In Extremis
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In Extremis : The Life of War Correspondent Marie Colvin

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** 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 Drawing on unpublished diaries and interviews with Marie's friends, family and colleagues, Hilsum conjures a fiercely compassionate, complex woman who was driven to an extraordinary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*
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Product details

  • Hardback | 416 pages
  • 162 x 240 x 38mm | 681g
  • CHATTO & WINDUS
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1784740934
  • 9781784740931
  • 6,758

Review Text

"An extraordinary account of one reporter's fearless and ultimately fatal dedication... Hilsum draws an empathetic portrait of a woman whose courage often crossed into recklessness, both in combat zones and outside them... Now, thanks to Hilsum's deeply reported and passionately written book, Colvin has the full accounting that she deserves"
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Review quote

"An extraordinary account of one reporter's fearless and ultimately fatal dedication... Hilsum draws an empathetic portrait of a woman whose courage often crossed into recklessness, both in combat zones and outside them... Now, thanks to Hilsum's deeply reported and passionately written book, Colvin has the full accounting that she deserves" -- Joshua Hammer * New York Times * "A wonderful book - a fitting tribute, certainly, but also a well-told tale of a remarkable life" -- Jane Bonham Carter * Sunday Times * "A stunningly good biography - compelling, revelatory and very moving. Lindsey Hilsum is the perfect writer to tell the story of Marie Colvin's rackety, brave and charismatic life" -- William Boyd "Writing a biography of Marie Colvin is like capturing lightning in a bottle, but Lindsey Hilsum has the knowledge and personal experience to help us understand what drew Colvin to rush towards the eye of the storm at such great risk. It is a superbly fitting tribute" -- Annie Lennox "Rarely has a friend and colleague written such a brave and uncompromising testament to such a rare, brave and uncompromising woman. Would that a few more of us should be so blessed in our courage and our friends" -- Shami Chakrabarti "Hilsum marshals not just empathy for her subject, who was also a friend, but investigative and critical skills and damn fine storytelling... Hilsum's understanding of the background to each conflict, and the reality of life as a correspondent in the field, is one of the great strengths of the book... In Extremis rescues Marie Colvin from the rubble of Baba Amr, and brings her tragically, and tenderly, to life" * Irish Times * "Superb. A fitting account of the life of one of the finest war correspondents of our time, written by another. I admired Marie greatly, and In Extremis showed me I was right to do so" -- John Simpson "The clearest and most rounded picture...emerges from Hilsum's book. Colvin herself, courageous and often tortured, rises again from its pages" -- Emma Graham-Harrison * Observer * "One of the modern world's most experienced and admired foreign correspondents, Lindsey Hilsum, has now written a riveting, intimate and deeply moving account of the epic life of her late friend and colleague, Marie Colvin, who will be long remembered - not least because of Hilsum's fine work in this book - as amongst the great war reporters of her generation" -- Jon Lee Anderson "An inspiring and intimate biography of one of the bravest journalists of our time by one of her finest colleagues. Lindsey Hilsum takes us inside the world of a woman who changed the world around her" -- Lyse Doucet "Marie Colvin was a one-off, eccentric, brilliant and sometimes maddening. Lindsey Hilsum does her justice" -- Robert Fox * Evening Standard * "Colvin's energy and passion were irresistible... Hilsum...[combines] storytelling with asking important questions about what kind of service war correspondents perform and what ethical codes they should adhere to" -- Lara Feigel * Guardian * "One of the best biographies I have read about any journalist... This is a great story, well told... What makes the biography and the life on which it is based so impressive is the truly heroic proportions of Colvin's dedication to getting the story of human beings trapped in war" -- Charles Glass * The Intercept * "In Extremis seeks to unravel the mystery behind the war correspondent... Hilsum avoids hagiography...and pulls no punches" -- Anthony Loyd * The Times * "Hilsum crafts a full and rich portrait of Colvin that never becomes hagiography. In Extremis is an intensely human account that does justice to its subject" * Irish independent * "In writing this richly researched and well-crafted account, Hilsum avoids canonising Saint Marie of Fleet Street... That it fell to someone else to do the reporting on her remarkable life story may seem tragic. It is also, perhaps, a measure of just who she was" -- Colin Freeman * Spectator * "In Lindsey Hilsum, Marie Colvin has found, posthumously, the right biographer. She penetrates the war-zone of Colvin's life, and fetches her back in all her beautiful, brave complexity. This is a heartbreaking portrait that does not detract from the legend, but understands the compulsions which returned Colvin time and again to seek out the most dangerous places" -- Nicholas Shakespeare "True to the spirit of Marie, the biography is dramatic, a swirl of parties and people and a burning desire to be truthful about the pain of the world" -- Helen Davies * Sunday Times, **Books of the Year** * "As this intimate biography by Lindsey Hilsum, a fellow (female) reporter, shows, Colvin's gift was writing, passionately, about ordinary lives during war... With the help of Colvin's diaries, Hilsum deftly explores her complex motives... She was often the first, or only, reporter to go in, and the last out, even if that meant trekking over a mountain range" * The Economist * "In Extremis reveals the human vulnerability behind the bravery" * Stylist *
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About Lindsey Hilsum

Lindsey Hilsum is Channel 4 News International Editor. She has covered many of the conflicts of recent years, including Syria, Ukraine and the Arab Spring - sometimes alongside Marie Colvin. In 1994, she was the only English-speaking foreign correspondent in Rwanda when the genocide began. She was in Belgrade for the 1999 NATO bombing of Serbia, and in Baghdad for the 2003 US invasion of Iraq. She has won awards from the Royal Television Society and BAFTA amongst others, and was the recipient of the 2017 Patron's Medal from the Royal Geographical Society. Her last book Sandstorm: Libya from Gadaffi to Revolution was described by the Observer as `an account with historical depth to match dramatic reportage.'
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Rating details

593 ratings
4.44 out of 5 stars
5 57% (338)
4 32% (187)
3 10% (62)
2 1% (4)
1 0% (2)
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