11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A different view of Tuscany,
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This review is from: War in Val D'Orcia: An Italian War Diary, 1943-1944 (Paperback)
"War in Val D'Orcia" is a rather terse diary of events throughout Italy in 1943-1944 written by the English-born wife of a wealthy landowner in Tuscany. As an account of life under Nazi rule it's not nearly as profound or fascinating as Victor Klemperer's "I Will Bear Witness" but after the first 100 pages (or so) which are somewhat strangely detached and impersonal ("In Rome to have the baby"), and mostly an account of Italian national politics at that time, I literally couldn't put it down.
Until I read this book I had often wondered why there are so many abandoned farm buildings in Tuscany: I now understand that until relatively recently there was a feudal system in place, where farmers did not actually own their land but instead worked it for the landowner in exchange for half of their production. "War in Val D'Orcia" exposed me to aspects of Italian culture that I had never even really thought about before. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the history and culture of Italy and Tuscany in particular.
This is the first book by or about Iris Origo that I have read but it won't be the last.