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In Extremis: The Life and Death of the War Correspondent Marie Colvin

4.45  ·  Rating details ·  519 ratings  ·  86 reviews
The devastating biography of Marie Colvin, the foremost war reporter of her generation, who was killed in Syria in 2012

When Marie Colvin was killed by an IED in Homs, Syria, in 2012, at age fifty-six, the world lost one of its most fearless, accomplished, and iconoclastic war correspondents, an eye-patch wearing, party-throwing, and risk-taking female combat reporter who c
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published November 6th 2018 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published April 1st 2012)
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4.45  · 
Rating details
 ·  519 ratings  ·  86 reviews

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Aug 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, biography, nonfiction
As the adult book buyer for an indie bookstore, I begged our publisher rep for an advance copy as soon as she told me about In Extremis. Ever since reading Lynsey Addario’s memoir a few years ago, I’ve been a bit obsessed with the stories of war correspondents, particularly those of the women who have reported from the Middle East in the last 2 decades. I devoured In Extremis in nearly one sitting. Marie Colvin was an icon, a real gem of a human being who played by her own rules. Written by a fe ...more
Laurie Notaro
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books I have read this year, if not the best.
Nov 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Bettie, Wanda
From BBC Radio 4 - Book of the week:
Lindsey Hilsum's compelling biography is a tribute to the courageous and inspiring journalist who sought always to bear witness to the brutal truths of war. Read by Juliet Aubrey.

Episode 2:
In Lindsey Hilsum's account, the brave journalist is in the world's most dangerous city.

Episode 3:
In Lindsey Hilsum's account of the brave journalist, there is a career-defining moment.

Episode 4:
In Lindsey Hilsum's account, the courageous journalist is on assignment to Chech
Conventional but well-crafted and carefully researched biography of war correspondent Marie Colvin. Lindsay Hilsum covers Colvin’s life from her early years: her Long Island childhood, her time tutored by John Hersey – whose influence became a constant in her reporting life – to working at UPI with the now notorious Lucien Carr - former friend of Kerouac, famous for overcoming a murder indictment and rising to the status of influential editor. A chance assignment during the 1986 conflict between ...more
Steven Z.
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Why do I cover wars.... It is a difficult question to answer. I did not set out to become a war correspondent. It has always seemed to me what I write about is humanity in extremis, pushed to the unendurable, and that it is important to tell people what really happens in war—declared and undeclared.” (Marie Colvin, The Sunday Times, Sri Lanka, April 22, 2001)

Lindsey Hilsum’s new biography of Marie Colvin is a stark reminder of the plight of journalists in our ever-dangerous world. According to
Dec 29, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thorough going portrayal of the life and work of one determined, brave American war correspondent. Few are called. The risks are great.
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
Marie Colvin, a foreign affairs correspondent, lived her life on the edge. From a young age danger and life risking pursuits exhilarated her. Giving a voice to those unfortunate victims of war was the elixir she needed. Her passion was helping, through interviews, the vulnerable civilians whose safety was of no concern to the ruthless leaders engaged in bloody conflicts.

Even reading about some of the situations civilians in Sri Lanka, Chechnya, Syria, East Timor, and the Middle East was heartbr
Nov 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: bbc listeners
Recommended to Bettie☯ by: Laura

Lindsey Hilsum's compelling biography is a tribute to the courageous and inspiring journalist who sought always to bear witness to the brutal truths of war. Read by Juliet Aubrey.

Description: Lindsey Hilsum's new book tells the story of Marie Colvin, the brave and daring journalist who, throughout a career distinguished by bravery and compassion, was driven to shine a light on the realities of some of the world's most devastating conflicts from the 1980s u
Elsbeth Kwant
Haunting, sensitive and deep; this monument Lindsey Hilsum erected for Marie Colvin. It is extremely well-written, the narrative is as fast-paced as Colvins life, whilst never falling into sensationalism. Hilsum very clearly shows both sides of the story, her absolute grit and determination to bear witness and the lack of a fulfilling home life. Colvin comes through as rather larger than life, exuberant and decisive, though in her later years her choices come to haunt her, literally, not figurat ...more
Sally Anne
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recommended
Wow. What a ride. This one is off to a bit of a slow start, but towards the end, it is relentlessly interesting. I had a hard time with the author's voice for quite a while, but once I got accustomed to it, I could "barely put it down."

Highly recommended.
This was my first book of 2019, I chose it after making a personal commitment to read 1-2 nonfiction books about strong women every month. (Need to take a break from some of the romance fluff I have indulged in throughout 2018). This was an excellent read, which I found really moving and difficult to put down. It was truly a well-crafted biography, clearly utilizing both Marie's personal diaries and the varying perspectives of family members and people who were touched by her life (and her lifet ...more
Emily Weinstein
Way too much about her tumultuous personal life
Dec 18, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Finished: 18.12.2018
Genre: biography
Rating: C
I expected lightning in a bottle instead
...but I got static electricity on the rug.
Audio book read by author. This is an affecting, harrowing account of the life of war correspondent, Marie Colvin, who was killed in Syria, trying to leave Homs, in 2012. Colvin was an outsize character, fascinating to others, a prodigious drinker, and a dedicated and effectively fearless reporter. She dedicated her professional life to being the voice of the innocent, civilian victims in some of the most fiercely violent conflicts around the world, including Chechnya, East Timor, Libya, Egypt, ...more
Kamila Forson
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, nonfiction
I discovered this book thanks to an NYRB article. I tore through it in a week. The author does an incredible job synthesizing Marie Colvin's personal history, mined from journals and conversations with friends and family, with current events in a well-written, well-paced book. I learned about Marie and war journalism alongside events in the Middle East, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Chechnya, and Serbia. I feel the loss of Marie, not only upon finishing the book, but in the world, the silence of her dea ...more
Bea Fones
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this book! Haven't read all that many biographies but Marie Colvin is an absolute inspiration to anyone wanting to go into reporting!

Having done work experience at the Sunday Times and worked with a couple of people mentioned and quoted in the later part of this book, it's quite surreal to imagine what it would have been like to encounter has as an intern! She was killed 5 years before I interned there but her focus on the individuals and the human face of war is something I
David Wasley
Feb 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A clear, honest and factual biography of a very driven war correspondent. There is undercurrent of impending doom.
Karen Lewis
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Suspenseful biography that chronicles the personal life and reporting of one of the top journalists, Marie Colvin who reported from hot-spots including Israel, Beirut, Palestine, Libya, East Timor, Sri Lanka, Iraq, Afghanistan. Behind civilian lines in Sryia, she was killed by government forces in 2012. The story of an era, and a person who bore witness to humanity.
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful and heartbreaking. Worth a read (or in my cheating case, listen on Audible 🙈). Makes me miss journalism.
Kaile Vierstra
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic, personal account of a badass woman. What is bravery and what is bravado?
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The world needs more people like Marie Colvin. Told by Lindsey Hillum on a deeply personal level and not shying away from Colvin"s flaws and her messy personal life, this biography shows the incredible courage and dedication of a woman taking incredible risks to bear witness to the suffering of civilians in conflict and civil war.
Jan 20, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
The first half of this book could have been condensed to 10% of its content & would have made the entire book much more interesting. An incredible story of an amazing woman but the writing style was cumbersome to say the least.
Bart Thanhauser
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
In Extremis is a biography of famed war correspondent, Marie Colvin, written by her long-time friend and fellow journalist, Lindsey Hilsum. It is as about Colvin’s personal life as much as it is about her journalistic career, and Hilsum does an excellent job highlighting Colvin’s trailblazing accomplishments while also digging deep into Colvin’s past. In doing so, she gives the reader a greater understanding of who Colvin was beneath the eye-patched, fearless journalist on the book’s jacket cove ...more
Oh how I wanted to love this book. Colvin’s reputation precedes her everywhere. She was a trail blazer and a woman admired as a journalist by journalists and citizens alike. She was a colossus who met a tragic and possibly inevitable, untimely end. I hoped to know more about the real person without losing sight of the icon. Perhaps that’s not what autobiographies do.

I hadn’t had the good fortune to read Colvin’s journalism. Nor am I a great fan of autobiography. I like my heroes remote and unta
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating, intricate portrait of a war correspondent Marie Colvin. First, the issues with this book: The first third of the novel reads clunky - her young life and young loves goes on for far too long. Does one really need to know about every single high school and college assignation? I also felt some of the analysis was broad-stroked and heavy handed. (Thank you daddy issues - we got it). Far more distressing was the dearth, outside of Colvin's diary entries, of her actual writing. Perhaps t ...more
Lisa  Carlson
Nov 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lisa by: NY Times
Shelves: biography
Multi award winning English journalist Lindsey Hilsum elevates the story of war correspondent Marie Colvin beautifully in her book In Extremis: The Life of War Correspondent Marie Colvin. (300 plus pages with photos, epilogue, index and acknowledgments) Back in February of 2012 the 56 year old Colvin was essentially murdered along with other journalists in Syria as they attempted to share the real story of what Syria's government was doing to the people in the country. Colvin did report from the ...more
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a remarkable biography of war correspondent Marie Colvin. Marie was an ambitious young girl from Long Island. She got her start working for The Sunday Times. Marie covered stories all over the world. Placing herself in the most dangerous situations. She lived her life on the edge at work as well as in her personal life. She drank too much, suffered from PTSD and lost her eye in Sri Lanka. At age fifty-six she lost her life from an IED in Syria. When you learn what she has done, how much ...more
Eilis O sullivan
This was an amazing biography to read. The fact that I knew hardly anything about Marie Colvin when I read meant that I was completely captivated and emotionally invested in the adventures in her work and personal life. The language that Lindsey Hilsum uses is suited to a biography of a journalist and the fact that she doesn't shy away from anything about Marie Colvin, all is lain bare, makes it an interesting approach. As we can view people as people rather than idols it is right that Hilsum re ...more
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant! A fascinating and well-balanced biography of a very human war correspondent that covers her personal and professional life in such a way that one can admire the passion of Colvin in all aspects of her life. I respect how the biographer did not try to turn Colvin into a flawless martyr or a tragic figure or an angelic hero, but developed her story in such a way that the reader feels like a friend going through Colvin's life with her for good or for bad. But besides the excellent storyt ...more
Katherine Kreuter
Feb 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Marie Colvin's life was so unusual, so out of step with those of mere mortals, that it was bound to make a good read. But what lifts this book above the norm is the access the biographer had to Colvin's lifetime supply of journals, which not only record her wartime movements and her romantic entanglements, but also her dreams and feelings. This is a rich resource, which Hilsum has mined wisely, balancing first-person statements with her own interpretation and wrapping it up in the wider cultural ...more
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Lindsey Hilsum is the author of "In Extremis: the Life of War Correspondent Marie Colvin" (2018)and "Sandstorm: Libya in the Time of Revolution" (2012). She is the international editor of Channel 4 News, and has covered many of the conflicts of recent times including Syria, Ukraine and Libya as well as the Trump administration, terror attacks in Europe and refugee movements. She was Beijing Bureau ...more
“Yet Marie’s was a true faith, and she believed it utterly. She still had her American seriousness of purpose, her heart proudly visible on her sleeve, uncorrupted by British cynicism. She was the champion of bearing witness so that even if no one stopped the wars, they could never say they had not known what was happening.” 1 likes
“Someone muttered something in Arabic. Paul asked a young man who spoke some English to translate. “He says things must be serious in Syria: first they send young journalists, but now they send us a woman, a pensioner, and an idiot who wants to go back.” 1 likes
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