War in Val d'Orcia

By Iris Origo,

Book cover of War in Val d'Orcia: An Italian War Diary, 1943-1944

Book description

The bestselling diaries of WWII in Tuscany, with a new introduction by writer and social historian Virginia Nicholson, and stunning rediscovered photographsAt the height of the Second World War, Italy was being torn apart by German armies, civil war, and the eventual Allied invasion. In a corner of Tuscany, one…

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Why read it?

3 authors picked War in Val d'Orcia as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Origo was an English woman married to a wealthy Italian.

They were living on their estate in Italy (Tuscany) when Mussolini came to power and soon allied himself with Hitler. Her personal account of how they, both anti-Fascists, lived during this very difficult period brings history to life. They often put themselves in harm’s way by helping others hide from Fascist pursuers.

Reading this book was like a lightbulb going off!

Iris Origo and her husband provided refuge in their Tuscan villa during WWII for children who were fleeing the bombing up north. With incredible wit, insight, and empathy, she recounts the turmoil and the bravery of everyday Italians as they resist the fascists and the Germans.

This was an essential book as I was researching my book, acting as a window into the past and bringing sounds, sights, smells, and heartfelt emotions to life.

This one has a permanent place on my nightstand because with the madness of war once again enveloping Europe, Iris Origo is the sane, witty, pragmatic voice we all need to help us navigate the times ahead. An Anglo-American married to an Italian, Iris had the foresight to keep a diary of her life in 1943-1944, as Italy was occupied by the Germans and the Allies moved north, putting her farm on the front lines. She manages to hide escaped POWs, feed partisans, and educate refugee children while Fascists and Nazis take over her house. I wish I could call…

From Christina's list on women in wartime.

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