Dan's Reviews > War in Val d'Orcia: An Italian War Diary, 1943-1944

War in Val d'Orcia by Iris Origo
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Mar 27, 12

Read in March, 2012

I first read this book nearly 30 years ago, and it's every bit as good as I remember. These are the unedited diaries (with a few footnotes added later) kept by the Marchese Iris Origo as the Allies invaded Italy, the Fascist government fell and was reestablished by the Germans, and then the front lines approached and passed through Tuscany when the Germans retreated north. It is a minor masterpiece showing how world historical events impact the lives of isolated peasant farmers -- and, in the Origos' case, of the aristocrats who own the land. Origo describes acts of courage and cowardice, loyalty and betrayal, all made more dramatic by her understated writing and nearly unflappable calm. Highly recommended, especially for history buffs and anyone who loves Italy and Italians.
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