Author(s): Iris Origo
War in Val D'Orcia is the elegantly simple chronicle of daily life at La Foce, a manor in a Tuscan no-man's land bracketed by foreign invasion and civil war. Writing with simplicity and grace, Iris Origo describes how she and her husband managed to help refugee children from Genoa and Turin, hide escaped Allied prisoners of war - and stand up to the Germans, who occupied La Foce in 1944 and forced the Origos to retreat under a hot June sun. It is a story of confusion and bewilderment as a peasant society is confronted by disaster and, in the space of a few months, a whole way of life is changed beyond recognition. It is also a story of tragedy and suffering, of individual courage, generosity and heroism.
A remarkably moving document that, like the best of the elemental war stories, eventually becomes a statement about the unplanned nature and folly of war New York Times A compelling story of heroism [and] compassion Washington Post A remarkable war diary Telegraph It is jolting to recall, through Origo's sober and self-effacing prose, the atrocious conditions of the summer of 1944 Financial Times Relates in vivid detail the experiences of civilians who had the terrible misfortune to find themselves pinned between battling armies... beyond doubt a minor masterpiece Washington Post A welcome rediscovery - evoking a unique, strange moment in civilian/soldier wartime-history with spare, vital immediacy Kirkus Reviews A masterpiece of reportage about the simultaneous world war and civil war that ravaged Italy 70 years ago New York Times Superb -- Jonathan Yardley Washington Post
Iris Origo (1902-1988) was a British-born biographer and writer. She lived in Italy and devoted much of her life to the improvement of the Tuscan estate at La Foce, which she purchased with her husband in the 1920s. During WWII, she sheltered refugee children and assisted many escaped Allied prisoners of war and partisans in defiance of Italy's fascist regime and Nazi occupation forces. Pushkin Press also publishes her memoir, Images and Shadows, as well as two of her biographies, Leopardi: A Study in Solitude and The Last Attachment: The Story of Byron and Teresa Guccioli.