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Shot in Sri Lanka, Shelled in Syria

On the podcast: War correspondent Marie Colvin documented the horrors of war until one of them took her life.

War correspondent Marie Colvin
War correspondent Marie Colvin in Peeblesshire, Scotland, on Aug. 20, 2011. Writer Pictures via AP Images

American journalist Marie Colvin, who was killed while covering the conflict in Syria in 2012, was one of the preeminent war correspondents of her time.

Writing for the British Sunday Times, Colvin often sought out the most dangerous places where the worst violence was taking place. She covered East Timor, Chechnya, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the Arab Spring. She often said that she wrote about those places so that western governments couldn’t say they didn’t know about the terrible things happening there.

But Colvin regularly paid a price for her work. She lost an eye during Sri Lanka’s civil war and suffered from recurring PTSD. She had many lovers, and two husbands, but her personal life was tempestuous.

Colvin’s life is the subject of a new book by Lindsey Hilsum, herself a foreign correspondent for Channel 4 news in Britain. She and Colvin covered some of the same conflicts and became close friends. The book is called In Extremis: The Life and Death of War Correspondent Marie Colvin. Hilsum is our guest on First Person this week.

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