Cover image for In extremis : the life and death of the war correspondent Marie Colvin
In extremis : the life and death of the war correspondent Marie Colvin
Hilsum, Lindsey, author.
Personal Author:
First American edition.
Physical Description:
xviii, 378 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
"Originally published in 2018 by Chatto & Windus, Great Britain."
Part I. America -- Dead man's branch -- Father and daughter -- Lovers and mentors -- Part II. Middle East -- The path of death -- In a man's world -- War, peace, and love -- Part III. The world beyond -- We're gonna make you a star -- Leap before you look -- The face in the mirror -- Part IV. London -- All at sea -- A reckless tide -- Baba Amr.
A biography of the war correspondent Marie Colvin.
Personal Subject:


Call Number
Material Type
1 B COLVIN New NonFiction Book
1 B COLVIN New NonFiction Book
1 B COLVIN New NonFiction Book
1 B COLVIN New NonFiction Book
1 B COLVIN New NonFiction Book

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A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice. 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.

Author Notes

Lindsey Hilsum is the International Editor for Channel 4 News in England. She has covered many of the major conflicts and international events of the last twenty-five years, including the wars in Syria, Ukraine, Iraq and Kosovo; the Arab Spring; and the genocide in Rwanda. Her writing has appeared in The New York Review of Books , The Guardian , and Granta . Her first book, Sandstorm: Libya in the Time of Revolution was short-listed for the 2012 Guardian First Book Award.

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

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 KoÅ¡are Barracks [in Yugoslavia] 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. (Nov.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Foreign correspondent Marie Colvin, born in New York City in 1956, a Yale graduate, and a longtime Middle East expert for the British newspaper, the Sunday Times, was a singular talent, one of the most significant war reporters of the twentieth century, and her death under fire in Syria in 2012 was a devastating loss. An icon for her bold field style and the eye patch she sported after an attack in Sri Lanka, Colvin lived a big life and left behind a body of work that covers every major conflict in the world, dating back several decades. Hers was a career ripe for biography, and journalist Hilsum, a colleague and friend, has done a masterful job of telling Colvin's story. This is riveting personal and professional history, told with skill and sincerity. Hilsum dances between Colvin's private life and exceptional reportage, which included interviews with everyone from Yasser Arafat to Mu'ammar Gaddhafi. Colvin is even credited with saving lives. Inspired by Martha Gellhorn, independent, and determined, Colvin enjoyed deep friendships and tempestuous romances. Drawing on Colvin's meticulous diaries and articles, and her own conversations with Colvin's family and friends, Hilsum has created something truly worthy of her subject, a biography that reads like high adventure, a masterwork that will draw well-deserved attention to a heroic witness.--Colleen Mondor Copyright 2018 Booklist

Library Journal Review

Acclaimed international reporter Marie Colvin (1956-2012) worked for the London Sunday Times from 1986 until her death, fearlessly covering the lives of citizens caught in the crosshairs of war. -Hilsum (international editor, Channel News 4; Sandstorm) offers an engrossing biography based on Colvin's personal journals and more than 100 interviews that describe her childhood in Long Island, her years at Yale University, her rocky marriages, and her career as a reporter. This book shines when focused on Colvin's coverage of hot spots, including Beirut, Chechnya, Sri Lanka, and Syria, where she was targeted for death by President Bashar al-Assad. She lost an eye to shrapnel in Sri Lanka, which led to PTSD, depression, and alcohol abuse, all of which plagued her for life. Snippets of Colvin's reporting woven throughout the text provide an appreciation for her sparse, moving prose. VERDICT This unputdownable account will inspire future journalists, especially women, and should find wide audiences among those interested in global crises and international affairs. See Marwan Hisham and Molly Crabapple's Brothers of the Gun for another work about a reporter unafraid of writing truth to power. [See Prepub Alert, 6/10/18]-Karl Helicher, formerly with Upper -Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, PA © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Alan Jenkins
Prefacep. xiii
Part I America
1 Dead Man's Branchp. 3
2 Father and Daughterp. 26
3 Lovers and Mentorsp. 51
Part II Middle East
4 The Path of Deathp. 81
5 In a Man's Worldp. 109
6 War, Peace, and Lovep. 138
Part III The World Beyond
7 We're Gonna Make You a Starp. 167
8 Leap Before You Lookp. 196
9 The Face in the Mirrorp. 229
Part IV London
10 All at Seap. 261
11 A Reckless Tidep. 290
12 Baba Amrp. 319
Epiloguep. 345
"Reports of my Survival may be Exaggerated,"p. 355
Sources and Acknowledgmentsp. 357
Indexp. 361