** BBC RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK **
** A SUNDAY TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR **
**Marie Colvin is the subject of a major biopic starring Rosamund Pike**
'A stunningly good biography' WILLIAM BOYD
Marie Colvin was glamorous, hard-drinking, braver than the boys, with a troubled and rackety personal life. She reported from the most dangerous places in the world, going in further and staying longer than anyone else. Like her hero, the legendary reporter Martha Gellhorn, she sought to bear witness to the horrifying truths of war, to write ‘the first draft of history’ and to shine a light on the suffering of ordinary people.
Marie covered the major conflicts of our time: Israel and Palestine, Chechnya, East Timor, Sri Lanka – where she was hit by a grenade and lost sight in her left eye, resulting in her trademark eye-patch – Iraq and Afghanistan. Her anecdotes about encounters with dictators and presidents – including Colonel Gaddafi and Yasser Arafat, whom she knew well – were incomparable. She was much admired, and as famous for her wild parties as for the extraordinary lengths to which she went to tell the story, including being smuggled into Syria where she was killed in 2012.
Written by fellow foreign correspondent Lindsey Hilsum, this is the story of the most daring war reporter of her time. Drawing on unpublished diaries and interviews with Marie's friends, family and colleagues, Hilsum conjures a fiercely compassionate, complex woman who was driven to an extraordinary life and tragic death. In Extremis is the story of our turbulent age, and the life of a woman who defied convention.
*Marie Colvin is remembered in two films: Under the Wire, a drama-doc about Marie’s last trip to Syria, and A Private War, a feature film about her life, starring Rosamund Pike*
Hilsum, international editor for Channel 4 News in England, chronicles American journalist Marie Colvin's experiences at the front lines of war zones in this inspiring, vivid biography. Compiling information from Colvin's personal journals and interviews with colleagues, the book traces Colvin's path as a correspondent for Britain's Sunday Times from Beirut in 1986 to the trenches of the Syrian civil war. A dedicated reporter, Colvin (1956 2012) stayed in dangerous situations against her editors' wishes and wrote with a personal empathy rare in war journalism. Her boldness led to her losing her vision in her left eye from a grenade explosion on a Sri Lankan battlefield in 1999; she wore an eye patch for the rest of her life. She died at age 56 in 2012, in a bombardment of a Syrian safe house a day after she gave a live satellite interview on CNN. The book is rich in historical context, concisely summarizing international conflicts using excerpts from Colvin's reporting ("There was no talk in the Ko are Barracks about zero tolerance for returning body bags. They saw too many"). This intense biography is highly recommended for everyone, including journalism junkies, history buffs, and casual readers.