Panel 2 of a triptych: A book review for Peacehawks of Hammarskjoeld: a Life, by Roger Lipsey, The University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 2013. 738 pp; illus, footnotes, indexed, bibliography.
by Jamie Arbuckle
There have of course been several books about Dag Hammarskjoeld, the second Secretary-General of the United Nations. The most authoritative was Sir Brian Urquhart’s Hammarskjoeld first published in 1972; Urquhart combined immediacy – he was there – with scholarship. More recently (2011), there has been the extremely useful and readable work by Manuel Froehlich. 
Do we need another biography of Dag Hammarskjoeld? As we wrote in the first panel of this triptych, we believe that there are some stories that are so important to us that they need to be retold afresh in each generation, and there is no redundancy in the retelling. Each generation needs to hear, in its own voice and in its own time, the vital stories of the times. The past is not necessarily fate, but it is often prologue. And living in history is like map reading: if you know where you were and how you have gone, you should know where you are, and you can have a good idea where you are going. Updating the map from time to time can never be of no use.
And so, just over a half-century after his untimely death, another biography of Dag Hammarskjoeld, the second Secretary-General of the United Nations, should be a welcome addition to our knowledge toolkits. We therefore offer this review to our followers at Peacehawks.
This review will cover four points, the literary high ground, as it were, of this book and of the story it tells:
1. The first area we will cover is to review the book as an excursus on Markings;
2. We will review the birth of peacekeeping operations, which occurred on Hammarskjoeld’s watch and under his ultimate responsibility;
3. Hammarskjoeld more or less invented the role and the functions of the special representative of the secretary-general; and
4. Finally, Hammarskjoeld gave form and enduring substance to the role of the Secretary-General of the United Nations.