A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice. Finalist for the Costa Biography Award and long-listed for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence. Named a Best Book of 2018 by Esquire and Foreign Policy. An Amazon Best Book of November, the Guardian Bookshop Book of November, and one of the Evening Standard's Books to Read in November
"Now, thanks to Hilsum’s deeply reported and passionately written book, [Marie Colvin] has the full accounting that she deserves." --Joshua Hammer, The New York Times
The inspiring and devastating biography of Marie Colvin, the foremost war reporter of her generation, who was killed in Syria in 2012, and whose life story also forms the basis of the feature film A Private War, starring Rosamund Pike as Colvin.
When Marie Colvin was killed in an artillery attack in Homs, Syria, in 2012, at age fifty-six, the world lost a fearless and iconoclastic war correspondent who covered the most significant global calamities of her lifetime. In Extremis, written by her fellow reporter Lindsey Hilsum, is a thrilling investigation into Colvin’s epic life and tragic death based on exclusive access to her intimate diaries from age thirteen to her death, interviews with people from every corner of her life, and impeccable research.
After growing up in a middle-class Catholic family on Long Island, Colvin studied with the legendary journalist John Hersey at Yale, and eventually started working for The Sunday Times of London, where she gained a reputation for bravery and compassion as she told the stories of victims of the major conflicts of our time. She lost sight in one eye while in Sri Lanka covering the civil war, interviewed Gaddafi and Arafat many times, and repeatedly risked her life covering conflicts in Chechnya, East Timor, Kosovo, and the Middle East. Colvin lived her personal life in extremis, too: bold, driven, and complex, she was married twice, took many lovers, drank and smoked, and rejected society’s expectations for women. Despite PTSD, she refused to give up reporting. Like her hero Martha Gellhorn, Colvin was committed to bearing witness to the horrifying truths of war, and to shining a light on the profound suffering of ordinary people caught in the midst of conflict.
Lindsey Hilsum’s In Extremis is a devastating and revelatory biography of one of the greatest war correspondents of her generation.
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.