Markings Info

Browse best sellers, historical fiction, literary fiction and find out our top picks in Literature & Fiction. Check out our top reviews in Literature & Fiction books and see what other readers have to say about Markings Read&Download Markings by Dag Hammarskjold,Leif Sjoberg Online


Average Ratings and Reviews
review-bg

4.29

1361 Ratings

5

4

3

2

1


Ratings and Reviews From Market


client-img 4.4
95
16
9
7
7
client-img 4.18
517
543
122
3
0

Reviews for Markings:

3

Oct 16, 2011

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 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 of writings, like a personal diary, of Dag Hammarskjold (1905-1961), who was a Swedish diplomat, economist and author. He was also the 2nd Secretary-General to the United Nations, served from April 1953 until his death in a mysterious plane crash in September 1961. He was also one of the four people awarded posthumously with the Nobel Peace Prize.

This was his only book.

Varmarken (Markings) is a collection of diary reflections by Hammarskjold and these loose writings were found near his deathbed. My English edition of the book was translated from Swedish and has a foreword by W. H. Auden. It caught my fancy when I was digging through the stacks of second-hand mass paperback because it appeared old and the blurbs at the back said: "A Book of Meditations. A Revealing Spiritual Self-Portrait by One of the Great Peacemakers of Our Times." Prior to reading this book, I did not know anything about Hammarskjold. Maybe because he was a Swedish. Maybe because he died prior to the year I was born. But those words in the blurb properly captured the essence of this wonderful inspirational collection.

But this book made me know him. Even his innermost thoughts. And I liked what I read. There are many thought-provoking quotes, in prose and in poetry forms. He was a statesman but not your usual corrupt or manipulative politician. He was a rich kid (his father was a Prime Minister of Sweden in 1914-1917) but, based on his writings, he was down-to-earth and had a compassionate heart for financially-marginalized people. He was a Swedish (First World, rich country) but he thought of victims of wars, atrocities, famine and pestilence in Third World countries. Days prior to his plane crash in September 1961, he even wrote some very moving poems and they are printed on this book's last few pages.

After reading the book, I have many pages dogeared. I am flipping randomly now just to share with you some:p.3 "Never measure the height of a mountain, until you have reached the top. Then you will see how low it was."

p.70 "Is your disgust at your emptiness to be the only life with which you fill it?"

p.88 "During a working day, which is real only in God, the only poetry which can be real to you is the kind which makes you become real under God: only then is the poetry real for you, the art true. You no longer have time for - pastimes."

p.89 "Prayer, crystallized in words, assign a permanent wave length on which the dialogue has to be continued, even when our mind is occupied with other matters."There was a time when the priest walked down my aisle while I was holding this book. Maybe he was wondering if I was reading a smut inside the church, while waiting for the mass to start or while waiting for my daughter to come out from the projection room. Maybe the good priest recognized the book even if he was younger than me. If he did, well, good for him as well as for many others who have read this book. Well worth the time.

"Reading is never a waste of time," says Roberto Bolano (2666). ...more
4

Sep 07, 2014

Beautiful writing and profound thoughts from the late former secretary-general of the United Nations.

Excerpts:

"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 Beautiful writing and profound thoughts from the late former secretary-general of the United Nations.

Excerpts:

"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 when I know that someone had a tragic or untimely death, my eyes always encounter what they wrote about death?"

"The longest journey
Is the journey inwards.
Of him who has chosen his destiny,
Who has started upon his quest
For the source of his being
(Is there a source?)."

"Is my contact with others anything more than a contact with reflections? Who or what can give me the power to transform the mirror into a doorway?." ...more
3

Apr 03, 2017

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 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 notes were translated and published as "Waymarks", or as in this edition, "Markings". This translation of the Swedish word "Vägmärken" is instructive. The word can mean roadsigns or the markings left by animals: a suggestion of of a route that has been taken, rather than a definitive map.

It was this absence of narrative that I had a problem with. The form of the book is based on haikus and short paragraphs. There is an indication of year but there is no sense of a journey through life. The passages I enjoyed the most were clear and instructive:

"Concering men and their way to peace and concord -? It is more important to understand the motives for your own behaviour than the motives of another.
The other's "face" is more important than your own.
If while pleading another's cause you are at the same time seeking something for yourself, you cannot hope to succeed."

Other passages are more obscure.

"What must come to pass, should come to pass. Within the limits of that "must" you are therefore invulnerable."

Reflections on his faith become more prominent as time goes on:

"Your responsibility is indeed terrifying. If you fail, it is God, thanks to your having betrayed him, who will fail mankind. You fancy you can be responsible to God; can you carry the responsibility for God?"

There are many passionated devotees of this book and I feel as though I've missed something in reading it. Or maybe it is a book better suited to Christians or to those in leadership positions. Either way, I found the book intriguing but hard to read. Perhaps it is best enjoyed as something to pick up, read a few lines, and then put away for another time. ...more
4

May 17, 2011

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 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 simply slip by because I don't have a good sense of what he wanted to communicate. So, perhaps it is just my personal lens -- which will surely change as I change -- but my favourite part of Hammarskjold is his deep and never-ending wrestling with the problem of ego, addressing it from various angles through his life. The thoughts are all the more remarkable for having come from a man embedded in the international politics of his day; I cannot imagine any prominent personality today writing such.

I'll just quote here his last thought on the subject before his death in 1961. Written in 1959:

"Humility is just as much the opposite of self-abasement as it is of self-exaltation. To be humble is not to make comparisons. Secure in its reality, the self is neither better nor worse, bigger nor smaller, than anything else in the universe. It *is* (*italicized*) -- is nothing, yet at the same time one with everything. It is in this sense that humility is absolute self-effacement...

...To give to people, works, poetry, art, what the self can contribute, and to take, simply and freely, what belongs to it by reason of its identity. Praise and blame, the winds of success and adversity, blow over such a life without leaving a trace or upsetting its balance. Towards this, so help me, God -- "


...more
5

Jul 04, 2011

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 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 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 speculation the Secretary-General was assassinated.

I bought the book because I kept running across these amazing quotes by him which just made me want to read more. Here are some of my favorites:“Your cravings as a human animal do not become a prayer just because it is God whom you ask to attend to them.”

“Never, for the sake of peace and quiet, deny your own experience or convictions.”

“How can you expect to keep your powers of hearing when you never want to listen? That God should have time for you; you seem to take as much for granted as that you cannot have time for Him.”

“Friendship needs no words - it is solitude delivered from the anguish of loneliness.”

“Pray that your loneliness may spur you into finding something to live for, great enough to die for.”

“The longest journey is the journey inward.”

“It is nobler to give yourself completely to one individual than to labor diligently for the salvation of the masses.”

“The road,
You shall follow it.

The fun,
You shall forget it.

The cup,
You shall empty it.

The pain,
You shall conceal it.

The truth,
You shall be told it.

The end,
You shall endure it. ...more
0

Jul 02, 2011

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. 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. This was at the Ashocan Reservoir.) Nobody wants to read spiritual thoughts by a diplomatic Swede anymore. Spirituality has to be exotic now. Which is sad. Not that I disagree. I find the Christianity in this book cloying, even though it's sincere, and seems mystic:

"He who has surrendered himself to it knows that the Way ends on the Cross -- even when it is leading him through the jubilation of Gennesaret or the triumphal entry into Jerusalem."

The whole suffering and predestination of Christianity -- seems so claustrophobic. Unlike, for example, the infinite multiplicities of Buddhism.

(What is Gennesaret? Wikipedia believes it literally means "a garden of riches." It's a Biblical city in the Galilee.)

Still, here was a guy who struggled mightily to be a saint while being the fucking Secretary-General of the UN! Then died in a mysterious airplane crash! And might have been gay! ...more
5

Jan 07, 2019

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 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 overwork, physical suffering but his own conscientious - of being useful to others. What you're drawn to, or care about, will also bind you.

And yet, he didn't flinch from remaining true to the Way (the inner work) and being an instrument of God. It was a matter of sheer will and courage. He encouraged : "to keep alive the incentive to push on further, that pain in the soul which drives us beyond.'

A man with a social standing like him, would have risked being mocked at - if he was vocal about his inner, private life and that is why, he didn't intend, until the end of his life, to publish 'Markings.' It includes ruminations about nature, surrender, self realization - a deeply personal account of one's conversation with God.

It is a gift to have a book like this in this world. A spiritual path is often looked as something which one can only follow if he/she were an ascetic. But Hammarskjöld's legacy proves otherwise - one can be busy in the temporal world, and yet seek solace in the spiritual.

There were moments in the book, when a seeker such as myself could relate how clear Hammarskjöld felt about self surrender and self realization. Then, there were transitions into loneliness and anguish.

Thus, Hammarskjöld felt that he was a victim to occasional suicidial ideations - unworthiness. It would appear that these traits were matters of flaws in personal life, but no, they are actually products of spiritual distress, since the crumbling away of a personal identity in order to merge with something higher, is a shattering process. Hammarskjöld had uninterrupted success and a fortunate life, but even such a life cannot make up for the longing for something deeper - the eternal.

He responded to the sense of unworthiness, with defiance and not as a victim of vanity. While his belief drove his life, his intellect always challenged their validity - and thus, a man is left in an overwhelming state.

Hammarskjöld must have also suffered from a great fear of LOVE, yet his reflections are profound and poignant - which I share with him. Unlike him, I will not uphold that a great love is always unreturned but this - one understands love by first understanding what love is not. If one's love receives warmth and shelter by it's counterpart, there is a possibility that such a love will not grow to it's ultimate maturity - a love that thrives even after the loss of 'object' of love. Thus, Day Hammarskjöld's reflections are apt - "One's love had a long way to go before it would mature into - Love." Such a Love is deeper than Ego-Love (such terminology would be fairly understood by a seeker).

In case of a spiritual aspirant, the ego-love, in love's effort to shelter it, can create a cold around the Ego - which slowly eats it's way inward towards the core. But if one transcends this pain, love matures and the Self dissolves - which is both liberation for the lover and the Beloved - for such a love will not bind another.

Despite these reflections, it is hard to ascertain why Hammarskjöld flinched from love, as there's no note about his relationship anywhere. Interestingly, he writes towards the end (in 1961) writes - "Far away/ For the last time/ I heard the scream/ The scream of terror/ The voice of loneliness/ Screaming for love."

I'm not sure if poetry were his strongest element but some surprised me - his anguish and longing for the eternal, quite evident.

This book also introduced me to WH Auden's translation work, and it is commendable.



...more
5

Apr 13, 2012

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.
5

Jul 06, 2012

Read slowly, over years, as the author wrote it... that was wise. I think!
3

Aug 15, 2019

"The life of simplicity is simple, but it opens to us a book in which we never get beyond the first syllable. "The life of simplicity is simple, but it opens to us a book in which we never get beyond the first syllable.” ...more
5

Jan 02, 2017

More books should be written by the U.N. Secretary-General, translated, and reinflected by W. H. Auden. What a great idea.
2

Oct 24, 2011

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 its 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 anothers, for only what you have given, be it only in the gratitude of acceptance, is salvaged 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 from the nothing which some day will have been your life.”

It’s not all theoretical ethics, though; when I skimmed through a last section of poems I found “Elegy For My Pet Monkey, Greenback” – the poor creature jumped to grab a coil of rope and managed to hang himself instead. ...more
4

Sep 21, 2014

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 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 help from a Swedish language speaker. Auden wrote the Introduction and notes throughout the book. In my opinion, Auden added a lot to our understanding of "Markings."
This book is well worth a look, it is written in aphorisms, so even a brief look is worthwhile. "Markings," is widely quoted and has been read in selections from the pulpit during sermons. It's that kind of book.
Hammarskjold died in an aircraft crash in Africa in 1961. ...more
3

Mar 28, 2016

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 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 case, I am sorry for his sake, because it is precisely the introverted intellectual character who stands most in need of the ecclesiastical routine, both as a discipline and as a refreshment.
But how frivolous all such misgivings look in the light of the overall impression which the books makes, the conviction when one has finished it,, that one has had the privilege of being in contact with a great, good, and lovable man." ...more
5

Feb 17, 2008

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 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 as “a sort of white book concerning my negotiations with myself -- and with God." Personally, I love this book because it underscores the possibilities of the human spirit and reminds me to be part of the day's open-ended possibilities. We lose sight of the larger picture, and Hammarskjold never lost that humble vision of being a light in an often dark world. One note -- this was translated from the Swedish, and Hammarskjold spoke many languages, so there are times where quotes that touched him are, in my opinion, oddly translated. Nevertheless, this is a book that I consider to be a bright candle lighting my world and I treasure this book for its wisdom and the reflected wisdom of my grandfather in his choice many years ago for my education. * of note -- I have a different edition than the one I chose for this book as I could not find the 1971 slipcased deluxe edition I cherish. My edition is published by Knopf and is as elegant on the surface as it is inside - a classic and a treasure. ...more
3

Feb 12, 2013

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 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 be anyone else if s/he doesn't.

That's the briefest possible explanation. It doesn't perfectly describe the whole of my attitude and philosophy any more than the same description could describe someone like Dag Hammarskjold. It's phrased in purely ethical dimensions that omit any greater humanistic - dare I say, spiritual - angles.

I'm currently very private about my personal spiritual beliefs. I've let exactly two people begin to understand them and have cultivated amicable misunderstanding among all my family and friends and colleagues for years. It seems to be the best solution to the problem of privacy and the intimacy of philosophy.

While Markings is not a devotional companion to scripture, it can't help but tell you things about yourself the way C.S. Lewis does. And in this capacity I found ways to organize my own philosophy by adding to my understanding of Hammarskjold (a person I have always admired as a public servant). Again - trying to avoid egomania - I was pleased to find so much of my independently arrived at thinking in line with the wiser, better man.

Markings is a "Christian book," but it could probably work for people who identify across a wide spectrum.* Anyone potentially deterred by the ostensible premise should be reassured of its relative objectivity. On the other hand, anyone looking for orthodoxy to boost denominational conviction might feel betrayed by Hammarskjold's equivocations, particularly on the issues of death and suicide.

*When Markings quotes from scripture, it is almost always from the Old Testament. Other religious texts similarly adhere mostly to Old Testament themes, including stuff from the Anglican Psalter and the Common Book of Prayer. When Hammarskjold cites philosophers, they are as like to be Kierkegaard as any of the gospel writers. ...more
5

Jan 14, 2019

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 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 can offer.

Hammarskjold was a author in his own right, a prolific translator of works into his native Swedish and all around philosopher of his day. He brought that to the UN when he became the youngest Secretary-General to hold the post.

Markings reflects his innermost thoughts at some of the greatest crisis points to affect his era. Suez, the Congo, the Cold War and India all were on his agenda at one time or another. How he faced these troubles is reflected in his diary where he detailed his thoughts. His Markings is a collection of poetry, quiet reflection and philosophy about life and the world he was in. Sometimes touching on a crisis, sometimes a poet, sometimes an essayist, its an eclectic collection of reflection, poetry and the deep thoughts of a great leader of the last half century. ...more
3

May 23, 2019

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, 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.

At times the passages 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 are stunning, thoughtfully composed in a manner to still meaningful to many of readers today. It also includes poetry, bible passages, and the occasional obscure reference (often explained by translator W. H. Auden).

Verdict:
Borrow It (unless you are a fan of the writer) ...more
4

Jul 19, 2010

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, 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 his loneliness, frustration and angst to the very peaceful and centered tone that he gradually develops. This book often left me pondering, and feeling humbled and yet grateful at the same time.

Fascinating and sometimes beautiful quotes.

"Friendship needs no words--it is solitude delivered from the anguish of loneliness."

"We carry our nemesis within us: yesterday's self-admiration is the legitimate father of today's feeling of guilt."

"Your cravings as a human animal do not become a prayer just because it is God whom you ask to attend them."

"The Strait Road--to live for others in order to save one's soul. The Broad--to live for others in order to save one's self-esteem."

"You cannot play with the animal in you without becoming wholly animal, play with falsehood without forfeiting your right to truth, play with cruelty without losing your sensitivity of mind. He who wants to keep his garden tidy doesn't reserve a plot for weeds."

"He is one of those who has had the wilderness for a pillow, and called a star his brother. Alone. But loneliness can be a communion."

"The overtones are lost, and what is left are conversations which, in their poverty, cannot hide the lack of real contact. We glide past each other. But why? Why--? We reach out towards the other. In vain--because we have never dared to give ourselves."

"A modest wish: that our doings and dealings may be of a little more significance to life than a man's dinner jacket is to his digestion. Yet not a little of what we describe as our achievement is, in fact, no more than a garment in which, on festive occasions, we seek to hide our nakedness."

"At any rate, your contempt for your fellow human beings does not prevent you, with a well-guarded self-respect, from trying to win their respect."

"Only life can satisfy the demands of life. And this hunger of mine can be satisfied for the simple reason that the nature of life is such that I can realize my individuality by becoming a bridge for others, a stone in the temple of righteousness. Don't be afraid of yourself, live your individuality to the full--but for the good of others. Don't copy others in order to buy fellowship, or make convention your law instead of living the righteousness. To become free and responsible. For this alone was man created, and he who fails to take the Way which could have been his shall be lost eternally."

"Never let success hide its emptiness from you, achievement its nothingness, toil its desolation. And so keep alive the incentive to push on further, that pain in the soul which dreives us beyond ourselves. Whither? That I don't know. That I don't ask to know."

"To be "sociable"--to talk merely because convention forbids silence, to rub against one another in order to create the illusion of intimacy and contact: what an example of la condition humaine. Exhausting, naturally, like any improper use of our spiritual resources. In miniature, one of the many ways in which mankind successfully acts as its own scourge--in the hell of spiritual death."

""Lack of character--" All too easily we confuse a fear of standing up for our beliefs, a tenency to be more influenced by the convictions of others than by our own, or simply a lack of conviction--with the need that the strong and mature feel to give full weight to the arguments of the other side. A game of hide-and-seek: when the Devil wishes to play on our lack of character, he calls it tolerance, and when he wants to stifle our first attempts to learn tolerance, he calls it lack of character."

"Autumn in Lapland. The warm rain-laden east wind rushes down the dried-up river bed. On its banks, yellowing birches tremble in the storm. The opening bars in the great hymn of extinction. Not a hymn to extinction or because of it. Not a hymn in spite of extinction. But a dying which is the hymn."

"The style of conduct which carries weight calls for stubbornness even in an act of concession: you have to be severe with yourself in order to have the right to be gentle with others."

"Maturity: among other things--not to hide one's strength out of fear and, consequently, live below one's best."

"He who has surrendered himself to it knows that the Way ends on the Cross--even when it is leading him through the jubliation of Gennesaret or the triumphal entry into Jerusalem."

"Faulkner: Our final wish is to have scribbled on the wall our "Kilroy was here." The last ditch of the enemy. We can sacrifice ourselves completely to that which is beyond and above us--and still hope that the memory of our choice shall remain tied to our name or, at least, that future generations shall understand why and how we acted. At times it seems to us that the bitterness we feel when we fail at an attempted task lies in this: that our failure will condemn our efforts themselves to oblivion. O contradiction! O last stand! If only the goal can justify the sacrifice, how, then, can you attach a shadow of importance to the question whether or not the memory of your efforts will be associated iwth your name? If you do, is it not all too obvious that you are still being influenced by your actions by that vain dead dream about "posterity"?"

"Thou who art over us,
Thou who art one of us,
Thou who art--
Also within us,
May all see Thee--in me also,
May I prepare the way for Thee,
May I thank Thee for all that shall fall to my lot,
May I also not forget the needs of others,
Keep me in Thy love
As Thou wouldest that all should be kept in mine.
May everything in this my being be directed to Thy glory
And may I never despair.
For I am under Thy hand,
And in Thee is all power and goodness.

Give me a pure heart--that I may see Thee,
A humble heart--that I may hear Thee,
A heart of love--that I may serve Thee,
A heart of faith--that I may abide in Thee."

""For man shall commune with all creatures to his profit, but enjoy God alone." That is why no human being can be a permanent source of happiness to another."

"So, once again, you chose for yourself--and opened the door to chaos. The chaos you become whenever God's hand does not rest upon your head. He who has once been under God's hand, has lost his innocence: only he feels the full explosive force of destruction which is released by a moment's surrender to temptation. But when his attention is directed beyond and above, how strong he is, with the strength of God who is within him because he is in God. Strong and free, because his self no longer exists."

"Your position never gives you the right to command. It only imposes on you the duty of so living your life that others can receive your orders without being humiliated."

"The "great" commitment is so much easier than the ordinary everyday one--and can all too easily shut out our hearts to the latter. A willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice can be associated with, and even produce, a great hardness of heart. ... Concerning the hardness of heart--and its littleness-- Let me read with open eyes the book my days are writing--and learn."

"Forgiveness breaks the chain of causality because he who "forgives" you--out of love--takes upon himself the consequences of what you have done. Forgiveness, therefore, always entails a sacrifice. The price you must pay for your own liberation through another's sacrifice is that you in turn must be willing to liberate in the same way, irrespective of the consequences to yourself."
...more
2

Apr 17, 2019

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 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 wasn't written in a way to bring the reader into Hammarskjold's inner life, as through a narrative. His entries are "markers" to be sure, perhaps meaningful to him, but a puzzle to others. And yet I find that I can identify, in a way, with the following two markers that illuminate the motivation behind the publication of these inner thoughts:

"How ridiculous, this need of yours to communicate! Why should it mean so much to you that at least one person has seen the inside of your life? Why should you write down all this, for yourself, to be sure - perhaps, though, for others as well?"

"You ask yourself if these notes are not, after all, false to the very Way they are intended to mark. These notes? - They were signposts you began to set up after you had reached a point where you needed them, a fixed point that was on no account to be lost sight of. And so they have remained. But your life has changed, and now you reckon with possible readers, even, perhaps, hope for them. Still, perhaps it may be of interest to somebody to learn about a path about which the traveler who was committed to it did not wish to speak while he was alive. Perhaps - but only if what you write has an honesty with no trace of vanity or self-regard."

I get this; in a most poignant way, I get this. They speak remarkably of my own inner wrestling, the urge to write, share, exegete so that others might understand me, my faith, my faltering steps, and the saving Grace that bears me.

I suppose then, while I continue to wish that the book and the glimpses of inner life it represents had been more - accessible, may be the word - I cannot say that I got nothing from it. Because I did.

...more
3

Jun 23, 2019

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 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 other people or their motives very well (not in a sense of being ignorant or unable to understand but rather in the sense of bewilderment at why people are the way they are). Again, I'm left wondering: Why the path of self-sacrifice to the service of an alien race? Between the alienation and a broad masochistic streak present in the work (framed in terms of religious self-mortification), I'm surprised Hammarskjold didn't choose to reject the world and become a monk. I think he might've been much happier that way.
Incidentally, I picked this up from the library because it is given glowing praise in the works I have read of Marcus J Borg, but after reading it, I'm not sure what he saw in it in terms of spirituality. ...more
3

Feb 22, 2019

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 dont trust a single word of the translation by WH Auden. 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 Auden. What a pompous ass! His intro says it all.
2. This book does nothing to commend religiosity (nor the ‘great man hypothesis’ come to think of it). Not because of the questions asked by Hammarskjold - but by how little is added to the answers by religion (such that I am able to understand - a huge caveat of course).

I am left feeling a great deal of sympathy for Hammarskjold and his private persistent questioning. Questions, doubts - recurring over decades - and sometimes there are achingly poignant insights. But a life in service to others: indeed. He deserves to have obtained more from life than is revealed in these pages. ...more
5

Jun 26, 2019

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 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 himself, always hoping to make something more of himself and be of greater help to others. Very few of us will impact the world in a tangibly positive way like he did, so, in a way, it's motivating to see someone like him strive for more. It's unfortunate that he struggled so much with his spirituality and religion, because if he took a moment to just be a shred less critical of himself, he would see that he was worthy. ...more
5

Jun 25, 2019

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 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 everything be consumed by the fire in the hope that something of value may be left which can be riddled out of the ashes."

" Only he deserves power who everyday justifies it." ...more
4

May 26, 2018

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 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 is dedicated to making the world a better place, I would highly recommend this book! ...more

Best Books from your Favorite Authors & Publishers

compare-icon compare-icon
Thousands of books

Take your time and choose the perfect book.

review-icon review-icon
Read Reviews

Read ratings and reviews to make sure you are on the right path.

vendor-icon vendor-icon
Multiple Stores

Check price from multiple stores for a better shopping experience.

gift-icon

Enjoy Result