I Brought the War with Me

I Brought the War with Me

Stories and Poems from the Front Line


I was standing outside an apartment block that had been split apart by a missile. The words of a poem came to me when I could no longer find my own.

In nearly four decades as a journalist covering conflict from Palestine to Kosovo to Rwanda, Channel 4 News International Editor Lindsey Hilsum has always carried a book of poetry. It helps her make sense of the senseless, salve her soul as the world around her rages, and remember those she has met in the darkest of times.

In Ukraine, she tweeted a poem a day, and people began to read, to share, to ask for more. Here, Lindsey collects her favourite poems from ancient times to modern, translated from different languages and by writers from all around the world. Alongside each, she recalls a memory from her own work, whether interviewing the warlords of Bosnia and Sudan, meeting child soldiers in Uganda or giving testimony about the genocide in Rwanda. Her prose reveals comic absurdity and astonishing courage, meaning and its absence, unexpected moments of love and the untold consequences that come long after most cameras disperse. She explores the pity of war – and its fatal attraction.

Vital, authentic, a read like no other, this is the first account Lindsey has written of her experience, accompanied by the voices of poets through the ages who have fought, witnessed terror or fled their homes, yet found the words to capture their humanity.


  • Remarkable: an excoriation of war’s devastations, but also a celebration of our shared humanity

About the author

Lindsey Hilsum

Lindsey Hilsum is Channel 4 News' International Editor. Her book, In Extremis: the Life of War Correspondent Marie Colvin, won the 2019 James Tait Black Prize for biography. Recently she has reported on the war in Ukraine, and the return of the Taliban in Afghanistan. She has covered the major conflicts and refugee movements of the past three decades, including Syria, Mali, Iraq, and Kosovo and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. From 2006-8 she was based in China, and in 1994 was the only English-speaking foreign correspondent in Rwanda as the genocide started. She has won many awards, including the Royal Television Society Journalist of the Year and the Royal Geographical Society Patron's Medal. She contributes regularly to newspapers and literary magazines. Her first book was Sandstorm; Libya in the Time of Revolution.
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