In Extremis ** BBC RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK **
‘It has always seemed to me that what I write about is humanity in extremis, pushed to the unendurable, and that it is important to tell people what really happens in wars.’ MARIE COLVIN, 2001
'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 Drawing on unpublished diaries and interviews with Marie's friends, family and colleagues, Hilsum conjures a fiercely compassionate, complex woman who was driven to an extraordinary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 also remembered in two films: Under the Wire, a drama-doc about Marie’s last trip to Syria, and A Private War, a forthcoming feature film about her life, starring Rosamund Pike*