is able to receive, and be grateful. When Love has matured and, through a dissolution of the self into light, become a radiance, then shall the Lover be liberated from dependence upon the Beloved, and the Beloved also be made perfect by being liberated from the Lover.”
“You wake from dreams of doom and--for a moment--you know: beyond all the noise and the gestures, the only real thing, love's calm unwavering flame in the half-light of an early dawn.”More quotes…