HAMMARSKJOLD: The Dangerous Man by Emery Kelen

HAMMARSKJOLD: The Dangerous Man

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Emery Kelen is a man who is accustomed to learning a great deal from a person's face. When Dag Hammarskjold took his post as Secretary General of the United Nations, he was a subject both challenging and revelatory. There was the softness of the lower face, the shrewdness of the midface, the spirituality of the high dome. Emery Kelen follows these and many other perceptions up with the facts of Hammarskjold's life and with his performance at the UN. Pope Pius called him his lay counterpart; Hammarskjold termed himself an instrument, a catalyst, perhaps an inspirer. Emery Kelen sees him as a truly disinterested person who ""wrestled with the vast egoism of total selflessness,"" whose diplomacy was effective because his sheer integrity forced conflicting parties to conciliate. The style of his reckoning is highly readable. Kelen looks into his personal life--the part played by his mother, the place of religion, his celibacy, his attitude toward death. While increasing understanding, he does not resolve the mystery of the man. He is perhaps on firmer ground with his coverage of the UN, and he brings that body alive as he relives its history with Hammarskjold at the helm-- Arab -- Israeli disputes, Suez, Hungary, the Congo...Was Hammarskjold a homosexual? No, but if so, it doesn't matter. Was he a suicide? If so, the testimony of the grass he clutched in his death agony (and his demonstrated belief in the sanctity of human life) is false. This is the book on Hammarskjold that will reach the general reading public.

Pub Date: April 21st, 1966
Publisher: Putnam